The World's Most Gruesome and Disgusting Foods
Deep Fried Tarantula Spiders
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?
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
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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
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.