5 Exotic Foods That Can Kill You

Sep 8, 2011 9:01 am

Eating bullfrogs, Sardinian cheese is ill-advised

Baby Octopus
Photo: thr5 on Flickr
Warning! Chopped tentacles of baby octopus are a choking hazzard.
 

Unlike other animals that will actively avoid food that can kill them, only we humans are adventurous enough (or dumb enough, depending on who you’re asking) to eat food that could kill us. Last week we brought you five foods that may be trying to kill you, now here is a list of five dangerous exotic foods from around the world — that could do you in faster than a Ho Hos addiction.

1. Rotten cheese
Most of us would rather have a colonoscopy than eat food with maggots, but for lovers of the illicit casu marzu, the larvae-infested Sardinian sheep’s milk cheese is an amazing delicacy. Aficionados eat the cheese with the live maggots still inside, accompanied by a powerful red wine. Alcohol must explain why people would eat this cheese despite knowing that the maggots sometimes attach themselves to the stomach or intestinal walls and cause vomiting, diarrhea or even death.

2. Giant bullfrog
Everyone has heard of eating frog legs, but in some parts of Namibia people eat the whole cat-sized giant bullfrog. This is despite the fact that it contains enough poison in its skin and organs to cause painful urination, temporary kidney failure and even death. In order to avoid becoming ill from consuming the bullfrog, people are encouraged to line their pots with a local wood to absorb the poison. This seems like a lot of work for a frog that won’t even get you high if you lick it.

3. Live baby octopus
If you like your food to put up a fight, then you might like san nak ji, a Korean dish that consists of the chopped tentacles of baby octopus. Because the tentacles still wriggle after they have been removed from the body, they pose a choking hazard for people who insist on swallowing the tentacles whole, because the suction cups on the tentacles can become attached to the eater’s throat. Since people do die from eating san nak ji, novices are encouraged to chew.

4. Stonefish
Even though it’s the most venomous fish in the world, the stonefish’s flesh is used to make the highly prized sashimi dish okoze. In order to get to the flesh of the fish, the 13 venomous spines along its back have to be carefully removed. A stonefish’s sting is incredibly painful, and rapid swelling causes death to affected tissues. Other symptoms include seizures, temporary paralysis and shock—which can lead to death if left untreated. If you ever eat okoze, make sure to thank the chef who risked his life so you could eat dinner.

5. Silver-stripe blaasop
If you think eating swordfish is adventurous, then you might want to stay away from the silver-stripe blaasop. Like the pufferfish, this delicacy contains tetrodotoxin and can be lethal when consumed. It’s relatively safe to eat so long as its skin, liver and reproductive organs are properly removed, a process that is easy for people who are familiar with this fish. Unfortunately, the fish has made its way into the Mediterranean from its native home in the Indian and Western Pacific oceans and has killed people who were unaware it was poisonous.


Have you ever had a near-death food experience? Let us know: editorial@foodrepublic.com

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