10 Risky Foods For Brave Souls
While some foods pose a risk to human beings simply because they affront our sense of decorum, or force our gag reflex into working overtime, other dishes can literally stop our hearts and send us to the grave, if prepared incorrectly No one should have to die just because they chose the wrong dish, or the wrong chef.
Oddly enough, many of the foods that are offensive to the Western appetite are actually considered delicacies in the regions from which they hail. If you really want to prove that you're a brave soul, we recommend playing a bit of Russian roulette with your dinner choices, and trying some of the foods on this list.
You'll have to shell out a fair amount of cash in order to obtain the foods you’re after, not to mention paying for a trek around the globe, but look at it this way––if you can stomach most of the items below, there’s probably a future for you in reality television, along with a few potential trips to the emergency room.
Puffer fish, or “Fugu” in Japanese, is a delicacy that can easily kill you if prepared the wrong way. (We've all seen that episode of 'The Simpsons,' right?) The culprit here is a powerful poison known as tetrodotoxin (TTX). Chefs who prepare Fugu have to go through a rigorous training program where they learn how to extract the deadly poison from this tasty fish before sending it out on a plate to their customers/potential victims. If you like great fish, and the thrill of gambling with your life, then a meal of Fugu just might be for you.
So, you think you can handle spicy food? You’re the kind of person who just loves that burning sensation in your mouth after your tear into a fiery jalapeno pepper? Well, you probably haven’t tried the Moruga Scorpion chili pepper yet. This bad boy pepper, which comes from Trinidad, has the distinction of being the hottest chili pepper on the planet. It’s a slow kind of burn, which builds up after the first bite until fire shoots out of your mouth, nose and eyes. On the Scoville heat scale, it clocks in at 1.2 million units, whereas a common Chipotle (smoked Jalapeño pepper) falls somewhere between 5,000 - 10,000 units. Trinidad’s Moruga Scorpion chili pepper definitely doesn’t suffer gastronomic fools lightly.
If you need goggles to eat a piece of cheese, and you’re also worried the police might bust you or force you to pay a fine for eating it in public, you know you’ve stumbled into some dark cheese-eating territory. Italy’s banned Casu Marzu cheese is a fermented cheese given its special flavor by maggots. This sheep’s milk cheese is intentionally infested with a fly that speeds along the fermentation process. When you eat the cheese, the fly larvae jump up into the air, which is why safety goggles are required. Oh, did we mention that blood-spattered diarrhea and vomiting are possible side effects as well? Yeah, that's because the larvae that survive have this funny habit of trying to dig their way out of your body through your intestine walls. Fun stuff.
Most of us have heard of haggis before, but how many of us have actually sampled the infamous Scottish dish? For those of you who don’t know, Haggis is a mixture of sheep organs, salt, onions and other savory ingredient all stuffed inside of a sheep’s stomach. Despite the less-than-appealing description, quite a few people enjoy the flavor of haggis, although we can’t recommend this dish for vegans or vegetarians. Simply put, it’s sheep insides and stomach going directly into your stomach, minus a couple of hours of simmering.
Guess they love "junk food" in China, since you can order a donkey’s penis (a delicacy) for dinner, or even share a fancy meal with friends at a penis restaurant. For many folks, eating a penis crosses some sort of line in the culinary sand, but if you can get past the fact that the animal in question is no longer in need of its favorite appendage, a roasted donkey’s penis is actually a great source or protein. Since donkeys are known for their length and girth, you’ll be sure to get your money’s worth. No one ever leaves the table hungry on donkey junk night.
These guinea pigs, called “Cuy” in Peru, aren’t the same little guys you buy at pet stores in North America. Cuy are big, formidable guinea pigs, similar in size to a small cat or a ferret. These poor fellows are usually roasted or grilled, and the meat can be a bit tough, but the taste isn’t all that different from rabbit. If you don't mind eating a guinea pig (maybe you had one as a pet when you were young), you might find yourself enjoying this Andean specialty. Don't feel bad; the ones in kindergarten classrooms surely wish for death every moment of every day. It's better this way.
What in the world are escamoles? Well, we’re glad you asked. Escamoles are the larvae of ants, a popular snack in Mexico. Is your mouth watering yet? The eggs come from the very poisonous Liometopum ant. The Aztecs loved ant larvae, and considered it a delicacy. These days, you can get a hefty helping of these nutty-tasting, slightly crunchy escamoles in a tortilla or taco, while visiting Mexico City.
If you thought donkey penis was hard to swallow, wait until you get a load of criadillas: bull testicles. Also known as Rocky Mountain oysters, these puppies have been part of the cuisine of the American West and Mexico, for quite some time. There’s no special secret here. Simply get hold of some calf testicles, and then whip up a batch of “cowboy caviar.” Fried, stewed, grilled, it really doesn’t matter––there are tons of ways to cook your bovine balls. The method is entirely up to you.
If you’re of Scandinavian decent, or happen to be friends with a few Danes, Norwegians or Swedes, you might already know what lutefisk is. For the uninitiated, lutefisk (lye fish) is cod or another similar fish that has been soaked in a lye bath, which turns the fish into a gummy, stinky treat. This odd form of fish is extremely popular in Scandinavian communities (just ask Garrison Keillor) come holiday time. If you’re a fan of powerful smelling, jelly-like meat, then you’ll be right at home.
There’s nothing like a glass of refreshing snake blood to invigorate the body; It’s better than a glass of Pinot noir. The next time you’re in Southeast Asia and passing through Bangkok, Jakarta or Taipei, why not get yourself a glass of snake’s blood? It’s supposed to be good for the skin and heart, and if you do manage to down a glass or two of serpent blood, you’ll get to sound like a badass when you tell the story to your friends. Charlie Sheen might have tiger’s blood running through his veins, but cobra beats tiger, as far as we're concerned.