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The World's Most Gruesome and Disgusting Foods

Updated on January 18, 2013

Deep Fried Tarantula Spiders

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Instead of boring old roast chicken, why not tuck into a pile of tasty tarantulas? There would be no more arguments about who gets to eat the legs - there's plenty for everyone. These are fast-food in Cambodia, where they are consumed in their millions, and are said to be crunchy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Delish! But don't the hairs get stuck in your teeth?

Fried Cockroaches

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If you can't face munching all those hairy legs, you might prefer to try a fried cockroach. These are popular in Thailand. Get the ultimate revenge on cockroaches. If you own a restaurant, don't worry if you get an infestation of the things; just get them off the floor and onto the menu. You can even advertize your restaurant as using fresh, home-grown ingredients. It's recycling at its best. They eat your food, and you eat them. They are said to taste like cashew nuts. Cashews are quite expensive - cockroaches are free. Think about it.

Fried Giant Water Bugs

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If you prefer something with a bit more meat on it than a cockroach, why not try a deep fried giant water bug? These are also all the rage in Thailand and Cambodia and the flight muscles are reported to taste like shrimp. Yum! If you happen to be eating at this moment, skip this next bit. In Vietnam, they collect the male's pheronome essence from its liquid producing sacs - this is the stuff produced by the male bug to attract the female - and add it to dipping sauce for rice-noodle rolls. It's not clear whether eating it results in your being pursued by amorous female giant water bugs.

Bird's Nest Soup

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Swifts in China build their nests by using their saliva to hold things together. This lovely sticky saliva is full of seafood goodness as the birds dine on shrimp and small fish when they can. When the nests are soaked in water, it turns glutinous with all that shrimpy residue. The resulting soup made from this is so irresistible that it is one of the most expensive dishes in the entire world. A bowl of the soup will cost you $30 to $100. If you don't mind dining on bird saliva, they say the soup is full of minerals, particularly calcium from the caves where the birds live, and is chock full of goodness.

Civet-poop Coffee

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After your bird-saliva soup, how about a nice cup of civet-poop coffee? Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world. It is very rare, and sought after by coffee conoisseurs, especially in the U.S. and Japan. But be warned, it really is obtained from poop. The Asian palm civet loves these coffee beans and devours them greedily. The journey down its digestive tract changes the flavor, but doesn't actually digest them: they come out the other end virtually intact. They are collected, washed and dried and packaged to be sold in the most expensive, high class stores. Java, Bali and Indonesia export these beans. I wonder it they drink the coffee themselves?

Bamboo Worms

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While drinking your civet-poop coffee, there's nothing nicer than enjoying a low-fat snack, high in protein and fiber. Bamboo worms beat chocolate chip cookies any day for a quick healthy munch. These are sold on the street in Bangkok, where people walk along eating them out of paper bags like nuts or pretzels. The texture is said to be like corn puffs. The worms are the larvae of moths that feed on the flowering bamboo trees. They are so popular that they are now farmed and massive amounts are produced commercially. You can even buy them freeze-dried in the U.S. and Britain. Go for it!

The Deadly Poisonous Fugu Fish

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Take a bite of incompetently prepared fugu fish. First you will become paralyzed. You will remain fully conscious, but because of the paralysis, you will be unable to breathe. You will slowly die as your oxygen supply runs out. Tempted? Thousands of people in Japan are and pay hundreds of dollars for the experience of risking their life for a fish fillet.

Chefs in Japan have to undergo in-depth training before they are allowed to prepare fugu, also known as blowfish, carefully removing the parts that contain most of the poison, tetrodotoxin. Because of this, deaths from eating fugu in Japanese restaurants are rare, but do sometimes happen. Preparing this fish yourself to eat at home is not recommended.

Ordering fugu is the ultimate act of macho one-upmanship when dining out. Some people say fugu tastes delicious: others say it is like eating rubber bands. Personally, I can resist the temptation to find out.

Grilled Frogs

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In Cambodia and some other far-eastern countries, barbecued frogs are a real treat. They are said to be extremely tasty and something of a delicacy. In some regions they are stuffed with a paste made from nuts and lemon grass; in others served blackened like Cajun fish. The French famously eat frogs' legs, but why waste the rest? Doesn't the photo tantalize your taste buds?

Balut - Boiled Duck Embryo

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I've saved this until last so those of a nervous disposition can stop reading at this point! Not even the imagination of a Stephen King could have come up with a horror as sickening as this one. The duck embryo is allowed to develop within the egg until it gets a few soft bones and whispy feathers, then is boiled alive and eaten with a spoon. This is enjoyed as street-food in Cambodia and in the Phillipines. In fact, these crunchy snacks are available quite widely in the U.S.A. in areas settled by Filipinos, who regard them as a real treat. Many of us, though, would rather have them in our nightmares than in our stomachs.

Food for Thought

What we consider acceptable as food is entirely dependent on what we are used to. No doubt, those who are brought up in a vegan family are repelled by the thought of eating dead animals. Most of us think that eating meat is normal, but exclude certain animals from the menu. If we grew up eating barbecued frogs, fried ants or locusts (said to taste like shrimp), we wouldn't find it gruesome at all. It would be perfectly normal. So perhaps we should try some of these unusual foods and start a new trend. Maybe one day McDonalds will sell frogs 'n fries.

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    • B Lucy profile image

      B Lucy 4 years ago from Podunk, Virginia

      Awesome hub! Once I got past the ewww factor, I found the breakdown and descriptions of the dishes fascinating!! Although, I'm gonna stick to boring pasta salad . . . = )

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      Thanks, B. Lucy. I won't be tucking into insects anytime soon, either:)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Interesting you should mention spiders! lol! maybe that Indian village in my hub should start eating those horrible ones? seriously, there is nothing here that I would want, or maybe a yummy frog! lol! but I would never try that fish, scare me to death it would! lol! great hub, and voted and shared, nell

    • nanderson500 profile image

      nanderson500 4 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Wow, interesting hub! Glad I wasn't eating when I read it though! Ha ha good job.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Grilled frog I can understand but wouldn't touch it. The rest of this stuff ... "YOU ARE KIDDING ME!!!"

    • mythbuster profile image

      mythbuster 4 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      I am so glad I didn't arrive at this hub hungry or I may have thought the foods here seemed appetizing lol. I will pass on frog 'n' fries - and everything else above for now but enjoyed reading this hub... even if I cringed a few times haha.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      I'm going to read it before each meal so I can lose weight. Tarantula hair and bird poop! OMG!

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 4 years ago

      It is amazing what some people will, and do, eat. I loved your hub.....hated the menu....voted up!

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      I thought of that when I read your hub, Nell! Maybe those spiders would be poisonous, though, and they'd have to hire a Japanese chef at great expense to prepare each one :) Thanks for coming by.

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      You have a point nanderson500! Perhaps I should have put a warning at the beginning:)

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      I think some people in the U.S. do eat barbecued frogs! It doesn't look irresistible, though, does it? Thanks for commenting.

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      How could you resist frog 'n' fries? You don't know what might be in some of those burgers:) Thanks for coming by, mythbuster.

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      Hey, that's a good idea, dianetrotter! I could market this hub as an aid to slimming:)

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      It's hard to imagine people buying cockroaches to munch on the street but I guess they do! Mind you, I wonder what goes into some of those hot dogs:) Thanks for visiting, point2make.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 4 years ago from Jamaica

      And people call my cow skin soup and chicken feet soup weird food! There is nothing on this list that I would even want to see much less eat, I feel like gagging. The most disgusting thing on the list are the fried cockroaches (because they are nasty, stinky and disgusting) and the frogs because they are slimy and I just hate them...my skin is crawling .....yikes...yuk!

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      Cow skin soup! Chicken feet soup! If I'd heard of those Cardisa, I'd have included them in this hub:) Actually, I can remember as a small child eating things like tripe, pigs' trotters (I thought they weren't real ones!) and cow-heel stew. Then there is black pudding - don't even think about what that's made of. I know in China they eat chicken feet all the time. People in the Middle East are often horrified by the thought of eating shellfish. I guess it's all cultural, but I still can't imagine all those Thai people munching on cockroaches. Yuk!

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      My grandmother made blood pudding. Kill the hog, catch the blood, add sugar, milk and other pudding ingredients. They loved it. I never tried it. Serious.

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
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      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      Yep, that's the one Diane! I don't think ours had sugar and milk in it, though, just fat and breadcrumbs and pepper. I was pretty horrified when I found out what I'd eaten. They didn't waste anything in those days:)

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Well how did it taste Mazzy???

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      It's hard to describe the taste, Diane. I remember it was quite peppery and it had little pieces of solid fat all through it. I can't say I liked it.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett Caulton 4 years ago from Thailand

      I have to confess to eating many of these, bugs, grubs, beetles, locusts, grass hoppers, worms ... all fried of course lol. Then of course there is the odd snake that is caught, or the frogs coming out during rainy season. Not to mention the food dried in the sun for a day (actually very good, although a little sour). The blood pudding mentioned above sounds like what is in the noodle soups here, kinda like a savory jelly lol. The only one I wouldn't go for is the Japanese fish ... some risks are too high for a tasty dish.

      Shared, up and interesting.

      Shared, up and

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      Brett, sound like you will eat anything!

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      All that fried food, Brett! I guess in Asian countries people think differently about insects. I wonder whether you got stuck into the bugs when you first arrived in Asia or were gradually won over? I guess they must look yummy to lots of people :)

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      Ewwwww Mazzy , these foods look truly gross. I hear what you are saying about different eating habits, but there is absolutely no way you would get me to try anything on this hub. Yuk. Mind you, after reading another hub only this week and seeing some of the stuff Mcdonalds food contains, this could be the healthy alternative if you left off the chips !!!

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      Thanks for commenting bac2basics. I must admit I wouldn't eat these things either. I can't understand the people on the awful "I'm a Celebrity" program who are happy to eat disgusting things. However, some people are saying there will be a food shortage in the future and insects are a good source of protein:)

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 4 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      Great hub Mazzy. It made me laugh as I used to live in Thailand. I remember one drunken evening when a fellow teacher produced a bag of fried cockroaches and put one down my top! Thankfully I never ate anything like that as I'm a vegetarian! It is fascinating what people eat though.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 4 years ago from Fontana

      You mean coakroaches aren't brown vegetables?

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      Thanks for commenting Peanutritious and Diane. Peanutritious, I wonder if your colleague ate any of the cockroaches? I think if I moved to Thailand it might help me to become a vegetarian:) Diane, you put a thought in my head - kids in Thailand would probably prefer to eat cockroaches over vegetables :)

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      OK . . . I can't think of anything to say!

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      You, lost for words, Levertis? I can't believe it :) ! Thanks for visiting.

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      Wow. No words...just glad that I ate my lunch before I found this hub. It is truly disgusting.

    • Mazzy Bolero profile image
      Author

      Mazzy Bolero 4 years ago from the U.K.

      Well, I can't really disagree with that, Julie. Mind you, a Thai person might find most of it making them hungry :) Thanks for commenting.

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