There is an old saying that says one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Looking at food regarded as delicacies by some folks around the world, that adage is true in more ways than one.
From fried spiders to prairie oysters, these are just a few menu items from around the world that you probably wouldn’t want to bring anywhere near your mouth.
Fugu – Japan
If you have ever seen a pufferfish in all its glory, you will know they resemble surprised hedgehogs. Of course, any tendency to think they are cute evaporates when you find out each fish is venomous enough to kill 30 adults.
Most people would avoid a deadly fish as much as they would someone infected by the bubonic plague. In Japan, not so much. There, the fish is known as fugu, and it is served as an expensive treat for a hefty price between October and March. The fish are not particularly rare, so what you pay for is the skill of the chef who prepares it. After all, one wrong move, and that dish of fugu will turn out to be your last supper.
Prairie Oysters – Canada
Oysters come from the ocean. Remember that. Also, remember that Canada’s prairies and the Rocky Mountains are not in the ocean. Oysters do not come from those places.
If anyone ever offers you prairie or Rocky Mountain oysters, you might want to think twice before noshing them, no matter how they have been prepared. They are not shellfish. They are bull testicles. Bull. Testicles.
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Escamoles – Mexico
If you ever find yourself hungry in Mexico, be warned: an escamole is not a fancier version of guacamole. Referred to properly as escamoles, they are the larvae of ants.
The insect brood is gathered from around the roots of agave and maguey plants, before being fried and mixed with other ingredients to create dishes that may date back to the days of the Aztecs.
Fried Spider – Cambodia
There are not many travelers who would be happy to miss out on a protein-rich snack said to enhance the eater’s beauty. That opinion, however, is liable to change when they find out the snack in question is a deep-fried tarantula.
Spiders fried in garlic oil are sold all over Cambodia. However, those produced in the town of Skuon are held in particularly high regard by locals who enjoy the crunch of a crispy exoskeleton, followed by a warm wave of arachnid innards. No thanks.
Casu Marzu – Italy
Italy gave us pizza, pasta, and gelato. How bad can an Italian delicacy called Casu Marzu be?
At its most basic, the Sardinian favourite is cheese made from sheep’s milk. Oh, and maggots. Yes, fly larvae are an essential part of the cheese’s characteristic flavour and pungent smell. How do they do it, you ask? What? Make it, or eat it? Well, to make it, they take Pecorino cheese, cut off the top, and leave it out as a maternity ward for flies, which lay their eggs in it. The eggs hatch, the maggots eat through the Pecorino, which obviously passes through them, and turns into Casu Marzu on the other side. How they eat it is anybody’s guess.