Casu Marzu (Italy)
Humans are known for their bizarre eating habits, as they are able to eat anything that is there in the food chain. Every day we explore new food sources and love to try anything. But the question is: how could someone dine on a table with an animal struggling for its life?
Image: Swiss James
1) Casu Marzu (Italy)
One form of sheep’s milk cheese is full of crawling white worms. It is over-fermented – in a stage of decomposition – and is known as Casu Marzu. It is a traditional dish from Sardinia, Italy that is believed to increase sexual desire.
Casu Marzu is made when the cheese fly lays eggs (about 500 eggs at one time). When the eggs hatch, the maggots (larva of the fly) begin to eat through the cheese. The soft texture of the cheese is a result of the acid from these thousands of maggots’ digestive systems breaking down the cheese’s fats. But see for yourself.
The most important aspect of eating Casu Marzu is that it should be eaten when these wriggling maggots are alive, or else it is full of dead maggots and is considered to be unsafe. It is also advised to wear eye protection while eating as these maggots can jump as high as half a foot, straight into the eye. Also, not only could this food cause allergic reactions and intestinal larval infection, but it may also lead to vomiting, nausea and deadly diarrhea. Still, people risk their lives to eat it.
Image: Deadkid dk
2) Drunken Shrimp (China)
Listed as one of the top ten cruelest dishes in mainland China, “drunken shrimp” is still very popular. Known as a bachelor’s dream recipe, drunken shrimp is different type of fast food that can be prepared in just 30 seconds.
Here’s how to prepare Drunken Shrimp.
Most often, the shrimps are eaten alive but sometimes they are first made to get drunk and then cooked in boiling water. Another recipe idea suggests that the shrimps should be marinated in Chinese white wine, known as Baijiu, after being boiled. Either way, eating such uncooked or semi-cooked shellfish could cause the serious food-borne parasitic infection Paragonimiasis. Still, it is considered as an incredibly tasty dish.
Image: LWY (at flickr)
3) Ikizukuri (Japan)
In Japan, order any living sea animal of your choice from the menu or just point in front of a tank full of fish, shrimp, squid, lobster, octopus or oyster. It will be served on your table within minutes, carved but still alive and with vital organs left intact. Ikizukuri means ‘prepared alive’ in Japanese and therefore freshness is the key for this Japanese food art – Shashimi – where live food is served in traditional decorative fashion.
Certainly, it’s a cruel practice and it needs a high level of skill to hit the fish on the head to stun and then fillet it. Fish Ikizukuri is often served garnished with lemon wedges, whereas small octopuses and squid are usually eaten whole, wrapped around a chopstick.
Odori ebi is a type of delicacy similar to shashimi in which baby shrimps, intoxicated by rice wine, are eaten alive while still jumping around and moving their legs. People who eat Ikizukuri claim it to be very tasty, but do you think this controversial method of food preparation should be continued?
4) Raw Oysters (worldwide)
Listed as ‘best choice’ on the seafood watch list, oysters are significantly closer to plants than animals. Like Casu Marzu, oysters are also believed to increase sexual desire and must be alive just before consumption. An excellent source of minerals and vitamins, oysters are a very popular food, especially in coastal areas.