A man in South Korea has choked and had a heart attack after he ate a piece of "live" octopus.
The man was reportedly eating a delicacy known as san-nakji in the south city of Gwangju, fire services said. The octopus tentacles were severed from the animal moments before it was eaten and were still wriggling when they went into his mouth.
This caused the man to choke and he subsequently went into cardiac arrest. The fate of the man has not been revealed by responders, so it is unclear whether he survived the encounter. But the octopus’s last laugh is a reminder that there are many dangerous dishes out there that can fight back against us – if we're not careful.
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One such dish, called Fugu, originates from Japan. It sees pufferfish plated up often as sashimi, but the risks of chowing down on the meal are enormous. The fish contains a chemical called tetrodotoxin, a deadly neurotoxin that has even seen the meal controlled under law.
If prepared in the right way Fugu can be safe to eat, but this is so hard to do that in Japan and Korea only highly trained chefs who have qualified after three years of training are allowed to make it. Reports claim people have died preparing it domestically in the past. Serving the liver, thought to be tasty but the most poisonous part, was banned in Japan in 1984.
Another popular yet dangerous food is the national fruit of Jamaica, Ackee. When served alongside saltfish, this tasty fruit forms part of the island nation’s national dish. Ackee is incredibly popular across the world, including here in the UK.
But when unripened it contains hypoglycin toxins which, when consumed, can lead to prolific vomiting and a changed mental state in bad cases. At its most extreme eating unripened Ackee can lead to seizures, hypothermia, coma, and even death.
Fish and fruit might seem obvious, but there are also dangers in the cheese world. One delicacy, in particular, has developed a bit of a reputation around the world as it involves eating live maggots. Casu martzu is a traditional dish from Sardinia. The cheese sits well beyond traditional levels of decomposition aided by the digestive process of the cheese fly, which breaks down its fats.
This means the dish is often riddled with 8mm-long, translucent worm-like creatures. It is these larvae that cause health concerns as researchers fear that, if eaten, they can survive in our stomach acid which can cause a condition called pseudomyiasis, a parasitic infestation of the body.
Casu martzu has been banned in the EU as a result of the rather unappealing health concerns surrounding its ingestion, but it can still be bought from Sardinians on the black market – often for double the price of a regular block of maggot-free pecorino.
It has even been declared the “World’s Most Dangerous Cheese” by Guinness World Records.
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