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The 5 Most Horrifying Foods In The World

By Edited May 3, 2016 3 5

The world is filled with a wide array of different foods, and every culture has its own style of cooking. But along with this diversity also comes a number of dishes so horrifying that you can't help but wonder what went wrong with the world.

Following is a list of the five most horrifying foods available in the world today.



Quick! Think of the most delicious way to prepare and cook a fish!

Was your answer to catch a shark, cut off its head, bury it in the ground for a few months, dig it back up, cut it to pieces and hang it up to dry? No? Then you're probably not going to like the Icelandic dish called Hákarl.

What is it?

Hákarl is a traditional Icelandic food made from a Greenland- or Basking shark, and is prepared through one of the weirdest processes known to man. First, the freshly caught shark is beheaded and gutted, which seems like a reasonable enough thing to do. But then the process gets weird, as the shark carcass is put in a hole and buried with sand and gravel for a few months to a year, presumably to put any shark ghosts that might inhabit the shark's body to rest.

After this process, the carcass is dug up, cut into strips and hung to dry for another few months, before it is cut to smaller pieces and sold in stores all across Iceland. This food has been described as the worst tasting food in the entire world.

Bird´s Nest Soup

Bird's nest soup(101326)

What's so terrifying about a soup made from birds' nests, you ask? Granted, it seems like something a bit weird to eat, but surely a simple bird's nest couldn't be worse than a shark buried in a hole, right? Right? Wrong.

What is it?

Bird's nest soup consists, as the name would suggest, of the nests made by some species of birds. However, it's what the nests themselves consist of that makes it so terrifying. (Hint: it's bird spit). Some species of swifts create their nests by spitting out a chemical compound made by a special gland, which hardens in contact with air.

This hardened bird spit is then harvested and sold as one of the most expensive edible animal products in the world.



Are you one of those people who think it's unethical to eat cute animals such as ducks? No? Well what about baby ducks? Still not evil enough for you? Then what about unborn baby ducks, with feathers and beak and everything, to be eaten whole? If that still sounds appealing, I suggest you try the Philippine dish called Balut. You know, right after you check yourself in at the mental health institution.

What is it?

Balut is considered a delicacy in some parts of Asia. It consists of a duck egg where the embryo has been fertilized and left to develop until it's almost ready to hatch - at which point the egg is boiled and served as it is. At this point, however, the duck is practically fully developed, with feathers and beak and those tiny little duck feet, just waiting to burst out of the egg and see the world.

 Why anyone would ever want to consume something like that is beyond my understanding. Maybe some people just want to prove they're as tough as Rocky, but don't like the taste of raw eggs. Or the more plausible reason; they're actually demons in human disguises who require their daily dose of baby duck fetuses.



The traditional Swedish dish Surströmming is a fairly popular way of enjoying fermented fish in the Nordic countries. (And for all those out there who don't know what 'fermented' means, it's basically just another word for 'rotten').

What is it?

Surströmming consists of Baltic herring, which is put through a fermentation process and sold in cans. Although this might not seems like such a terrifying food, it is the smell that puts it on this list.

Due to its overwhelming odor, Surströmming is almost exclusives eaten outdoors, as it becomes increasingly intolerable to remain in a room with an open can of surströmming. A Japanese study has even shown that the smell of a newly opened can of Surströmming is the most putrid smell of food in the world.

Casu Marzu

Casu Marzu

Arguably the most disturbing food invented by anyone, ever, Casu marzu stands as undisputed number one on this list.

What is it?

With its name directly translating as "rotten cheese", Casu marzu is a traditional Sardinian cheese made from sheep milk. What's so special about it, however, is the fact that this cheese contains live insect larvae.

During the fermentation process (yes, of course this too is fermented, what did you expect at this point?), the cheese is deliberately exposed to the cheese fly, which lays its eggs in the cheese. By the time it's ready for consumption, the cheese will typically contain thousands of fly larvae.  And we're not talking about invisible microscopic larvae either - the little maggots crawling around in the cheese grow to nearly one centimeter in length.

And the cheese is typically eaten fresh - with the larvae still alive, squirming and jumping around as you eat it.

Bon appetit.



Jun 8, 2012 10:55pm
I'm familiar with the first three "food" though I would never eat them, but the last two are new to me and truly revolting.
Jun 9, 2012 3:54am
I've heard of most of these, but never seen them in person. I think the Balut was once popular on Fear Factor. Now please excuse me... I'm about to lose my lunch
Jun 9, 2012 6:44am
Thanks for the help with my diet, I was really hungry until I read this article!
Jun 9, 2012 8:04am
This was excruciating. I've heard of these but would never stuff any of them in my food-hole.

Thanks for a great article (lutefisk should probably get an honorable mention). A thumb: and make sure you submit this as a feature for July -- this is front-page material.
Jun 30, 2012 2:10pm
Excuse me.....
Oh my, I thought that my habits were bad, but some of this stuff sounds absolutely vulgar!
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