The humble puffer fish may look cute, but that's before you find out
that it contains a poison with the power to both paralyse and suffocate.
When prepared properly by having its liver and reproductive organs
removed, the Fugu is something of a Japanese delicacy.
However, should the chef slip up, munching on the puffer fish could lead
to the ingestion of the poison tetrodotoxin, and ultimately a slow and
While there is no antidote, victims can survive if they are given
respiratory assistance until the poison wears off.
With this in mind, people planning to indulge in some Fugu will want to
ensure a licensed chef prepares the fish for them.
Acquiring a license to cook the dish is a long and intensive process,
with a rather stressful final exam in which the chef must prepare the
dish before eating it himself.
Alternatively, those desperate to taste the delicacy could choose a
non-toxic form of Fugu, which has been bred by a number of Japanese
The beloved Ackee plant is the national fruit of Jamaica, but eating it
too ripe or not ripe enough could cause a Jamaican vomiting sickness,
seizures, or fatal hypoglycaemia.
You can tell if the fruit is ripe because its pods will turn red and it
will fall open.
If you're chowing down on one of these fruits, remember that only the
tasty yellow parts are edible, so stay safe and steer clear of the toxic
black seeds and red skin.
Casu Marzu, which literally translates as "rotten cheese", is a truly
stomach churning concept.
Hailing from Sardinia, this is a cheese with a gruesome twist - it is
home to thousands of wriggling maggots.
To create this unique dish, Pecorino Sardo cheese is left outside for
cheese flies to lay eggs in.
These will then hatch into a pile of living, breathing maggots which
feed on the cheese and produce enzymes that promote fermentation and
cause fats within the cheese to decompose.
Live maggots may not appeal to some, but according to Sardinians, once
the maggots are dead the Casu Marzu has gone bad and is no longer fit to
This cheese is clearly disgusting then, but why is it dangerous? Well,
some maggots are resilient enough to resist stomach acids and take up
residence in the intestines.
They can bore through intestinal walls, creating serious legions as well
as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Not the most
Considered one of the tastiest Chinese delicacies, blood clams can come
with some nasty after-effects due to the method of preparation.
If you order blood clams in Shaghai they will be quick-boiled, which
leaves many viruses and bacteria present, including hepatitis A, E,
dysentery and typhoid.
Such is the risk of contracting one of these diseases that the clams
have been banned in Shanghai since 1988.
However, if you encounter these red clams in a sushi dish, they should
be safe to eat.
Sannakji (wriggling octopus)
Korean delicacy Sannakji is not for the faint hearted, but if you're
looking for a meal that will actively attack you as you eat then this is
the dish for you.
Minimal preparation is required as raw baby octopus is simply
dismembered, smothered in sesame oil and served.
The problem is that each tentacle of an octopus encompasses its own
brain, and these limbs are likely to keep moving around as you swallow.
As a result, the cephalopod's suction cups could stick to the cheeks and
throat of the diner, making the sannakji less of a meal and more of a
While the French might stick to eating frogs legs, Namibians prefer to
take it a step further and ingest the whole amphibian.
However, this can potentially lead to a nasty case of oshiketakata
disease, which is the result of eating a non-mature bullfrog.
The bullfrog's skin and organs are dangerous and eating them could cause
People who want to catch their own bullfrogs are advised to hold off
until the "third rain of spring," and pin the frog down when it starts
Cassava is something of a staple food in countries including Africa and
South America, but it is anything but bland.
It is commonly used to make flours and breads, as well as American
favourite tapioca pudding.
However, if the shrub is prepared incorrectly it is able to produce
cyanide - a poison that will harm any human that tries to consume it.
This could result in partial paralysis and even death, depending on how
much is ingested.
In addition to this risk, the plant causes allergic reactions in some
people, with experts warning that those with a latex rubber allergy may
be more susceptible.