Humans are strange creatures, to be sure, what with smearing colorful mush on our faces to attract paramours and find nonsense like the Harlem Shake entertaining. However, what makes us so uniquely strange is our ability to utterly ignore our survival instincts. We jump out of planes, we pick fights with large hairy bikers, and most importantly we eat food that we know full well has a chance to kill us.
You cannot mention dangerous eats without Fugu, or the puffer fish. I know, I tried and my fingers just would not allow it to be. The big huff about the puffer fish is that its internal organs has a deadly poison to which there is no antidote for. This is to deter other sea creatures from eating it, however the internal threat did not deter humans.
The puffer fish has to be cut just right so that the fish can be separated from the poisonous bit. However, what few know is that cutting the puffer fish "just right" translates to leaving just a little bit of poison on the fish so that it numbs the tongue but does not kill you. This skill is what makes Fugu chefs so rare and renowned in Japan where Fugu is primarily served.
"Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!" Ah, the classic and most stinging of insults. Of course, elderberries don't smell bad nor are they considered particularly deadly. Ripe elderberries are perfectly fine to eat and make a sweet tasting jam. However unripe elderberries, leaves, stems, and virtually every other part of the elderberry plant contain a cyanide producing compound that will kill you dead.
The elderberry plant, like so many other wild berries, is why you should not go romping around the forest tasting all of natures' fruit. Some of those berries will make you vomit from both ends or provide horribly awesome hallucinations that you probably don't want to have in the middle of the woods, but this plant will kill you.
There are a lot of fun ways to get diseases like hepatitis A, E, typhoid, dysentery, and all those other disease you really don't want to collect on vacation in Shanghai, but blood clams are not one of those ways.
These clams are not in themselves very deadly, though you won't believe it by their appearance. Most people are put off blood clams because they don't like their shellfish to look like and undercooked bit of beef bleeding in a shell. However, they are a common delicacy throughout South East Asia. Most times these blood clams are only deadly because of the way they are prepared. In order to preserve their unique taste and blood color, they are quick boiled by chefs. This method does not fully kill all those viruses mentioned above thus making them a deadly bite.
San Nak Ji
San Nak Ji is a Korean dish, but it is not limited to Korea. It translates to raw baby octopus which can be found pretty much where any good seafood is found. The octopus isn't dangerous because of poison like so many other foods, nor is it dangerous in most cases. What makes San Nak ji so dangerous is that it is serve raw in sesame oil fresh from the ocean. This is more of a dare food than anything as when you are presented San Nak Ji it is still squirming around.
Be careful to chew it carefully though, if you swallow that tentacle while it is still squirming around and fail to dice it up with your teeth it very well may become lodged in your throat. While the octopus is dead, the tentacle is not. Well, not yet anyway. It is still afforded with use of its suction cups, so it very well can suction itself to your throat and choke you. Personally, I hate when my food fights me back. It is just easier, and from what I have heard, tastier to deep fry it.
While the French enjoy their frog legs, they know better to avoid the rest of the frog. However, in Namibia they throw caution to the wind and enjoy eating the whole frog. However, they know to only harvest and enjoy these animals after the "third rain" when bullfrogs increase croaking and start breeding.
The large African bullfrog has a poison on their skin known as Oshiketakata which can lead to kidney failure if ingested. The people of Namibia who enjoy this delicacy swear that by cooking them in a wood lined pot absorbs all the poison. Still, you never know, what if the wood in the pot was not as porous and absorbent as it should have been?
The Ackee Fruit from Jamaica is delicious and filled with great protein and vitamins, however like with elderberries, never eat unripe fruit. The toxins in the unripe Ackee fruit prevent glucose from releasing from your liver. Since you blood uses up all the glucose you get from food rather quickly, without the backups you have stored, your blood pressure plummets quickly. This leads to what Jamaicans call, "Jamaican Vomiting Sickness", which is really just low blood pressure and eventually death.
These fruits are okay to take outside of Jamaica preserved and canned, however, taking this raw fruit out of Jamaica is illegal.
Yeah, I'm going to be edgy here. Fast food is a killer. Not only to people, but culture. How many cultural food stands have been put out of business in countries because people can get a burger faster and cheaper? Nothing sings to the horrors of globalizations like going to Burma and seeing a McDonalds or visiting Somalia and seeing a Wendy's pilfered by pirates. Okay, maybe seeing a Wendy's under siege by pirates would be pretty cool, but I am digressing.
Every time you look anything from a fast food restaurant in the eye (wherever that eye may be in the processed meat product), you are looking at your death. Sure, it's not full of fast acting poison. It's a slow death filled with possibly obesity. Look into that Baconator or Big Mac, will that drip of fat be the one that clogs your heart? Will that savory lick of salt from those fries raise your blood pressure just so, enough to give you a stroke?
Maybe, my friends, maaaay be.