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Friday, October 9, 2009

World’s deadliest delicacies

[Extracted from Hotel Club Travel Blog]

Some people are really careful about what they eat, try to cut down on fats and sugar to ensure a healthy life, others just don’t care and stuff themselves with all kinds of junk foods. But there’s another type of people, those that gamble with their lives for a rush of adrenalin or for a taste they find irresistible.

Here are the world’s deadliest delicacies:



Cassava

Cassava crops are very common in Africa and South America because they have the ability to grow in unfertile soil and withstand long droughts extremely well. They are very hard to find in other parts of the world and are richer in carbohydrates than maize and cereal crops.

They do however have a major flaw, the ability to kill a person. Cassava roots contain cyanogenic glycosides that are converted into hydrogen cyanide by an enzyme called linamarase. This happens when the plant’s cells are ruptured, most often when it is eaten. That’s why Cassava has to be processed very carefully, if consumed raw it can cause death.



Ackee

Ackee has become the national fruit of Jamaica, even though it is not native to the island. It was imported around 1780 from West Africa. Ackee fruits are rich in essential fatty acids, vitamin A, zinc and protein and are an important ingredient in many Caribbean dishes.

Still, if you’re ever in Jamaica, don’t go stuffing your face with Ackee fruits, it may be the last thing you do. Unripe Ackee fruits contain dangerous alkanoid poisons that provoke serious vomiting, seizures and even fatal hypoglycemia. Even when ripe, Ackees are not eaten entirely, the shiny black seeds and the red shell are discarded, only the soft inside is edible.



Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away! Entirely true, but, if you eat the seeds, he might stay away because there’s nothing he can do to help you.

Scientists have discovered that eating a large quantity of apple seeds is extremely hazardous to our health, because they contain a certain amount of cyanogenic glycoside, commonly known as cyanide. The amount of seed necessary to cause damage isn’t known yet, but the seeds of just one apple should have no negative effect on an adult. Children are more vulnerable however and should be taught to avoid eating the apple whole.

Symptoms of apple-seed intoxication include abdominal pains, vomiting, excessive sweating, coma and even death.



Snake

Like scorpions, tarantulas and other spiders, snake poison is neutralized when the meat is cooked, so you shouldn’t be worried about side effects if you don’t eat them raw. However in China and other Asian countries, snake parts are sometimes eaten raw, like the snake blood, a delicacy many of us probably couldn’t stomach. The snake is gutted, the blood gathered in a small glass and then mixed with the bile.

Chinese believe this a powerful aphrodisiac that also has the power to cure sexual deficiencies. Normally there shouldn’t be any danger, since the venom is collected in the snake’s head, but it can sometimes be present in its blood. So if you’re going to try snake blood, make sure you say a prayer before.



Puffer Fish

Definitely the world’s most popular toxic delicacy, the Puffer Fish may look funny but it’s definitely no joke. It contains high levels of tetrodotoxin, a powerful poison that paralyzes the muscles, eventually killing the victim through asphyxiation. The poison is present mostly in the liver, ovaries and skin and only licensed chefs are allowed to cook this dangerous meal. Seems only normal if we remember that, in medieval times, the chef had to share the client’s fate if he didn’t remove the poison correctly.

People die every year from fugu poisoning since there is still no cure for tetrodotoxin, all doctors can do is sustain the respiratory and circulatory systems until the poison wears off. Despite all this, Fugu is as popular as ever.

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