Um Waiter, Mine's Still Kickin' -- 7 Foods You Eat While They're Alive

fishYour mother always said not to play with your food, but what if it's playing with you? Writhing, looking at you in your eyes, taunting you because you don't have the guts to eat him (and his guts).

For some cultures, it's not unusual for their seafood to be eaten right out of the water. But for the majority of us, the thought of eating something still alive and kicking makes us squirm more than the food on our plate.

Here are seven dishes that need a beating heart in order to be eaten properly:


Sannakji is a Korean delicacy in which live baby octopus are sliced up and seasoned with sesame oil. If you choose to try this squirmy meal, be careful. The tiny suction cups on the moving tentacles can stick to the mouth and throat, creating a choking hazard.

Sure, some cheese is better after it's fermented awhile (bleu cheese, anyone?) but folks from the Italian island of Sardinia take it to a whole new level. Casa Marzu is a type of cheese that's infested with maggots, and no, not because it's gone bad. Ironically, it's deemed toxic once the maggots have naturally died.

In Japan, sashimi is often prepared Ikizukuri, which literally means "prepared alive." You select your live friend from a tank, and then the chef filets and guts the creature, without killing it, and then goes Dr. Frankenstein-like and reassembles it, serving it to you still flipping. It's alive! It's alive!

When you think of drunken shrimp, a nice fried creole dish with a beer probably comes to mind. That's not the way they roll in China. The prawn are served, seasoned, in a big bowl of liquor called Baijiu. The alcohol stuns the slippery critters, so let them soak for a little while so they're easier to handle.

Fried but still alive, Ying Yang fish must be in some weird fish limbo. Does the fried part make you partial to trying it? Didn't think so. The dish is popular in China but originated in Taiwan because the chefs wanted to show how fresh their food was. They deep-fry the body, while the head is still moving -- eyes looking back at you and everything. Needless to say, I think they proved their point.

Oh, and p.s. the fish is doused in sweet and sour sauce, not blood because, well, blood would just be way too gross.

Compared to the others, eating live oysters is mainstream. They're extremely good for you, even thought to be an aphrodisiac, and eating them raw retains even more nutrients than if you were to boil them. Shuck 'em and slurp, my friends.

Odori ebi is a type of sushi that contains live baby shrimps. "Odori ebi" means "dancing shrimp." Doesn't that create a fun visual?

odori ebi

Have you ever eaten anything that was still alive? Would you ever try it?


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