Heard of Delhi Belly? The traveler’s diarrhea is typically associated with the Indian capital, New Delhi. It is believed that travelers, especially the Western enthusiasts, must be extra cautious while traveling to the South-Asian country. The food quality, especially the ones served by roadside vendors, can be really tricky. There are food items that do not pass the hygiene test. There are some other dishes that you can only survive with a really strong digestive system. These popular food items can take a toll on your health. However, our focus on this article is much more than that. We are talking about dangerous things that Indians eat on a regular basis. But, at the same time, we are also discussing some of the pretty unusual things Indians eat as a delicacy. For a common foodie, it may be weird to even think of such things as “eat-worthy.” It has nothing to do with being a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian. Even those who love non-veggies may not try some of the things. These include cooked versions of animal organs that are generally disposed in the kitchen. Sometimes, these are eaten in their rotten form and sometimes raw. Some of these are termed dangerous because these can cause severe damage to your health. Some other items on the list are just plain weird. Simply because these are pretty unusual for eating, these may affect your health, in case you ever try it. India is a country with a diverse culture. That’s why some of these things are exclusively available in only select parts of the country.
Love comes in many forms. For some, it comes in the form of Kachori. Unlike many other Indian dishes, this one is popular in almost every part of the country. Kachori is deep-fried stuffed wheat balls. There are various kinds of Kachoris available throughout India. The variation takes place mainly because of the difference in stuffing. It is made with moong beans, horse beans, or gram flour, with added spices. Some believe this originated in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, while some believe it started in Rajasthan. Kachori is famous in both states, but the popularity does not end there. Different states have different variations. In the southern part of the country, it is typically served with coconut chutney. This deep-fried snack is typically consumed at the breakfast. If you happen to eat this for breakfast, this dangerous food can spoil an entire day of your travel. Stay off of it.
14. Medu Vada
Not to be confused with Vada Pav, Medu Vada is much more popular in the southern part of India. Vada Pav is arguably the most popular fast food in Mumbai, and it is made of potato. While there are health hazards if you consume Vada Pav, we have not included it in the list of dangerous food yet. Instead, we are discussing about Medu Vada. These deep-fried things look like donuts. There is a popular notion that this is healthy because it contains lentils, a rich source of protein. However, here comes the bad news for those who love this dish. Black gram lentils, which Medu Vada is made of, are not easy to digest, especially if you have it in your breakfast. Every Medu Vada plate has around 334 calories. Plus, there is sambhar (lentil curry with vegetables) and chutney. If you are buying it from a street vendor, you never know what kind of oil it has been fried in.
13. Pani Puri
This little wonder has many names around India, and the taste differs from region to region. Also known as Phuchka and Gol Gappa, Pani Puri is one of the most popular fast foods in the country. The hollow wheat balls are deep-fried and served cold with various kinds of stuffing. Finally, it is dipped in flavored water. The water can be sweet or sour. It is sometimes flavored with tamarind and sometimes with mint. You are expected to eat this in a single bite, as various flavors melt in your mouth altogether. An innocent dish as it may sound, this is also considered one of the most unhygienic things to eat. Forget about the calorie and the saturated fat involved in the cooking and eating process, our concern is even deeper. Pani Puri is not exactly a restaurant dish. It is mostly sold by street vendors, and people have never seen them washing their hands. They do all sorts of unhygienic things and serve Pani Puri with bare hands.
12. Silkworm Pupae
Another delicacy from the Indian state of Assam, Eri Polu is quite popular. In this dish, silkworm pupae are used after the silk is removed from the cocoon. According to those who take pleasure in enjoying this dish, Eri Polu is an extremely delicious dish. It is so fine that it melts inside your mouth. But, wait. We are not here to talk about the tastiest things eaten in India. We are here to talk about health, hygiene, and lack of thereof. We also take it into consideration that not everybody among us has a superhuman digestive system to back our sense of adventure when it comes to food. Eri Polu, no matter how popular it is in Assam, is not consumed much in other parts of India, and that may be avoided for a reason. It is not the easiest food to digest. Have some usual food and stay away from this.
11. Rotten Potato
We totally accept the urge to try new cuisines around the world. We even appreciate the diversity involved in the preparation of food around the world. We also know that ingredients differ from one place to another. But, that does not mean we endorse eating anything rotten, no matter how tasty it may seem to some people. Many vegetarians believe that the most dangerous foods around the world are non-vegetarian. No matter how surprised you may be, here is one vegetarian dish in the list. This dish called Phan Pyut is quite popular in the North-Eastern part of India. They apparently keep potatoes until rotten. They also claim that rotten potatoes taste much better than the regular ones. But, we are not going to buy that idea. Anything that is termed “rotten” is called such for a reason. Let’s keep it that way and avoid this Indian dish that’s definitely dangerous for your digestive system.
10. Goat’s Blood
This may sound scary to some—having goat’s blood in a bowl for breakfast. Let’s make it a bit less dramatic. We are not exactly talking about having raw blood. We are actually talking about a specific dish made of goat’s blood. The unique Indian dish is found in the Garhwal region of the state of Uttarakhand. It is called Bhunni, which is prepared not only with goat’s blood, but with its stomach, liver, and intestines. This comes in the form of a curry. What is tempting is that the dish is known to be quite rich in taste. Even though there is not enough data to support that having goat’s blood is harmful to your health, there are enough reasons to be careful about it. The goats used for the preparation of such dishes hardly go through a medical testing process. So, you never know what to expect from it.
When it comes to fried snacks in India, Samosa probably tops the list of favorites for most people. These are basically triangular-shaped stuffed snacks that are deep-fried. One of the tastiest things to eat in India, Samosa can have serious health hazards. It is said that they never change the oil that is used for frying Samosas. According to one recent research, Samosas are so enriched in fat that they might cause serious health problems. UK health experts have already issued warnings against the Indian snack. Those who suffer from issues with blood pressure, diabetes, and weight gain are strictly asked to avoid Samosas because these delicacies are packed with cholesterol and bad fat. It is possible to have homemade Samosas, which could be much healthier than those found at fast food centers. However, it is nearly impossible to have the same good taste. Some say it is the lack of hygiene that makes it even tastier. We’d rather advise against having this dangerous food.
This deep-fried Indian sweet dish is a work of art. To start with, it has an interesting design. It is unthinkable for many to have a social gathering and not have Jalebis in the menu. The Jalebi is often distributed among family and friends during big Indian festivals like Diwali and Eid. It has every ingredient that dietitians ask us to avoid—refined flour and refined sugar. Each Jalebi has 150 calories or more. Many might think that that’s not too high. Beware! That’s the trick. Nobody, remember, nobody eats just one Jalebi. It is so irresistible that it is only consumed in plural numbers. Experts also consider this as one of the most fattening foods in the world. If you thought the powdered sugar on your donuts is too much to handle, take this. Jalebis are soaked in sugar syrup after having been deep-fried.
7. Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo shoots are used in India for making various kinds of dishes. One of the most popular ones is called Khorisa Maas. In this dish from the Indian state of Assam, fish is cooked with bamboo shoots. There is a popular notion that bamboo shoots have a lot of health benefits. While that’s correct, there are reasons why we are concerned. We consider this dangerous because some bamboo species may be poisonous. It contains a chemical called taxiphyllin, which makes cyanide. This is nature’s way of keeping insects away. Nevertheless, when humans eat it, it is dangerous. Let’s admit that commercial bamboo shoots do not have much taxiphyllin in them, as the cyanide levels are regularly tested. However, when you have it at a local restaurant in India, there is no certainty that the bamboo shoots used in the dish have been chemically tested. The chemicals go away if it is boiled for two hours. But then again, you can’t be sure of how long (or how short) it has been boiled.
6. Fermented Pork Fat
You may include a number of fermented things in the list of food items you eat. But, fermented pork fat may not be one of those. This delicacy is particularly enjoyed in the Indian state of Mizoram. Pork fat is fermented in a specific pot which is called Sa-um Bur. Even though Sa-um Bur typically means a container used for fermenting meat, people in Mizoram ferment chutney and pickles in this traditional pot. This pot gives the authentic taste to the fermented pork fat that does not come out if fermented otherwise. Every kitchen in Mizoram apparently has this pot for fermentation, which only means that it is a common practice for them to eat fermented meat. For this specific dish, pork fat is cut into small pieces. After boiling it for around a couple of hours, the fat is kept in the closed pot in the sun for around five days. Even though pork fat, aka lard, does not have any trans-fat, it should be noted that the animals used here are not from farms. The medical condition of the animal is mostly unknown.
5. Cannabis Fries
If you happen to visit India during Holi, the festival of colors, you may easily come across this snack. Bhang Pakora, which is basically cannabis fries, is a popular Indian way of getting high. While the world is divided about the effects of cannabis, there are enough reasons not to consume this food. According to research, the consumption of cannabis may have an immediate effect on your body. You may suffer from disorientation, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, and panic attacks. You may also experience a lack of physical coordination. This is basically a deep-fried snack made of cannabis and gram flour, among other spices. If you really get high after eating this, it may be quite difficult for you to get sober. At times, the effect may be there for a few days. People who have cannabis fries have no control over their laughter or tears. If they start laughing or crying, it is impossible to stop them from doing so. Avoid this dangerous food, or make a fool of yourself.
4. Red Ants’ Chutney
Gordon Ramsay loves it. But, this authentic Indian dish is not for the fainthearted. This is a special dish from the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. You may have heard of chutney made of tomato, coconut, mango, or even mint. However, this red ants’ chutney is from an entirely different world. If you wonder how spicy this authentic Indian chutney is, imagine getting stung by poisonous red ants on your tongue. During his visit to India, Ramsay loved this dish. The renowned British chef even considers this as one of his favorite Indian dishes. Made of red ants and their eggs, this chutney is not everyone’s cup of tea. This is dangerous because not everyone can handle a dish this spicy. The preparation of the chutney needs people to go to the forest, climb trees, and find ant nests. The ants and its eggs are crushed and then dried. Other ingredients like ginger, coriander, and green chili are added afterwards.
3. Snail Stew
When you think of having a bowl of hot soup, you may consider having some chicken pieces in it. Chicken stew is quite popular, so is lamb stew. Some people, who do not prefer chicken or meat, even go for vegetable stew. But, have you ever thought of having snails in your stew? When you are in the Indian state of Nagaland, expect this kind of dish. Indians are not the only ones to eat snails. There are other cultures around the world that have snails on their table. Some of these snails are even raised on farms. In south-eastern Spain, they cook a rice dish with rabbit meat and snails. But, when you are in Nagaland, expect snail stew being sold by street vendors. It is better for you to keep your adventurous self in control. You should resist the temptation to eat this, as you don’t know how your body will react to it.
2. Pig’s Brain
Indian cuisine includes the brain of two animals—lamb or goat and pig. While a goat’s brain is found in many places, it is not common in India to find a pig’s brain in the menu. If you want to try a pig’s brain, you have to go to the Indian state of Meghalaya, where Doh Khleh is quite popular. Meghalaya, one of the northeastern states in India, is known for its tribes that love rice and pork. Doh Khleh is basically a salad made of onion and pork. However, it is garnished with steamed brain of the animal. A number of researches suggest that the human body does not react well to pork brain tissues. It may cause heavy legs, fatigue, and weakness. Even though there is not enough evidence to come to a conclusion, you better avoid such dangerous delicacies, unless you have a digestive system that can consume almost anything.
1. Dog Meat
In America, it is nearly unthinkable to have dog meat as food. However, it is popular in many other countries in the world. While we cannot exactly call it a popular food in India, there are certain parts of the country where it is relished quite a bit. It is especially popular in Nagaland. It is called Ohi in local language. However, there are enough reasons to stay out of dog meat completely. There is a risk of getting rabies via dog meat. Vaccinating stray dogs in India is not at all a common thing. And, the dog meat that is offered here does not really come from the farm. Rabies is not the only disease that you can get from dog meat, but also bacterial infections like leptospirosis, hepatitis, anthrax, and brucellosis. In addition, you may also suffer from antibiotic resistance. This makes dog meat one of the most dangerous things to eat.