One of the great joys of life has to be exploring other cultures and getting to know their culinary treats. But sometimes, you come across things so gross you just want to crawl up in a ball and weep. Around the world, people drink lizard wine, eat duck embryos, and tons of other weird items. Here are 10 of the strangest and most revolting food items around that most Haitians would never eat:
7. Spam (straight out of the can)
What Exactly Is Spam?
Apparently it’s not a mystery meat at all. In fact, the product’s list of ingredients is shorter and less mysterious than most hot dogs. According to Spam’s website, the canned meat contains only 6 ingredients: already-cooked pork (two different cuts: pork shoulder and ham), salt, water, potato starch (to keep the meat moist), sugar and sodium nitrite (a common preservative).
It Can’t Be Good For You … Can It?
Not really — it does have a lot of sodium and the effects of sodium nitrite, which preserves meat and prevents bacterial growth, aren’t fully understood. That being said, when was the last time you indulged in a hot dog or some pepperoni — both of which are high in sodium and sodium nitrites? Moreover, most hot dogs have about ten more ingredients (including far more chemicals) than Spam’s simple 6.
6. TV Dinners
What Exactly Is TV Dinners? The first TV dinners produced by Swanson were in answer to a problem they had with Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. Not just a few Tupperware containers, either — we’re talking about 260 tons (235 metric tons) of turkey leftovers. So they appealed to their workers to come up with ideas. Gerry Thomas had just seen the airplane-friendly compartmentalized aluminum trays used by Pan American Airways and introduced the idea to the Swanson brothers back home in Nebraska. They packaged turkey, corn bread stuffing, peas and sweet potatoes and hung their advertising campaign on the newest craze to hit the nation: TV. That year, Swanson sold more than 25 million TV dinners to hungry Americans, at 98 cents per package. TV dinners were a hit.
5. Dominican Salami (At least the Haitians in the US)
Flash: Dominican are selling salami with fecal matter to Haiti- 25 July 2012-Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, According to elnuevodiario-com-do on 25 july 2012 article by Lazaro Medina and Raquel Liranzo, The Institute for the Protection of Consumer Rights, Consumer Pro by laboratory analyzes performed on two samples of different types of salami manufactured in the country, found that 97% of the samples taken, the protein content was about below the limit set which is a minimum of 16%, so that consumers are buying a product which does not provide the protein level is presumed.
At a press conference at the headquarters of Pro Consumer, Executive Director, Graduate Altagracia Paulino revealed, along with technicians Rita Gonzalez and Jose del Carmen Valenzuela, that 15% of the salami samples presented fecal coliforms, with which fails to comply with the provisions of Dominican salami rule which states that this organism must be absent in this product and any food, as it represents a serious risk to consumer health.
4. PupperFish (Haitians don’t know how to cook it and it can kill you)
Puffer fish, or fugu, is well-known for being a dish that stands a good chance of killing the person it’s served to. But people still eat it — partly because some people like living life on the edge, but mostly because all people like getting high. Find out how the puffer fish helps them get there.
The puffer fish, any one of the family of tetraodontidae, protects itself in the wild by gulping down water and swelling up its belly to make itself look bigger. It does this because, apparently, it can’t find a way to communicate the simple message, “I am poisonous.” These fish are considered the second most poisonous vertebrates in the world. They contain a toxin 1,200 more deadly than cyanide. It’s in their skin, their ovaries, their gonads, and their liver. One fish can kill thirty people.
So of course it seems like a spin worthy of Barnum to label them a ‘delicacy,’ and charge hundreds of dollars a serving for them. A closer examination of the work that goes into making puffer fish, or fugu, shows that the price is fair. Fugu chefs have to be trained for two years, during which they will eat many of the fish that they themselves prepare. And make no mistake, people do die from fugu poisoning. About five people a year make puffer fish their last meal, and many more get violently sick from it. It’s not a pleasant way to go.
3. Deep Fried Spider
Fried spider is a regional delicacy in Cambodia. In the Cambodian town of Skuon (Cheung Prey, Kampong Cham Province), the vending of fried spiders as a specialty snack is a popular attraction for tourists passing through this town. Spiders are also available elsewhere in Cambodia — in Phnom Penh for instance — but Skuon, a market town on the highway 75 kilometres (47 mi) from the capital, is the centre of their popularity The spiders are bred in holes in the ground in villages north of Skuon, or foraged for in nearby forestland, and fried in oil. It is not clear how this practice started, but some have suggested that the population might have started eating spiders out of desperation during the years of Khmer Rouge rule, when food was in short supply.
The taste has been described as bland, “rather like a cross between chicken and cod” with a contrast in texture from a crispy exterior to a soft centre. The legs contain little flesh, while the head and body have “a delicate white meat inside”. There are certainly those who might not enjoy the abdomen, however, as it contains a brown paste consisting of organs, possibly eggs, and excrement. Some call it a delicacy while others recommend not eating it.
2. Roach Soup
Freshwater eels (unagi) and marine eels (conger eel, anago) are commonly used in Japanese cuisine; foods such as unadon and unajū are popular, but expensive. Eels are also very popular in Chinese cuisine, and are prepared in many different ways. Hong Kong eel prices have often reached 1000 HKD (128.86 US Dollars) per kg, and once exceeded 5000 HKD per kg. The European eel and other freshwater eels are eaten in Europe, the United States, and other places. A traditional east London food is jellied eels, although the demand has significantly declined since World War II. The Basque delicacy angulas consists of elver (young eels) sautéed in olive oil with garlic; elvers usually reach prices of up to 1000 euro per kg. New Zealand longfin eel is a traditional Māori food in New Zealand. In Italian cuisine, eels from the Valli di Comacchio, a swampy zone along the Adriatic coast, are especially prized, along with freshwater eels of Bolsena Lake and pond eels from Cabras, Sardinia. In northern Germany, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden, smoked eel is considered a delicacy.