Among the things that people do when they visit new countries, is to try local foods, delicious, weird and maybe also poisonous, some of those foods may harm you, I know, I know you love food, and you can’t resist, so don’t worry! In this article, you will discover with us, the 10 most dangerous foods around the world, that people actually will eat!
10 – Raw Baby Octopus (SAN-NAKJI)
This dish is basically a raw, small octopus that’s sometimes eaten alive! Even if it isn’t alive prior to consumption, many of the nerve cells are still firing and the tentacles still move around. This really odd feature is thanks to their nervous system with neurons located in the arms.
Getting past that mental hurdle of wiggling tentacles isn’t the tough part. It’s being able to actually swallow the tentacles that are the hardest task here. The tentacles contain miniature suction cups that keep on working even when the octopus isn’t alive. They can hold onto someone’s throat.
9 – Hákarl (Rotten Shark)
The fact that humans still eat rotten shark meat this day and age makes you wonder how we evolved to be the smartest, most advanced species ever to roam the planet. But you know what, here we are! This dish is from Iceland, where Hákarl is a traditional dish.
Hákarl is a mixture of Greenland Shark and other Sleeper Sharks that’s hung up to dry for 5 months to ferment before eating. Sound appetizing yet? Since this fresh shark meat is poisonous when it’s fresh of high content of urea and trimethylamine N-oxide, chefs have to go to great lengths to prepare it for consumption. When the sharks are first caught, they’re gutted and placed in a shallow sandy hole for several weeks. Then strips of the meat are hung up for five months. Just try and imagine that smell!
Hákarl contains a large amount of ammonia and has a strong smell, similar to many cleaning products.
People trying it for the first time apparently gag involuntarily on the first attempt to eat it because of the high ammonia content! Yeah, that’s going to be a no for me dawg.
First-timers are advised to pinch their nose while taking the first bite, as the smell is much stronger than the taste. While this is a well-liked dish in Iceland, the rest of the world seems to hate Hákarl. Anthony Bourdain described it as a quote “The single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing.” Chef Gordon Ramsay tried it and…. well you can pretty much guess how that went.
Anyway, not only can this meat be dangerous if it isn’t prepared right, the payoff seems to be virtually nonexistent!
8 – Casu Marzu (Rotten Cheese)
Does rotten cheese made from sheep milk with maggots swimming around in it sound tasty? It’s a soft cheese with putrid liquid from wormy maggots. Yet, there are Italians that like to eat this dish! Pecorino cheese is left outside for days, while larvae lay eggs in the cheese. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae will chomp their way through the cheese.
Meanwhile, acid from their digestive system just pours into the cheese. Unsurprisingly, this cheese is often unsafe to eat. To begin with, it’s only safe to eat it while the maggots are alive! Also, if you eat any of the maggots, there’s a good chance that they can survive on the inside of your intestines, a condition called Pseudomyiasis.
The European Union has banned the cheese, and offenders face heavy fines. Because of this, Casu Marzu can only be found on the black market!
7 – Blood Clams (Tegillarca granosa)
If you ever find yourself in Bangkok and you’re feeling adventurous and you’re trying to take advantage of your insurance, be sure to check out Blood Clams.
The thing is, when these clams are served raw, that’s when they’re most dangerous. They’re supposedly extremely tasty, assuming if shellfish is your thing. If you decide to eat it raw…. watch out.
People have been known to suffer from “Rotten Stomach” which is pretty much exactly what you think it is. Yeah, It’s all liquid. Because the blood clam lives in low-oxygen environments, in order to get the nutrients, they need, they ingest a lot more viruses and bacteria, such as Hepatitis A, typhoid, and dysentery, just to name a few. And while they can be found in the waters all over the world, some countries ban the import of them because of health concerns.
If you’re going to try it, we’d recommend to only eat it fully cooked, unless you’re wanting to spend a few days in the bathroom or the hospital!
6 – Nomura’s Jellyfish
When most people go to the beach, they avoid large jellyfish. That’s just basic common sense, right? But some people prefer to eat jellyfish. Commonly known as Nomura’s Jellyfish, it’s one of the largest jellyfish in the world, and it’s technically edible, even if it’s low on nutrition.
There’s a Japanese company called Tango Jersey Dairy, and they make this crazy Vanilla and Jellyfish Ice Cream using Nomura’s Jellyfish. The jellyfish is soaked overnight in milk to reduce its smell and is then diced. Fumiko Hirabayashi, a director of the dairy, says the jelly cubes are slightly chewy.
It must taste awesome though because people more or less risk their lives to eat this stuff. If the toxic part of the jellyfish isn’t properly removed, and the remaining parts properly cooked, the toxins can be dangerous.
However, jellyfish in general have been eaten in Asian countries for thousands of years now. It’s used in a variety of dishes, and jellyfish is often utilized to add texture or to spruce up salads.
5 – Monkey Brains
It’s not ever necessary to eat monkey brains, but some people allegedly do it anyway. In a modern context, it’s more of an urban legend than an actual thing.
In China, it’s illegal to sell Monkey Brains, and breaking this law will land someone in jail for up to 10 years! But assuming someone did eat monkey brains and managed to not get caught, they’d have something called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to deal with. This is a dangerous brain disease that pretty much guarantees whoever gets it doesn’t make it. 90% of people who contract this disease lie within a year. Of course, it’s hard to say if there’s any actual evidence of people eating monkey brains.
The feast was a multi-day banquet where hundreds upon hundreds of dishes were served to the Emperors. Armed with that little tidbit of information, pop culture has often depicted monkey brain eating as an Eastern thing.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death, pop into mind for example. Who can forget the monkey brain scene!
However, it’s just historically inaccurate. However, who knows about today. Anyone that’s actually eating monkey brains should really reconsider that dietary choice!
4 – African Bullfrogs
As their name would suggest, African Bullfrogs make their homes in, wait for it…. Africa. Preferring the dry savanna, shrublands and marshes, these large amphibians hang around all over the place in Africa. As there are no laws that prohibit the trade of African Bullfrogs, they’ve become an increasingly popular choice for exotic pets. One reason for this “laissez faire” approach is that Bullfrogs, in general, are kind of disruptive to their ecosystem as they eat just about everything that they can get their mouths around.
Anyway, it’s not uncommon for African Bullfrogs to be kept in captivity or to be featured items on restaurant menus.
The French, for example, are known to enjoy eating their legs. But in Africa, however, some folks eat the whole frog. This isn’t a great idea, their skin and organs contain a toxin called Oshiketakata that’s extremely dangerous.
When the frogs are young and have yet to mate, that’s when the toxin is present. Ingesting the toxin can lead to kidney failure.
However, it’s a celebratory dish in Namibia, and they’re still happy to take the risk and eat the entire frog.
3 – Fesikh
The Egyptians have a lot of traditions, one of them is eating a potentially dangerous fish called Fesikh.
Like virtually every other item on our list, this fish is potentially lethal if it isn’t prepared correctly. Even if this dish doesn’t end your life, it can cause botulism poisoning, which isn’t a walk in the park. And while the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population issues a yearly warning telling its citizens not to eat Fesikh, the BBC reported in 2017 that it only serves to increase interest in the fish.
For thousands of years now, Egyptians have feasted on this fermented fish meat. The recipe itself is simple, the fish is dried in the sun and then placed in large wooden vats filled with the right ratio of salty water for 45 days.
The key to success is apparently in knowing all the subtle fishy rules. While the fish technically remains raw, the salt ‘cooks’ it, in theory preventing any rotting. The end result is a normal-looking fish on the outside with a grey-tinged, gooey inside that apparently reeks.
If it isn’t prepared with enough salt or if there’s already dead fish floating in the water, botulism bacteria, which thrive in Anaerobic environments, can fester. It causes Nausea, paralysis, or in rare cases, even death!
2 – Pufferfish (Fugu)
Despite looking weirdly cute and also being highly poisonous, the pufferfish is still a fairly popular dish in Japan called Fugu. The majority of pufferfish species are toxic and some are among the most poisonous vertebrates in the world!
There are strict laws in Japan that govern how this fish is prepared. Any chef who prepares a pufferfish for consumption must have at least 3 years of training, which for the sake of reference, is considerably longer than it takes to get a pilot’s license!
Fugu is normally eaten in thin Sashimi slices, but it can also be served in other ways, such as in soup or deep-fried. The liver of a pufferfish is allegedly very tasty, but it’s the most poisonous part, and serving it has been banned in Japan since 1984. Their livers contain a lethal dose of Tetrodotoxin, a toxin that blocks sodium channels, causing paralysis of the muscles, tongue and lips. The worst part is, when someone’s poisoned, they stay conscious the whole time, they just can’t move or speak! Also, there’s no antidote for it.
Fugu has been a part of the Japanese diet for centuries, and no matter how poisonous it is, its taste and the danger involved won’t stop this dish from being consumed anytime soon!
1 – Wild Mushrooms
It should go without saying, don’t eat wild mushrooms! If you buy them at the store…. great, go to town on them.
But unless you’ve spent some serious time studying mushrooms, don’t eat what you find in the woods. For some reason, people still do it! Telling the difference between safe mushrooms and toxic ones is a challenge even for the seasoned professional.
If you picked wrong, you’ll first have issues such as throwing up, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea. After that, you may think you’re getting better. However, the worst is yet to come.
Finally, about 48 hours later, the liver begins to fail, leading to multi-organ failure and possible death. Charcoal is sometimes used to absorb the poison, but beyond that, there’s no antidote.
So the moral of the story is simple…. DON’T EAT WILD MUSHROOMS!