When traveling around the globe I like to give all kinds of traditional foods a try and I’m pretty sure that most of you might do that. However, we should all take care because some of these might not be actually edible! Here’s a list of what traditional dishes you should avoid.
1: Fugu – Shimonoseki, Japan
Fugu, also known as pufferfish, is a fish whose liver and large internal organs contain lethal amounts of the poisonous toxin “tetrodotoxin” for which there is no antidote. However, there are respected special fugu chefs in Japan, who try to leave a specific amount of the venom needed to give a unique flavor to the fish. If you’re brave enough, go ahead and give it a try!
2: Ackee – Jamaica
It’s the national fruit of Jamaica. Although it is rich in vitamins and protein, if the fruit is eaten before it has matured enough, it has lethal properties. It prevents the glucose to be released by the liver, which leads to constant vomiting and seizures.
3: Bullfrog – Africa
Why would someone be reconciled only with frog legs in France if he can take the whole frog? The gigantic Giant Namibian Bullfrog is a delicacy in the African nation, as long as it is hunt and eaten at the right time. In other words, it should be in its mating season otherwise it may lead to renal failure.
4: San Nak Ji – Korea
It doesn’t take a great effort to make one serving of san nak ji (small raw octopus) for the fans of a ‘alternative’ food. These small octopus tentacles are cooked in olive oil with sesame seeds which are still stuck with its suckers. Tip: if you want to taste it, chew thoroughly before swallowing as choking incidents are not few.
5: Apricot Seeds – Turkey
As much as it seems strange, apricots CAN be fatal. Since we were kids, we were given the dietary advice to eat lots of fruits and vegetables but nobody spoke about the dangerous toxins that exist and need to be eliminated. The seeds from cherries, plums, peaches, almonds, apricots and apples also contain hydrogenous cyanide. A fruit a day may keep the doctor away but beware of the high consumption!
6: Cassava – Africa, South America
The leaves and seeds of cassava are surprisingly rich in cyanide. The Cassava is a tropical vegetable originating in South America, but it’s also common in Africa, mainly for its juice, which is used to produce a drink called piwarry.
7: Casu Marzu – Italy
The Casu Marzu is actually illegal in Italy, and indeed many around the world consider it more than junk food. However, the preparation is so thorough, just like the preparation of an amazing dessert. Cheese made from sheep milk is left out to “rot”. Throughout this course it is regularly visited by a species of flies that help in the process by generating their eggs inside the cheese. The eggs remain inside until they pop and start eating the cheese. At the end, these worms soften the cheese and make it ready to eat! The thing is that, in order to reduce its toxicity, you have to eat as it is, with the worms in it!
8: Elderberries – Europe
Perhaps it is the least lethal food in that list, yet it’s potentially dangerous unless it is mature enough. There have not been several documented cases of death, but certainly it is not in the category of harmless.
9: Bloody Clams – Shanghai, China
That’s the food that can infect you with hepatitis. Although it is considered to be one of the most delicious dishes in the country, their making requires quick cooking, something that eliminates viruses and bacteria, including those of hepatitis and dysentery!
By Nikos K
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