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The world's most dangerous meals

Eight potentially last suppers

The world's most dangerous meals
17 November 2011

After a particularly heavy meal, you may temporarily feel that death is imminent. In reality, after a guilty jog and/or a good lie-down, you're ready for dessert.

In many places around the world, death might feel closer than you like after ingesting one of these dinners. Recommended for the bravest of eaters, here are eight of the world's most dangerous meals. We'll try none of them, how about you?

Fugu (aka pufferfish)

It's never wise to annoy restaurant staff before your meal is sitting in front of you. While most eateries might add a touch of spittle or maybe facial hair to your food, some Japanese fish restaurants can take it a little bit further. Fugu is a fish which contains lethal amounts of the poison tetrodotoxin which paralyses the victim, allowing them to be conscious as they die from asphyxiation. But, it's also a really tasty fish! Chefs are required to train for two to three years before they can serve fugu to customers. Best be nice then.

The quadruple bypass burger

If you're going for dinner at The Heart Attack Grill then you're probably aware of what you're letting yourself in for. Night sweats for one. The actual legitimate danger of leaving unconscious is also possible. At the Las Vegas fast food joint, their trademark meal contains 8,000 calories and consists of the burger (including four half-pound patties, cheese and bacon), the butterfat shake (which has the world's highest butterfat content) and flatliner fries, deep-fried in pure lard. All in all, it's the equivalent of 5 days worth of food. Their 575lb spokesperson died earlier this year. Still hungry?

Ackee and cod fish

So ackee is a fruit and fruit is good for you, right? Wrong. The tropical fruit is the national fruit of Jamaica, with ackee and cod fish being the national dish. But when unripened ackee fruit is served up, it causes an illness called the Jamaican Vomiting Sickness, which can lead to coma or death. This is because it contains a toxic poison called hypoglycin. Importing the raw fruit is actually banned around most of the world. Thankfully.


In case you're ever looking for a meal that consists of raw octopus pieces that are still squirming as you put them into your mouth then best give this one a miss. Well it depends how brave/suicidal you're feeling of course. The problem with this dish, well one of the many problems with it (please see above) is that the suction cups tend to stick to your mouth or throat as they go down, which can cause a fatal choking incident. Karma's a bitch, huh?

Casu Marzu

Even the most passionate cheese-eater will probably have trouble working up an appetite for the above picture. What starts out as perfectly edible pecorino, becomes something far more sinister as the larvae of the cheese fly are deliberately introduced to break down the fats and make it softer, with liquid seeping out. Strangely, some people don't clear the larvae (that resemble translucent white worms) out of the cheese before consumption. If eaten alive, they can live in the intestines, causing serious intestinal lesions as they try to burrow their way through. Oh and nausea, vomiting, pain and bloody diarrhoea. What? Not a cheese person anymore?

Namibian Bullfrog

If you're given an option of eating a variety of foods and you end up plumping for a Namibian bullfrog, well, you kind of have it coming. Unlike in France, every part of the African "delicacy" is eaten. But if you choose to eat one before the "third rain" (a period characterised by excessive croaking and breeding), you'll likely end up with kidney failure and maybe even die. You can just live like us though and decide to avoid eating them ever.

Cassava (aka tapioca)

Bet you didn't know that cassava is the third biggest source of carbs in the world. In case you didn't know, it's a shrub that has a starchy root which gets used for food, such as cakes and a rice pudding style dish. So, it's generally awesome then, huh? Well, if it's prepared incorrectly and still raw then it can produce cyanide. Yes, cyanide. That stuff what kills people in Agatha Christie novels. Might skip dessert then.


If you've ever felt like getting revenge on sharks for eating humans (and being involved in Jaws 4) then this might be the dish for you. In Iceland, they take the meat from a basking shark, cure it and then leave it do dry for five months. If it's not cured properly then it's poisonous, containing high levels of urea. Yes, that's what's found in urine. Even when it is served correctly, the smell of ammonia is so strong that most people find themselves gagging too much to ingest. Anthony Bourdain called it "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he has ever eaten. Damn you sharks!

(Images: Rex Features, Heart Attack Grill, WikiCommons)