Danger? Hah! I laugh in the face of danger. But even the most courageous people can get break into a sweat when thinking about eating these foods. No matter how many times you’ve gone sky diving or swimming with sharks, these seven delicacies from around the world could stop you in your tracks with just one bite. As Destiny’s Child once said, “I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.”
1. Giant Bull Frog – Namibia
Unlike the French tradition of eating frog legs, which, by the way everyone should try, in Namibia the Giant Bull Frog is eaten whole. In the main body of the frog are poisonous toxins that, if the frog is not prepared properly, can cause kidney failure. Usually locals wait until after the third rain to harvest to frogs, after the toxins have stabilized a bit, but after living in the Midwest, I am not one to rely on accurate weather predictions.
2. Cassava – Africa and South America
Cassava is a tuber that is often mashed up and used as a filling or for creating a very dense cake. However, when using it in a recipe it first has to be cooked perfectly. Raw cassava releases the enzyme linamarase when it is being chewed, which then interacts with other compounds and chemicals within the root to create cyanide, a deadly poison. The cake made from cassava may be the one cake you should politely decline.
3. Sannakji – Korea
Grilled or fried octopus is a staple in many cuisines, and tastes amazing if you’ve never tried it. But there is a comfort in knowing that the octopus you’re eating couldn’t possibly choke you. In Korea people eat the delicacy of sannakji, aka raw, baby octopus. In the the octopus are neurons that allow the detached limbs to continue moving and gripping even after being cut off and covered in oil. While you’re swallowing, the suction cups can grab onto your mouth and throat. Maybe that’s why your mom always told you to chew your food.
4. Monkey Brains – Asia, South East Asia
Next time you make a visit to the zoo try not to get too emotionally attached to the monkeys. In places in Asia monkey brains are considered to be incredibly delicious. However, inside the skull of some monkeys can reside a disease that is similar to Mad Cow Disease, so upon eating their brain, your own brain turns to literal mush and causes death. Monkey see, monkey DEFINITELY don’t do.
5. Fugu/Puffer Fish – Japan
You may think of Puffer Fish as a cute, little buddy from Finding Nemo, but the real fish can cause certain death after taking one bite. In the fish is a tetrodoxin that causes your muscles to be paralyzed and keep you from breathing. Just by cutting the fish the wrong way, this poison gets released into the dish. If it is prepared properly, there is no danger from having a bite, but you better be a really trusting person.
6. Blood Clams – China
Blood clams are one of the more highly exalted delicacies in China and are available for sale in the United States! But the preparation of the dish does not do much to get rid of danger. Ready to eat after a quick boil, blood clams can contain viruses and bacteria like typhoid, dysentary, and hepatitis A and E.
7. Carolina Reaper – United States
The hottest pepper in the world is grown right here in the good ol’ USA in the state of South Carolina. Peppers are measured in Scoville Heat Units where a score of 0 is bland and a regular jalapeño registers at about 5,000. A batch of Carolina Reapers weighs in at 1,569,300 on the Scoville scale. After having even the smallest bite of the pepper, a person is sent into spasms of hiccups and vomiting. But hey, this is technically safer than jumping out of a plane.