The Top 5 Most Deadly Delicacies

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There is nothing quite as satisfying as a great meal – one that leaves you pushing back from the table with your head lolling to the side, settling into that blissful state we all know as a “food coma.” If you are a gourmand of a certain stripe, however, that “food coma” could easily become an “actual coma,” or even death! There are dozens of foodstuffs enjoyed the world over that, if prepared or served wrong, can be wildly dangerous. But hey, if it tastes great, who cares about a bit of lethal poison, right?

5 The Venom Sack from a King Cobra

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And then for the truly extreme/insane diner, why not ingest the venom sack from a king cobra? Rumor has it (and we can’t confirm this at present, but we will, dammit!) that in bars across Southeastern Asia, mostly in Thailand, the adventurous drinker can order a shot with a cobra’s venom sack floating in liquor! The result is sweating, frequent nausea, and then a druggy haze. What fun! Except for the cobra who got its goddamn venom sack cut out, of course.

4 Love That Rhubarb Pie, Do You?

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And why not – a standard rhubarb pie recipe calls for well over a cup of sugar and two or more tablespoons of butter! Mmm-mmm, right? Well, not if any of the rhubarb leaves snuck into the bakery. While the edible stem of the rhubarb plant can be a tasty treat, other parts of the plant can guarantee vomiting, respiratory issues, coma, kidney failure, and even death.

3 The Ackee Fruit

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The ackee fruit is native to West Africa, but is most prominent in Jamaican cooking. In fact, it is the country’s national fruit and a key component in its national dish. This strange, orangey fruit contains large seeds and a soft beige pulp that, when prepared correctly, are delectable. When harvested before proper ripeness – or prepared wrong, however, the ackee fruit can kill the hell out of you. Or at least guarantee a hospital visit.

2 Varieties of Mushrooms

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Of the tens of thousands of identified varieties of mushrooms, only about a quarter of them are safe for human consumption, and only about a quarter of those actually taste good. Unfortunately for those who love chowing down on fungi, there are also hundreds of varieties that will make you sick, and dozens that will ensure you are eating your last meal. Most poisonous mushrooms, such as the Amanita phalloides – more commonly known as “the death cap” – attack the human liver.

1 The Puffer Fish

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The puffer fish is a delicacy prized in Japan (and a very small number of other countries), despite the fact that it contains a poison so potent it could leave a grown man dead mere minutes after consumption of an ill-prepared portion. Commonly called “fugu” by the Japanese, puffer fish meat is delicious enough that diners overlook the fact that other parts of the fish contain a deadly neurotoxin without a known cure. Fortunately, chefs who are legally allowed to serve fugu undergo rigorous training that can last years.

Steven John is a published novelist and competitive pole vault champion. (The latter is not true.) His writing runs the gamut from speculative fiction to essays fueled by a mix of mirth and derision. He has never been to Lisbon but, statistically speaking, is probably taller than you.

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