16 exotic foods that can actually kill you. Would you eat cheese filled with maggots or shark meat that tastes like urine, or a fish a thousand times more toxic than cyanide? All three of these foods are on a list of the world’s most dangerous foods, and all three are still immensely popular. Today, we’re going to look at these foods and see maybe you’ll want to try some… if your dare.
Summary: Dangerous Food Number 1. Fugu: The poster child for tasty toxins, the fugu (blowfish) is so toxic without proper preparation, that the method of prepping the famous fish is heavily regulated in its native country of Japan. The culprit is a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin, which shuts down nerve signaling.
Dangerous Food Number 2. Hakari: This Icelandic delicacy, where a raw Greenland shark is cured and dried for 6 months, is dangerous if the proper preparation isn't followed. That's because Greenland sharks filter their waste through their skin, meaning that the skin is likely to be filled with toxic substances like urea.
Dangerous Food Number 3. Ackee: This red/orange fruit is common in West Africa and Jamaica, and it splits open when it's fully ripe. You really don't want to eat it before it splits, because the unripe flesh carries a toxin called hypoglycin, which stops the body from converting food into simple sugar, resulting in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Clinically, ackee poisoning has the charming name of "Jamaican vomiting sickness."
Dangerous Food Number 4. Cassava: Native to South America, cassava root is delicious when cooked. But, when eaten uncooked or without fermentation, it releases an enzyme that turns another chemical in the root into cyanide.
Dangerous Food Number 5. Pangium Edule: Also known as "the football fruit," the pangium fruit is toxic enough that they have to be boiled and then fermented while buried in ash and banana leaves for forty days.
Dangerous Food Number 6. San-nakji: This Japanese preparation of raw, long-arm octopus isn't poisonous, like many of the others on the list. But, since the fish is killed right before being presented, the octopus' complex nervous system means that the tentacles can still twitch.
Dangerous Food Number 7. Casy marzu: An Italian delicacy, this sheep's-milk cheese is filled with live maggots capable of launching themselves up to 6 inches. Because the maggots are capable of jumping, and because the cheese is considered best eaten with the still-living maggots in it, diners are advised to hold their hands over their food to prevent the maggots from leaping out at their eyes.
Dangerous Food Number 8. Hot dogs: Eaten in the barbaric wilderness known as “North America,” the “hot dog” (made of processed meat) is the top cause of food-related choking deaths in children under three. The problem is the food’s cylindrical shape, perfectly-suited to lodge in a small esophagus.
Dangerous Food Number 9: Absinthe. Maybe you've watched the movie Euro trip, or maybe you've heard legends about this wacky drink, either way, this stuff is dangerous, especially if you aren't prepared for it. The liquor, which is made of woodworm, fennel, and anise, is sweet to the taste but not so sweet to the brain.
Dangerous Food Number 10: Death Cap Mushroom. We all know not to eat mushrooms off the forest floor... right? Well, you will after today. Enter the Death Cap Mushroom, which is as treacherous as it's name sounds. This fungi which is largely spread across Europe (for now just Europe, but this thing is spreading fast) might taste good, but consumption of this plant will mean big trouble for whoever has the displeasure of eating it.
Dangerous Food Number 11: Blood Clams. We were first really grossed out when we figured you would eat blood in the clams. We were... sort of pleasantly surprised? Apparently, they get their name thanks to the red hemoglobin liquid inside the soft tissues, which is a step up from eating blood... we guess? Any ways, the fact that you may or may not be eating blood isn't the reason these babies are dangerous.
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