10 More Of The Weirdest Food From Around The World
1. Cobra Heart – Vietnam
So, they slit the struggling poor creature open right in front of you and place its still beating heart into a shot glass of its own blood. You sink it while it still pumps away… enticed?
2. Casu Marzu – Italy
Also known as ‘maggot cheese’, this traditional Sardinian dish is sheep’s milk cheese famous for containing live insect larvae. Apparently these wiggling little maggots are supposed to enhance the flavour, but are prone to jump when they panic, so watch your eyes. Some people suffocate them or kill the beasties in the fridge before consuming, but others go for the live version. Sometimes they survive the stomach and burrow into your intestines. Nice.
3. Ying-Yang Fish – Taiwan and China
A dish of extreme cruelty, Ying Yang Fish is a fish that has been deep fried and kept alive. A video can be seen of diners prodding at the face and eyes with their chopsticks while they eat to make the fish move, with its mouth and gills opening as it struggles to breathe. Truly horrific stuff.
4. Sannakji – South Korea
Another one that ranks high on the cruelty scale, this dish involves hacking the tentacles off a baby octopus and serving them up to the customer, still wriggling. We can take solace that on occasion the tentacles get revenge and choke the consumer. They have suckers on those things… didn’t you realise?
5. Drunken Shrimp – China
Shrimp served both living and drunk, stunned in a strong liquor called baijiu. Diners usually bite the head off first before consuming the body. A horrible pursuit, not just for the cruelty aspect, but also for the severe risk of paragonimiasis.
6. Shark Fin Soup – China
Before we get into it – no, no, no and no again! Although considered a delicacy in this part of the world, the cruel and barbaric way in which the fins are harvested means no one should have any business supporting the industry. The fact their fins are hacked from the sharks’ still living bodies before they are thrown back into the sea means it’s definitely not worth it for the dried and congealed strands in some chicken broth.
7. Bushmeat – Africa
Covering all manner of animals from the African plains, bushmeat includes flesh of wildlife like giraffe, lemurs and even apes. It’s a strange one, considering how close an ape’s DNA is to a human’s, almost on the verge of cannibalism. Not only is bushmeat bad for conservation efforts, it’s also believed to spread Ebola and may be the part of the reason for the current outbreak.
8. Whale – Japan, United States, Canada, Greenland, Norway, Iceland
Despite being denounced by countless detractors on the grounds of wildlife conservation and animal rights, whale meat is still consumed in a large number of countries. The deaths of these endangered creatures are rarely quick and usually bloody, yet it still goes on all around the world. Luckily they get their own back after death. The meat is said to contain high amounts of mercury and other toxins, which can cause organs to fail and madness. An occupational hazard for hatters in the 19th century, mercury poisoning inspired the Mad Hatter character in the Alice in Wonderland stories.
9. Dog – Korea, China and Vietnam
Yeah, so call me a bleeding heart westerner and a hypocrite, but this always breaks my heart. As someone who had a dog growing up, who was part of the family and treated as a little four legged sister, it’s tough to see dog carcasses roasted beyond recognition or locked in those tight little cages, waiting for the slaughter. But then I eat all the animals we deem fit for farming over here, so this one is going to turn into a long argument. While not widely consumed in Korea these days, dog meat is big money in Vietnam, leading to a massive increase in the stealing of family pets.
10. Cat – East Asia
Another household pet to be killed and served up on a plate. Like dog, it’s found in parts China and Korea, but unlikely to be found in many mainstream restaurants. Another one I won’t be trying… ever.