If the idea of deep-frying creepy crawlies or eating something that could kill you strikes you as crazy, you might want to avoid trying the local delicacies in the following countries…

Indonesia: Kopi Luwak

Description: Kopi Luwak

The discerning luwak (a distant cousin of the mongoose) is quite the coffee connoisseur. If you’re searching for the perfect cuppa, look no further. ‘The secret if this delicious blend,’ gushes the Indonesian Tourism Board, ‘lies in the bean selection. The luwak will eat only the choicest, most perfectly matured beans, which it then excretes, partially digested, a few hours later.’ After that, plantation workers gather them up, roast them, and ship them off for $600 a pound. The coveted coffee is apparently ‘incredibly full-bodied’.

China: Bird’s nest soup

Description: Bird’s nest soup

You’re thinking twigs and leaves, right? But this expensive, gelatinous soup is mostly made up of bird saliva. Known as the ‘caviar of the East’, it is believed to alleviate asthma, aid digestion, and it’s supposedly an aphrodisiac. (Is dry-heaving sexy now?)

Sardinia: Casu marzu

Description: Casu marzu

Some cheese improve with age. The Sardinians, however, take it a step further – deliberately infesting sheep’s milk pecorino with cheese flies, which then lay eggs in the cheese. During their digestion process, the maggots release an enzyme that causes the pecorino fat to putrefy. The result? Sticky, gluey maggoty deliciousness. Well, maybe not ‘deliciousness’ as such – it is said to cause a strong burn in the mouth. Make sure you shield your eyes as you dig in, though, because the maggots tend to jump at you (up to 15cm in the air) when you try to get at the cheese. Don’t poke it either – that will cause it to leak an odorous liquid called ‘lagrima’ (Sardinian for ‘tears’). Also, it’s illegal, since the maggots can tear holes in the intestine (causing vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding), so you’ll have to buy it on the black market.

Cambodia: Fried tarantula

Description: Fried tarantula

Itsy bitsy spiders don’t climb up water spouts in Cambodia – they are gathered up in the forest, deep-fried and sold as a snack.

Proceed with caution

If you like playing Russian roulette with your lunch, these treats are for you:

Japan: Fugu

Description: Fugu

Best enjoy this meal – it might be your last. Just one of these toxic puffer fish contains enough tetrodotoxin (10 times more deadly than cyanide) to kill 30 people. Chefs have to undergo three years of fugu-preparation training to get a licence – one bad cut means almost certain death for the unlucky diner, as it can cause paralysis or asphyxiation. It hasn’t stopped the Japanese though – they consume about 10000 tons of it each year.

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