Credit: Dinner Series

More Worst Foods Ever

Caution: Some disturbing images below.

If you’ve read my other article about the top worst foods, you know that I have some pretty strong biases against literally rotten and/or potentially poisonous foods.  Some delicacies legitimately take a little getting used to and are an ‘acquired’ taste which is worth taking the time and effort to require.  Others are little more than cruel pranks played on your mouth and sanity.  The excuse of “we don’t have anything else to eat” only goes so far when there’s a grocery just down the street.

10. Huitlacoche - Corn Smut

Corn smutCredit: Jamain

Starting off relatively tame, this is a fungus which grows on corn.  A delicacy in Mexico, this is used as a filling, a topping, or as an ingredient in a wide range of foods.  Just to clarify here: they aren’t eating the corn, they’re eating the fungus.  Although I suppose this isn’t any weirder than eating mushrooms, it does mean that perfectly good corn is being purposely laced with spores of the fungus in an attempt to make more Huitlacoche.

9.  Century Eggs

Century EggCredit: Kowloonese

First discovered in an era where there was no refrigeration, new ways of preserving food for long periods of time was a survival necessity.  As such, it is completely understandable that people would enjoy any process which allows eggs to remain edible for months.  After the preserving process, the yolk is green, the “white” of the egg becomes a brown jelly, and the whole thing smells like sulphur and ammonia.

The only problem?  We still eat these.  The method of preservation has been modernized, but the result is still the same.

8.  Raw Octopus Tentacles

OctopusCredit: Rusif Huseynov

Have you ever yearned for the taste of incredibly fresh sushi, still wriggling when you put it in your mouth?  Well, you’re in luck.  And I’ll be over here gagging.  By a curious feature of biology, freshly killed octopus tentacles can still move independently to grab, crawl, and desperately try to get away when being chewed. 

The science behind this is only makes it marginally less creepy.  The octopus is served with soy sauce, which has a high concentration of salt.  The muscles in the octopus tentacles interpret the salt as a command from the brain to move, in the same way that hooking electricity up to a muscle will make it contract. 

And if eating moving tentacles isn’t awful enough to deter you, you should know that this could be a choking hazard.

7.  Shark Fin Soup

Shark Fin SoupCredit: Reengchristine

Shark Fin Soup, in addition to being absurdly expensive and containing practically no shark fin, is added on this list because of the humanitarian considerations involved.  Because of the huge demand for shark fin soup, the fins are harvested by netting sharks, chopping their fins off, and throwing the live (for now) sharks back in the water.  They don’t last much longer.  They kinda need their fins.

6.  Tiger Penis

TigerCredit: Eric Kilby

Setting aside the fact that tigers are an endangered species… actually, no, let’s not set that aside.  Tigers are an endangered species.  Knowing that, however, it could still be possible to obtain perfectly legal tiger penis.  There are more tigers in captivity than in the wild, and when one of them dies, the body parts can be legally sold.  That’s creepy enough, but the simple fact that there’s a demand for this product means that poachers are constantly hunting and killing a majestic, endangered animal so its penis can be made into soup.

5.  Snake Bile Wine

Snake wineCredit: Jacek Karczmarczyk

This isn’t called Snake Bile Wine out of some cheerful colloquialism, and it actually turns out to be chicken soup or something.  The gall bladder of a snake is cut out and preserved in wine, which is then “enjoyed” for medicinal benefits such as calming the mind and increasing virility. 

Because I am never content to let an awful product speak for itself, it is also worth noting that the alcohol content of the wine isn’t high enough to properly disinfect the snake bile, and this product has a high risk of getting you sick if you drink it.  You are only going to be marginally less sick just hearing about it.

4.  Shiokara

ShiokaraCredit: Okona

We got this far without the use of the word “viscera.”  I am ruining that for all of us.  Shiokara is a Japanese dish made from a variety of different seafood, but the defining characteristic is that the raw meat is served in a brown paste made by taking raw viscera, adding salt and rice, and allowing it to ferment.

My only hope at this point is to continue on without even one more mention of viscera.... damn.

3.  Shirako

ShirakoCredit: Marc Phu

Time for a biology lesson: Fish reproduce when a female lays eggs, and the male fertilizes them by creating a cloud of sperm around the eggs.  Because they’re in water, a lot of sperm need to be released to make sure that the eggs are fertilized.  (Just think about that next time you go swimming.)  As such, the male fish has a sack to contain the sperm.  Shiokara is that very sperm sack served either raw or cooked, for your pleasure. 

A very good argument could be made that this is no worse than caviar, an expensive delicacy despite being the unfertilized eggs of a fish.  And I would agree.  It is no worse than that.

2.  Casu marzu

Casu MarzuCredit: Shardan

This is a kind of cheese, and before I get further into it, I would like to add that cheese itself is a pretty weird thing to eat.  We take the milk of an animal and add bacteria to make the milk go bad, and then we age it and eat it on crackers.

But Casu Marzu is a little bit different.  This is a cheese made from sheep milk (so far so good), fermented with bacteria to become a hard cheese called pecorino (still quite good), and then the larvae of maggot worms are added and they eat the cheese, reproducing inside it until thousands of them have riddled their way through the entire thing.  (What? Noooooooo!)

Did you want to sleep tonight?  Well TOO BAD!  When you buy this cheese, it is still riddled with those maggot larvae, which can jump up to six inches. 

1.  Live Drunken Shrimp

Drunken ShrimpCredit: James Creegan

Shrimp cocktail is a personal favorite of mine, and I would like to state for the record that I very much enjoy a wide variety of seafood.  But you might notice something of a pattern with me: I like it when my food is dead before it is served.  (and I very much hope it was killed humanely and as quickly as possible)

The process for this dish involves putting live shrimp in alcohol, thus forcing them to drink it because… they’re shrimp.  Then you put them in sauce, and they drink that.  The resulting sauced shrimp are put in a fancy serving dish and brought to you, where you are supposed to first bite off their heads then consume.

When I consider a situation wherein I would be inclined to bite the head off a living thing, my hope is that it is due to a recent zombie apocalypse, and my zombie brethren and I are simply adding new friends to our unholy ranks.