Three Unique Food Festivals to Add to Your Bucket List

Radish Carvings from Noche de Los Rabanos
Photo Courtesy of Oaxaca Entrelineas

Food festivals are widely enjoyed because they allow you to try a wide array of foods all within a couple of hours. While any sort of cuisine can be a good time, the best festivals are the ones where you get to explore and try something new. Check out these three festivals that allow you to do just that. They may not make your mouth water, but they will introduce you to different cultures and how they celebrate their food. If you’re a big fan of strange food and drinks, you should definitely check these out.

The Roadkill Festival

Most people normally don’t want to eat roadkill, but in West Virginia it has become something of a tradition. Every year, locals will roam the highways looking for dead animals to include in the festivities, many of which are not always out of the ordinary. These usually include rabbit and deer, but occasionally, they might come upon a dead squirrel, possum or even a bear.

Once found, the animal carcasses are used as ingredients for the festival’s annual cook off. According to locals, the Roadkill Festival has given rise to such cuisines as squirrel gravy, teriyaki marinated bear meat and deer sausages.

Insect Eating Festival

In Marawi, Philippines, students and locals at the Mindanao State University celebrate the Insect Eating Festival. According to officials, the event was first thrown eight years ago and has been held annually since by the University’s Agricultural Department. It also features various recipes for preparing insects, worms and all sorts of other pests.

The festival doesn’t just ask participants to chow down on any type of insect, however. They must specifically eat pests that cause harm to agricultural crops, because the original festival was organized to raise awareness about the effect of pests on the local farming sector. So, what originally began as a university project to address agricultural problems has developed into a festival that focuses on the various ways to prepare insects and pests.

Noche de Los Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) 

If you enjoy food sculptures, then this is one festival that you’ll most likely enjoy. The Night of the Radishes is a special annual event where attendees carve large radishes that takes place in Oaxaca, Mexico a few nights before Christmas. This celebration first began during the Spanish colonial period when the Spaniards first introduced radish to Mexico.

Oaxaca, which features a rather large wood carving industry, slowly developed the Noche de Los Rabanos when some of the carvers began carving radishes to attract potential customers during the holiday seasons. Eventually, this practice of carving radishes developed into a full festival, complete with radish-based recipes and cuisines for visitors to enjoy.

Today, the Night of the Radishes attracts over a hundred contestants and thousands of visitors each year. Given the popularity of the event, local artisans have begun to use other materials such as corn husks and certain types of flowers to create better and more intricate food sculptures.