While popcorn has always been America’s favorite silver-screen snack, other geographical areas enjoy a far more imaginative array of items. Roasted ants, fish balls and dried reindeer may sound like "Fear Factor" challenges, but each is considered a theater treat elsewhere on the globe. Join us on a delightful exploration of the world’s weirdest, most surprising, and smelliest concession-stand snacks.
1. Tiny Baked Fish, Japan
This crunchy treat that looks a lot like bacon is made by baking sardines -- skeleton and all -- in soy and sugar. Known as iwashi sembei, the umami-flavored, pre-packaged snack is popular in theaters across the Land of the Rising Sun. Watching "Finding Nemo" while eating little Nemos is an entirely different experience.
2. Tostilocos, Mexico
This popular Tijuana street food is often sold from carts in movie-theater lobbies. Tostilocos can vary but usually consist of salsa-verde-flavored corn chips, shaved jicama, pickled pig skins and cucumber drenched in lime juice and hot sauce. No need to drive across the border to enjoy Tostilocos: DIY at home and BYO to a theater near you.
3. Roasted Ants, South America
Though South American theaters often don’t carry popcorn, most serve roasted whole ants that patrons pop into their mouths like peanuts. Since the snack, aka hormiga culona, is also considered an aphrodisiac, bring these babies to date nights and you may see more than what’s on the movie screen.
4. Dried Cuttlefish, Korea
Akin to squid but meatier, with a briny-sweet flavor, dried and shredded cuttlefish is sold at the movies in Korea. The chewy fish is often paired with crunchy popcorn to create multi-textured delicacy that sounds disgusting but is supposedly delicious.
5. Beluga Caviar, Russia
Many theaters in Russia now offer VIP seats featuring waitstaff who are eager to dish out the beluga varietal -- valued for its extra large eggs -- of this long-time Russian fave. Add vodka to that order and you’ve got a recipe once reserved for royalty and later enjoyed by the Mafia.
6. Fish Balls, Barbados
Despite their less-than-appetizing name, fish balls are the most popular theater indulgence, and a common street food, on this Caribbean island. Deep-fried, salted and served with hot sauce, wash the spicy snack down with a cold bottle of locally made Banks beer or one of the country’s world-famous rums.
7. Dried Reindeer Meat, Norway
Dried reindeer is a low-fat and nutritious cinema treat offered in Norway, where many outdoor theaters allow patrons to drive in on their snowmobiles. If Americans ate more Rudolph and less buttered popcorn at the movies, we might not be a nation of fat kids.
8. Kvas, Lithuania
Kvas is an ancient beverage often served on the streets surrounding movie theaters in Lithuania. Made by pouring hot water over cubes of stale rye bread that then ferment in wooden tubs, the drink is usually flavored with mint, berries or raisins. Because nothing says refreshing like fermented crouton juice.
9. Dried Salted Plums, China
While dehydrated fruit may sound relatively normal, the versions served at Chinese theaters are unique. They’re heavily pickled and salted, resulting in a tart and tangy flavor that’s very much an acquired taste. Mexican “saladitos” are a more sugary take on this Asian candy. Both versions will result in the runs.
Next: Gross Fast Food Items From Around the World
10. Chicken Legs and Bean Curd, Taiwan
People often nosh on chicken legs and dried bean curd at Taipei theaters. In case that’s not odd enough, these unpackaged goods are acquired from lobby vending machines. Yes, you read that right: chicken and curd from a vending machine. And we thought used panties were weird.