5 Adventures in Eating You'll Never Forget


Eat Dangerously

You may consider yourself an adventurous eater if you're willing to try new and unusual foods from all over the world. But have you ever consumed something that could actually kill you?

This is the morbid risk you take when sampling puffer fish, or fugu, a potentially deadly sea dweller that many in Japan consider a delicacy. Certain species, like the Tiger fugu, contain a deadly neurotoxin in their liver, gonads, intestine and skin that can contaminate fish if it's not properly prepared. Known as tetrodotoxin, this poison initially causes a tingling in the lips and tongue. After that, the possible side effects get exponentially worse: excessive salivation, weakness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, muscle twitching, difficulty swallowing, voice loss, convulsions and possible death resulting from respiratory paralysis. The fish is so deadly that Japan's Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health keeps detailed records regarding fugu poisonings in the country. According to the agency's statistics, 491 people were afflicted by the fish between 2000 and 2009; of those, 23 died [source: BSWPH].

Not willing to tempt death? Then venture into the world of non-fatal but still painful hot chilis. The heat of these fiery fruits is measured on the Scoville Scale, which ranks a bell pepper at a cool zero while jalapenos simmer at around 5,000 and Tabasco sauce sizzles at 15,000. Those looking for a mouth-melting experience often reach for habaneros, which top out at 577,000, but if you're brave, crazy or a little of both, try to get your hands on a Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. At an average of 1.2 million Scoville heat units, these are considered the hottest chilis in the world [source: Parker Bowles, Carollo].