I like to consider myself an adventurous eater. I am always open to trying new or exotic foods that people normally would not want anywhere near their plate. Just like my wish to travel abroad to try different types of street food, I would love to travel outside of the country to find the most exotic and off-the-wall foods possible. One of the biggest precautions to take, however, is making sure that any and all food being consumed is prepared and cooked properly. If not, the result could be sever illness or even death! With that being said, I now present to you a list of some of the most exotic foods that you could eat that can be detrimental to your health if not prepared correctly as previously stated.
Pufferfish, or fugu as it is called in Japan, is one of the many exotic foods from around the world that sits close to the top of everyone’s list. The meat of a pufferfish is extremely light and is considered a delicacy. However, one bust me certified and licensed to prepare/cook using pufferfish because it is highly toxic if it is not thoroughly cooked. The toxin in the meat of the pufferfish is considerably more deadly than cyanide, and it continues to be the cause for roughly fifty people a year being hospitalized. There is currently no known antidote to the toxin in pufferfish, which further enforces the fact that pufferfish is one of the most dangerous exotic foods today.
The Scorpionfish is similar to the pufferfish in the sense that consuming the meat of this fish can cause some serious side effects if not prepared correctly. Scorpionfish are not normally as common as other commercial fish species, so it truly is a treat whenever they can be caught! While not as toxic as the pufferfish, the sting that you could receive from one of the spinal barbs while cleaning the fish can result in some nasty swelling and in some severe cases, partial paralysis!
Blood clams are not all that different from other clams in the way that they are cooked or made ready to eat, but the hazards that come from not cooking or eating them properly are not to be taken lightly. Typhoid and dysentery have been known to be found in blood clams, as well as hepatitis A and E. People are continuously infected by blood clams every year, making them an exotic food to definitely watch out for.
This is something I am confident in saying I would never try. All of the items on this list are items I truly would like to try with the exception of this one. I added Casu Marzu to the list because this seems like an exotic food that only the bravest of the brave would tackle. Casu Marzu is a type of cheese that is left out uncovered, allowing it to rot very quickly. Because of the rotting of the cheese, flies are then able to land and lay their eggs inside the cheese.
These eggs then hatch, which release maggots inside the cheese that cause the cheese to ferment. This cheese is typically eaten while the maggots are still inside the cheese. One of the dangers of eating Casu Marzu is that sometimes, the maggots can leap out of the cheese and onto the person eating. There is also the risk of ingesting some of these live maggots, which can latch on and bore through intestinal walls. Like I said, I would not be one to try this cheese, but it is eaten at the dinner table in some countries and it is definitely one of the more exotic/extreme choices out there!
Not to be confused with the delicious sweet bread, actual monkey brains are another food for the most extreme of eaters. I would try monkey brains if they were cooked well enough, but I would probably just have them one time and in a smaller portion. Like the rest of the foods on this list, proper cooking techniques and moderate portions are crucial to be as safe as possible when eating these. Monkey brains are available to the market primarily in Asia, and then can be eaten either raw, baked, or cooked as you would with regular meat. The biggest health risk with eating monkey brains is that they can turn your brain into mush and cause Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and in the most severe cases eating monkey brains can cause death.
These foods are just a few entries of a long list of exotic and equally dangerous foods from around the world. I would love to travel to some of these locations and try the cuisine someday! I look forward to hearing about any foods that did not make it in the list!