Jamaica: Ackee fruit

Description: Ackee fruit

It might be the national fruit, but that doesn’t mean it won’t kill you. If improperly eaten, it can cause ‘Jamaican vomiting sickness’, which can lead to a coma or death. While it’s unripe it’s poisonous, so you have to wait until the protective pods turn red and open naturally. Even then, you can only eat the yellow arilli – the black seeds are always toxic.

Korea: Sannakji

Description: Sannakji

It’s almost like calamari, except for one small difference – it’s still ‘alive’. The tentacles are chopped up and seasoned with oil and sesame seeds, but the nerves are still active… so it will wriggle around on your plate. You also have to look out for the little suction cups – they tend to stick to the mouth and throat, causing about six Koreans to choke to death every year.

And the three surprise entries on the list:

Hot dogs

Description: Hot dogs

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 17% of food-related asphyxiations in kids under the age of 10 were caused by hot dogs. Chewing saves lives, people.


You might want to put down that PB sandwich – the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology’s stats reveal that peanuts are the most common cause of food allergy deaths. It affects about 1% of the population, and numbers are on the rise.

Tapioca pudding

Produced from the roots of the cassava plant, this is an American favourite. But if it’s prepared incorrectly, the plant can produce cyanide. Experts say that if you have a latex allergy, it’s best to steer clear of it altogether.

As seen on TV

If there’s a chance to win some money, people will choke down the most disgusting things imaginable – on camera. Some of the grossest TV shows on the air include:

Man vs Wild

Some of the most stomach – churning moments in adventure Bear Grylls’ show include the time he drank his own urine, ate some “peanut-buttery’ beetle larvae in a forest in New Zealand, and sampled raw goat testicles in the Sahara. To be fair, he did spit out the larvae and gag after eating the testicles. But he was quite happy to drink the urine.


Description: a bowl of balut

A bowl of balut

Two unlucky contestants on Survivor: China were tasked with eating a bowl of balut. These duck or chicken eggs have been fertilized and incubated – at least until you can start discerning the beak and feathers. At that point they’re boiled and sold. Fans of the dish say the bones give it a nice crunchy texture (shudder), but only one of the contestants managed to get it down.

Fear factor

Host Joe Rogan either has a very strong stomach, or he’s a complete sadist. After seasons of gleefully watching contestants gag, even the producers couldn’t stomach this one, deeming it inappropriate for TV: two girls came on the show and chugged down some donkey semen. The vomitfest that ensued was never aired.


On a little=known Dutch TV show, teo men decide to give cannibalism a go and eat a bit of their own flesh. A surgeon chopped of a tiny bit of the one’s buttcheek and the other’s stomach, and the tidbits were fried and eaten live on TV. ‘It was just a few centimetres of meat,’ one said, ‘and now I have a good story about that scar.’

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