Mark Twain was once quoted saying, “When one has tasted it, he knows what the angels eat”. I presume he didn’t know of these ghastly delicacies the knowledge of which should have made him speak otherwise. Following is an assorted list of weird foods befitting beast, but surprisingly consumed by humans.
Mexico is home to the giant black Liometopum ants, which makes its home in the root systems of maguey and agave plant. This is by far the safest, tastiest and one of the expensive dishes to treat yourself to. But this is still ant larvae we are talking about! The collection procedure is a uniquely unpleasant task, since the ants are highly venomous and have some kind of blood grudge against human orifices. Most popularly eaten in a taco with guacamole, it is known for its buttery and slightly nutty flavour.
This one here is only meant to be eaten outdoors (think picnics, anywhere far off from your place). This Scandinavian “delicacy” of tinned fermented fish has a strong stench the taste of which is eventually acquired. Surstromming is usually eaten on an open sandwich piled with the fish, boiled potatoes, diced onions, and either sour cream or crème fraiche.
Yes! It is the well known blood which flows through the arteries of a living being. Given that every living being is devoured by the other to strike a balance in the system of nature, but who in the world would have thought of this. Humans consuming blood (and we tsk cannibalism, double standards I tell you). In many parts of the world meat is eaten as an accompaniment with blood, sausages being one of them. The Finnish and Swedish rather prefer their blood in their pancakes, famously called as Blodplätter (veriohukainen in Finnish). But it seems they are sane enough to bake their blood along with the pancakes before consuming them. But how would you react if asked to eat blood in its raw form. Raw blood soup is a traditional Vietnamese delicacy. Known as tiet cahn, this protein enriched delicacy is usually served at breakfast. This can either be a geese’s or a pig’s fresh blood, which is refrigerated to be congealed and served with chopped herbs at morning. Red, sticky, warm blood anyone?
Hoe refers to raw food dishes in Korean cuisine. Acclaimed amongst it is Sannakji or Sannakji Hoe. This “delicious”s platter consists of a nakji (ie. an octopus, A LIVE OCTUPUS!), chopped and seasoned with sesame oil served raw, crisp and fresh. And how do you know that the dish is fresh? Viola! the octopus pieces would be still squirming (hopefully they stop squirming once they hit your tummy). Many people are known to choke on the dish. Who wouldn’t?
6. Live cobra heart (Vietnam)
Some time ago, the tabloids reported the beating heart of a Cobra being gulped down by Gordon Ramsey. Later on Anthony Bourdain was reported eating the same. All of a sudden everybody was eager to eat this revolting dish on live television. But one thing is for sure, this is a dish not fit for the faint-hearted. This is solely consumed by those who have a staunch faith in the practice of inheritance of power, strength and virility of a Cobra. Cobra is often associated with male virility. The ritual is like that of selecting a wine in a fine restaurant. You select a mean looking snake (the mean, the better) whose head is chopped off and heart is ripped apart (right in front of you), which is immediately served with a dollop of blood. It’s meant to be gulped down whole, blood and all. Those mighty men, valiant enough to give it a try reported a feeling of a throbbing heart slowly making its way down their throat. Most came out of this trail unscathed, with a distinct taste of a peculiar oyster on their tongue (so much for tasting a live heart).
5. Casu Marzu
The home to quintessential wine and dine is also the place of origin of world’s stalest edible cheese. Yes! Stale, yet edible. Casu Marzu is an Italian medium-sized lump of cheese. Made of sheep’s milk, this one here is deliberately infested by a Piophila Casei the “cheese fly”, resulting in a maggot-ridden, weeping stink bomb in an advanced state of decomposition. This is the only cheese in the world that requires an eye protection while savouring it. Wonder why? Its translucent larvae are able to jump about 6 inches into the air, which may thump you right in the face. With a strong taste to burn the tongue, the larvae are known to pass through the stomach undigested, occasionally resulting in bloody diarrhoea and vomiting.
Japan is by far the only country with a history of delicacies the sight of which is good enough to turn one’s stomach. The fugu or puffer fish is one of them. With lethal doses of tetrodotoxin (to which there is no known antidote) in its organs, if prepared correctly it hits you with its tingly taste. In case of a miss, the toxin paralyzes the body muscles while the victim is fully conscious, and slowly he or she dies from asphyxiation. Not that you can lay your hands on this dish that easily, as stringent tests have to be passed by chefs to serve this dish.
Love ducks and eggs? The sight of this will make you think twice the next time you consume either one of them. This is a Filipino dish which loosely denotes a “boiled duck egg”. Except, the egg that is boiled has been fertilised and the embryo is allowed to grow. With a partly formed baby duck inside, this one is boiled alive and then served piping hot. What follows is an experience of biting down on a bit of a beak, feather and tiny baby duck bones.
You get a cue to steer clear of the dish when one of the acclaimed chefs of the world, Anthony Bourdain , pronounces it to be “the single worst most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he had ever eaten. Typically eaten in Iceland, the fermented basking shark is an acquired taste. With a strong ammonia-like odour, it distinctly tastes sweet and nutty without tasting much like a fish. Majority are known to gag involuntarily as a part of their first experience.
1. Sour Toe cocktail
Set amidst the picturesque wilderness of Northern Canada, the Sourdough Saloon in Dawson city caters whiskey with a toe in it. Yes TOE! Human toe, dirt and all! In 1973, Capt. Dick Stevenson found a toe in a cabin he had purchased, which belonged to a trapper which he had lost it due to frostbite. The drink is a medley of whiskey, vodka or something strong, with a mummified toe floating around like a gag ice cube. This glorious drink would knock Dionysus himself.
While these weird foods you just saw a glimpse of what our human comrades can stomach, there are many more of these “disastrous delicacies.”