Life can get monotonous. One way to spice it up is to try new, unusual and poisonous foods. Grabbing life by the jigglies comes with risk, but don’t let your fears stop you. Here are 10 titillating ideas to eat like there’s no tomorrow.
1. Lutefisk (Norway) This delicacy is prepared with dried fish and lye. Cod is the most popular but Ling fish is an option too. The first step is to soak the fish in cold water for five to six days. Think of all that yummy bacteria buildup. Next, throw lye into the stale water. Wait a couple more days. The fish will swell during this soaking time, and the longer it sits, the less protein it has. Ever heard of the popular no-protein diet? It doesn’t exist. Next, the soaked fish becomes a jellyish texture and experiences a chemical change. Now it contains acid strong enough to corrode tissue. If you ate it at this stage you’d drop dead. To avoid that, cover it with salt and keep soaking in water for a few more days. Ever heard of the no-protein-lots-of-salt diet? Okay, it’s ready. Throw it in a pan like Mario. Bam! Cover, steam-cook and eat. You can thank me later.
2. Sannakji: Live Octopus (Korea) Do you like your food to writhe and squirm? If so, this potentially fatal food will be just right. Live octopus is cut into strips while the poor octopus is still alive. If PETA rings the doorbell, don’t answer. Add sesame oil and sesame seeds. Serve immediately while it’s still wiggling. This meal is the perfect conversation starter. You may want to inform your guests that some people choke on the suction cups — those slippery suckers are hard to swallow. If it turns out to be someone’s last meal, at least they went out after a good one. Cough, cough.
3. Fugu: River Pig (Japan) Fugu fish are known to swell up as a defense mechanism, similar to blowfish but instead of air, these H2O-chugging gluttons fill up on water, hence the bloated look. Hannibal Lecter so enjoyed liver, the same is true of Fugu fans. The trouble is the liver is the most toxic part of these little fellers. Rigorous training is advised before cooking Fugu. If the toxic areas are not separated the right way from the meaty parts it could be curtains for you. Once poisoned, your muscles will be paralyzed while you are fully conscious until you croak from asphyxiation. Go for it if you’re the walk-on-the-wild-side type. Me? I’ll stick to Japanese steamed vegetables.
4. Cassava (Jamaica) This food is a woody shrub that is found in the Caribbean and South America. Sometimes it’s sweet, others times bitter. The taste has to do with how much toxic hydrogen cyanide each shrub releases. Many prefer it bitter tasting. This makes it unappetizing to insects and animals, so nobody has to share. Like Fugu, if Cassava is prepared the wrong way, you’ll be irreversibly paralyzed, then meet the grim reaper. C’mon baby, don’t fear the reaper.
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5. Raw Blood Soup: Tiet Canh (Vietnam) Perhaps you’re a fan of the Twilight movie series, or maybe you’re eagerly anticipating the new Dracula TV show. If so, you’ll love this dish. It looks innocent enough — like tomato soup — but don’t be fooled. It is raw blood soup. Assorted herbs and peanuts are thrown on top of a soup bowl of raw pig’s blood, or raw duck’s blood, whatever. Blood is blood, right? And we know it’s thicker than water. Ew. I just threw up in my mouth.
6. Spanish Fly: Lytta Vesicatoria (Spain) This tasty treat is not a fly. It’s a beetle that’s crushed up and eaten. These little buggers contain cantharidin, a type of terpenoid with a chemical strong enough to burn warts off. Some poor saps believe it’s a powerful aphrodisiac. Call me crazy but chemical burns aren’t sexy. Did I mention it can kill you? If you’re lucky you won’t expire, but may experience itchy genitals that swell and leak bloody discharge. You’ll want to rip your clothes off, but not in the way you’d planned. It can also cause a fever, seizures and convulsions. Mighty arousing stuff if you’re a freak.
7. Molina Animal: Pyura chilensis (Peru) On the outside it looks like a rock, but this thing is alive. It’s born male, becomes hermaphroditic at puberty, and reproduces by shooting sperm and eggs into nearby water — something you can’t say about most foods. The clever entity can procreate even if it’s all alone. The stone will create little stones that are genetically identical. Gives the term “mini me” a new meaning. A knife can cut through the rock. Inside you’ll find meat that tastes like iodine. You know, for those late-night iodine cravings. The meat contains a high concentration of vanadium, which is a toxic heavy metal. Unless your liver is made of steel, you might consider Progresso soups instead.
8. Ackee (Jamaica) If you don’t eat ackee fruit the correct way, you’ll be sorry. First vomiting occurs, then maybe a coma, followed by you’re dead. Unripe ackee contains poison called hypoglycin. Don’t get impatient and force the fruit open. Wait until the pods turn red and open naturally. Once open, the edible part is called yellow arilli surrounded by toxic black seeds. Surprisingly, Jamaica’s national dish is ackee with codfish. It’s safer to smoke ganja so put on the Bob Marley CDs and chill, mon.
9. Caterpillar Fungus: Cordyceps (China) This fungal parasite invades the brains of caterpillar larvae. Traditional Chinese medicine uses it to treat exhaustion and even cancer. The mushrooms provide you with an increase in physical endurance. This tasty treat lives in Tibet and 16,000 feet high in the Himalayas. After five years underground before pupating — that’s the stage between being larva and an adult — the caterpillar is attacked by fungus. The fungus invades the body of the caterpillars and kills them. This is like horror sci-fi. Out of the caterpillar’s forehead grows a dark brown mushroom, which is what you eat. Doesn’t that sound yummy?
10. Maggot Cheese: Casu Marzu (Italy) In Italian, Casu Marzu means “rotten cheese.” After a long day at the office, you can sit down to a meal of rotten sheep’s milk cheese and live bugs. This savory delight comes with thousands of living maggots. Casu marzu is toxic when the maggots in the cheese die. Because of this, only cheese in which the maggots are still alive is eaten. Casu marzu is supposedly an aphrodisiac — gee, didn’t anybody ever hear of turning someone on with foreplay? The live larvae in the cheese can catapult themselves into the air, so while you enjoy the meal, hold your hands tight around the maggot cheese sandwich. Otherwise the bugs can leap into your eyes and your date probably won’t find that enticing. Just saying.