A delicacy is a usually rare or expensive food item that is considered highly desirable, sophisticated or peculiarly distinctive, within a given culture. Irrespective of local preferences, such a label is typically pervasive throughout a region. Often this is because of unusual flavors or characteristics or because it is rare or expensive compared to standard staple foods.
Delicacies vary per different countries, customs and ages. Flamingo tongue was a highly prized dish in ancient Rome, but is not eaten at all in modern times. Lobsters were considered poverty food in North America until the mid-19th century when they started being treated, as they were in Europe, as a delicacy. Some delicacies are confined to a certain culture, such as fugu in Japan, bird's nest soup (made out of swiftlet nests) in China, and ant larvae (escamoles) in Mexico.