Because this topic is so taboo, it makes it almost interesting to know that people would actually eat living animals. Most of the time, people just tend to do it for the thrill of doing something so awkward that others would cringe. Maybe they have done everything else, and bizarre foods are all that is left to enjoy in this world. Regardless of why it’s done, there are some crazy foods out there to be eaten and things for animal rights protesters to be severely angry about.
10. Florida: Stone Crab Claws
While it isn’t weird to eat crab claws (because they are delicious), it does seem a bit awkward that they harvest the claws in a way that allows the crab to continue living. Because the delicate body of the stone crab doesn’t provide enough meat to make eating it as enjoyable, people have found that their claws – which are strong enough to break the shell of oysters – are simply delicious! Ordinarily, that would be the end of the line for any other crab. However, harvesters found that the stone crabs claws can grow back after approximately one full year. As comedian David Mitchell once pointed out on the BBC show Quite Interesting, the producers of the Florida delicacy are pretty much “seafoody trees."
9. Japan: Ikizukuri
Actually meaning “prepared alive," this is the practice of making sashimi from a currently living marine organism, such as shrimp, lobster, or fish. The customers will select the animal of their choice from a tank, which is later taken to the chef. In the kitchen, the animal is filleted while still alive and served with the heart still beating. There is another variant where an already filleted animal will be replaced in the tank so that it can swim and recover for the customer’s second course. This method of cooking is very much a controversial subject throughout the world.
8. Worldly: Oysters on the Half Shell
This is something most people are accustomed to seeing, even if they are absolutely disgusted by eating one. Oysters have been eaten since well before recorded history, and the practice has been widespread. There are many beliefs about the safety of cooking oysters, such as if the shells are open and do not snap shut it means that the oyster is dead. Interestingly, there are arguments about whether or not they are a viable food source for vegans and vegetarians, especially as they contain an abundance of necessary vitamins and minerals. It is said that they are closer to a plant than an animal because they lack a central nervous system and experience no pain (among other reasons).
7. China: Drunken Shrimp
Served in alcohol to make them more complacent, this dish is considered by Chinese critics to be one of the cruelest dishes in mainland China. The recipe for them is different and varies by region, where some places prefer to boil the shrimp either before or after marinating it in alcohol. However, there are still areas where it is possible to eat the living shrimp. As always, there are dangers of eating uncooked shellfish.
6. Sardinia, Italy: Casu Marzu
Frequently questioned about being an urban legend, casu marzu is a soft cheese made from sheep’s milk that is very much different from what most people are used to: it has maggot larvae in it. According to legend, the practice of selling such a cheese was banned; this made it more expensive and desired on the black market. It is often eaten with crispy bread while the larvae are still alive.
4. Germany: Milbenkäse France: Boule de Lille (Mimolette)
The most bizarre thing about these two cheeses is in their production rather than the consumption. When making Milbenkäse, the producers intentionally introduce cheese mites so that their digestive juices are able to diffuse into it and cause fermentation.
For mimolette, they are introduced so that they add flavor to the cheese. For both cheeses, the hard crusting on the outside is a result of cheese mites.
3. Korea: Sannakji Hoe
Consisting of nakji, a small octopus, that has been cut into while still alive, it is served with both seasame and seasame oil. So that the legs are still wriggling on the plate, it is often served to the patron as quickly as possible. Another variation of this dish is to serve it whole. The above picture is a very tame version of this dish. A wilder version is where diners can actually see the squid moving its legs around before they cut it off and eat it.
2. Japan: Odori Ebi
Literally translated as “dancing shrimp," this dish is a delicacy of sashimi. It is primarily baby Kuruma shrimp that are marinated in sake, so that they are intoxicated enough to willingly be eaten alive. Most frequently, they are served with a variety of dipping sauces. Those who consume this dish quickly chew the animal in order to kill it.
1. Taiwan and China: Ying Yang Fish
Also known in English as dead-and-alive fish, the body of this fish is mostly deep fried but the head is still fresh and moving. The origin of this dish actually comes from Taiwan, but it is more popular within China and is now banned in Taiwan. The reason behind it was so that the chef could actually show just how fresh the food was at the time of being prepared.