It’s important to have fresh food, but still alive is taking it to an entirely different level. We aren’t talking about being alive moments before it’s served either. We’re meaning the animal is still alive on your plate as it’s placed in front of you. In some parts of the world many take great pride in accomplishing the goal of eating live foods, especially as some are considered a real and rare delicacy. According to “foxnews.com” live-food connoisseurs actually believe the “meat tastes better if the animal is still alive, partly alive, or taking its final breaths before you eat it.”
I don’t know if you would call this a list of “comfort foods,” as some of these bring fright and horror upon looking at them. Many of these dishes are only for the truly brave, some requiring you to grab ahold of your inner cringe reaction and be strong. Either way they are interesting, shocking, disturbing, and alluring at the same time.
Take a look at 12 of the strangest foods eaten alive. Yummy yum!
4- Inch Long Worms- Australian Outback
Found in the Australian Outback, these fat, squirmy caterpillars are sought out by some, not to hold… but to eat. It’s no secret that food is scarce in the desert, so any protein source is well appreciated. For thousands of years, Australian Aborigines have relied on the worms as food. There’s no preparation required either… they just pull them out of the ground and chew them… until they stop moving. These critters are now winding up in fancy restaurants, served with soup or scrambled eggs, and eating them alive is still part of the process.
Sea Urchins- Italy
In Italy it’s apparently popular to go to the sea, collect your own sea urchins, and then eat them, right then and there. These black spiny balls located on the ocean floor are known as the “Ricci di Mare” in Italy. The edible part of a sea urchin, known as the gonads, is on the inside, and a special tool or scissors need to be used to locate it. Forget being all prim and proper when eating them, as most people prefer to lick the orange goo out with their tongues while the sea urchins are still moving.
Sannakji- Korea and Japan
Now we aren’t talking about yummy fried calamari, we are talking about the Japanese and Korean delicacy known as “Odori Don” or “Sannakji”. It’s a live octopus, either cut into pieces or prepared whole, placed on your plate, and served to you as its legs are still thrashing about through the sauce. Each one served seems to use its last bit of energy to escape as you pour sauce over it. The appeal to this dish is the sensation people get when they eat it. Many love the tentacles writhing about inside your mouth and the feeling of the suction cups grabbing hold of you. Just be careful because the tentacles could slide down your throat and choke you.
Blood Clams- New England
Blood clams are clams that produce an excessive amount of hemoglobin. When you crack one of these open, there’s no way to avoid the crazy amount of red fluid splashing out. The way most prepare this delicacy is to boil them for about 20 seconds, so all the blood is super fresh, and eat them raw, which supposedly is essential to the flavor. However, you have to be careful with these slimy sea creatures. According to “cracked.com,” anyone who eats blood clams have a 14 to 16% chance of contracting the disease hepatitis because boiling them for only a few seconds isn’t long enough to kill any germs. Because of this, blood clams are actually illegal in China, but if you muster enough guts to try them, New England sells them raw with a citrus dressing.
Chilled Ants (Noma Salad) – Denmark
A Copenhagen-based restaurant “Noma” finds putting ants in a salad a pretty good idea, and their patrons seem to agree as they will fork out $300 for a plate. According to “foxnews.com” the ants are dished up with crème fraiche, and offered as a crunchy, gluten-free substitute to croutons. Apparently these itty bitty insects taste like ginger, cilantro, and lemongrass, and you don’t have to worry about them escaping your plate either. The reason they are chilled is because it makes them “groggy and move slower.”
Fruit Bats- Guam
Fruit bats are consumed in numerous Asian countries such as Guam, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam to name a few. According to “oddee.com” fruit bats are low in fat, high in protein, and like the saying goes- tastes similar to chicken. However, on the small Island of Guam, locals like to have their fruit bats served alive with a coconut milk soup. The still-living bats are snagged from the wild, rinsed, placed in boiling water, and then served. Lots of skepticism is put on this dish as you’re meant to eat everything except the bones and teeth. Also, there’s an abundant amount of bacteria and parasites that may come along with this dish due to the lack of cooking, as the bats are “in the final thrones of death” when served.
Frog Sashimi- Japan, China and Vietnam
In a few eastern countries, mainly Japan, China and Vietnam, you can eat live frogs served up filleted with their hearts still beating. This delicacy is made with special bullfrogs that are raised for cooking, and are in turn still alive when you order them and disemboweled while alive. Certain parts are boiled in a broth, however most is served on the frog once it’s skinned. And if your squeamish don’t even think about ordering this one as it’s all done right in front of you. Talk about some fresh frog legs!
Jumping “Drunken” Shrimp- Japan and China
Assuming it’s quite scary for animals to worry about getting eaten alive, Japan and China make it a little easier for shrimp to deal with the thought. How so? According to “cracked.com” they make shrimp more “pliable to the idea of being eaten alive by getting them drunk first.” After being soaked in either sake or a Chinese spirit called “Baijiu,” the drunk, live fish jump and twitch all over your plate. Another plus of the alcohol is that it makes the shrimp super thirsty, which causes them to slurp up the marinade they are soaked in. In order to eat the shrimp you must strip off its shell and bite off its still twitching body. Just be careful because all of the powerful booze the shrimp enjoys is transferred straight to you.
Baby Eels- Japan
Just like drunken shrimp, many in Japan eat live baby eels. According to “oddee.com” celebrity Chef Raymond Blanc advises to add vinegar and sake, as it makes them jump around. Then you are supposed to swallow them whole. The dish known as “Tofu Hell”, “Loach Hell” or “Baby Eel Tofu” is a legendary Japanese delicacy consisting of baby Dojo loaches (small eel-like fish). It starts out with some boiling water and then a block of tofu is put on the bottom. Immediately following, the baby eels are added, alive that is, and swim straight into the tofu as a way of escaping the boiling water. The final product apparently looks like Swiss cheese, but the holes weren’t created from fermentation, but from the eels.
Ikizukuri- Japan, China and Korea
Ikizukuri, which means “prepared alive” is a type of sashimi served immediately after selecting your fish from a tank. Once the fish is selected the chef will gut it, but leave the whole thing largely intact. The process is done in such a way that the person eating it can see the fish’s still beating heart and mouth moving while they eat it. Ikizukuri is outlawed in Australia and Germany as the practice is quite controversial.
Casu Marzu- Italy
Known as one of the most romantic countries in the world, Italy also takes the cake for one of the most disgusting foods eaten alive. “Casu Marzu,” which translates to “rotten cheese”, is a traditional sheep milk cheese from Sardinia, Italy. Larvae are then introduced to the cheese to promote fermentation, which makes the cheese extra soft, with a little added liquid seeping out. While many remove the maggots before eating, there are still those that consume the cheese- maggots and all. According to “listverse.com” people are “advised to cover their eyes, as the maggots can leap out in an attempt to escape.”
The Severed Human Toe Cocktail- Canada
Topping the list is one that you can’t help but squint your face up when you read the name. The Severed Human Toe Cocktail (AKA The Sourtoe Cocktail), is a versatile drink, in that the liquid aspect can be whatever you desire. However, it probably doesn’t matter much what you put in with the toe because let’s face it… it has a disembodied human toe floating around in it. This scarily disgusting drink is served at a Canadian bar, and fortunately many precautionary measures are taken before the cocktail is served. For example, the toes are drained of all bodily fluids and then pickled, which causes the gangrenous look. According to “cracked.com” there’s a rule that goes along with the drink- “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”