When it comes to delicate and dangerous food, that steeped in rich cultural significance and should be approached with respect, one should be very cautions when sampling them. Below are presented very special delicates that can cause very significant danger (or even worse results) if prepared not correct, though true gourmans travel for them all over the world and are ready to spent huge amounts.
The ones that are very tricky to catch and known as glass eels are called elvers. Everything from temperature to bad weather can cause their numbers to drop significantly, making elvers a tough industry. Every fishing season in Maine,that generally starts on March 29, fisherman are hoping that the warm weather will lead to a bigger haul than the previous year, when they only caught 5,300 pounds of the little eels (the quota is 10,000 pounds). Naturally, value goes up when yield is low and last season saw prices upwards of $2,200 per pound for the little eels. The Economist calls these little eels “transparent gold”— since, as for comparison, Kobe beef is worth around $500/lb and blue fin tuna goes for around $1,300/lb.
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Not only tough to source, they’re also tricky to prepare. Similar to fugu, elvers can be toxic when eaten, able to cause internal cramping and sometimes heart failure. Though a single eel is tiny, it has enough poison in it to kill a rabbit—so imagine a bowl full of them. To avoid the health risk, elvers have to be thoroughly cooked, so eating it raw is a big mistake.
It’s pretty widely known that fugu (puffer fish), which is priced around $200 a pound, is a popular Japanese delicacy that can kill if it is not prepared just right. Only highly-trained, certified chefs (only around 35 percent of applicants actually reach certification) should ever prepare the dish, because the puffer has toxic organs that contain tetrodotoxin, which will cause asphyxia if consumed. There doesn’t exist an antidote, so the best course of treatment is to support the respiratory and circulatory systems while the poison makes its way through the body.
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Of course, people wouldn’t be risking their health for poor-tasting foods, so it makes sense that the meal is considered incredibly tasty (with the most lethal organs supposedly tasting the best).
To the Japanese, fugu’s allure lies in what they call a special umami – a clean and sweet taste, not a death-defying experience.The meat is texturally both crunchy and chewy – a sensational property the Japanese describe as shiko shiko. They also prize the fish for its seasonality, as it is typically consumed in winter.
A single fish can easily fetch between US$50 and US$150 at a wholesale fish market in Japan, depending on the variety – the costliest of which is a prime tora or “tiger” fugu. A complete meal at a decent Japanese restaurant can cost upwards of 200 USD per head (or more than 20,000 YEN). If you are in the mood for life-endangering adventure, just make sure to do your due diligence in selecting a restaurant with a certified chef.
Native to West Africa this strange fruit is the national fruit in a major staple in Caribbean dishes—especially in Jamaica. While the tree isn’t indigenous to Jamaica, it ended up being grown in large amounts after being imported on slave ships and is now symbolic of the country. Ackee is typically cooked with salted cod and onions—some say it tastes like cheese and others insist eggs. It is treated more like a vegetable than a fruit though. and despite its popularity one should never pick his own unless he knows what he is doing. The ackee can’t be unripe or overripe and the rind, membrane and seeds are all poisonous. Actually, the only edible part of ackee is the pulp around the seeds. The illness associated with the fruit is called “Jamaican vomiting sickness” and can actually be fatal to some within 24 hours.
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