This article takes an up close look at the fascinating practice of eating certain animals alive. Some of these practices are well known in Western countries, whilst others are not, and many have been a national tradition that has been going on for hundreds of years. They are listed from the tenth most popular live dish right up to the number one choice.

10. Noma Salad (ants)

These ants are anaesthetized before being sprinkled over a salad. They are very much a delicacy which is in demand at a number of top class restaurants in Europe. A large number, perhaps around 50, are often put on top of fresh natural yogurt or creme fraiche which acts as a garnish for a cabbage salad. Some people like the acidity and citrus type flavor that the ants generate.

9 Frog Sashimi

These culinary frogs are bullfrogs which are specifically breded for cuisine purposes. They are kept alive in the restuarant, and when ordered, they are prepared at the customer’s table, as the frog twitches. This delicacy is known for its fresh tasting, light meat and mild chewiness. It is a healthy alternative to red meat or chicken as it has less fat. After the pieces of sashimi are removed, the frog’s remains are simmered and become the main ingredient in a mildly spicy soup.

8. Sea Urchins

Sea urchin, also known as uni, is an acquired taste. It is regarded as a rare delicacy, and offers a mesmorising texture and unusual flavour. It looks spongy, has an orange colour, is slightly chewy, and has a seawater and cholesterol like taste.

7. Yin Yang Fish

This hugely popular dish from China is also known as dead-and-alive fish. With this speciality, the body of the fish minus the head is quickly deep-fried and then given to the restaurant customer with the head still alive and moving. As it is fried so quickly, the internal organs are not damaged, and it can remain alive for half an hour.

6. Oyster

Oysters have to be alive at the time of eating. They should be glistening with freshness, and need to be laced in a generous quantity of liquor. If the shells are closed tight, or if they close when you touch them with a utensil, they have to be prised open.

5 Casu Marzu

Casu Marzu is an extremely unusual traditional Sardinian cheese which is filled with live maggots. When it is served, it is full of squirmy little worms that often crawl off the plate. It is known for its excellent taste which is down to the maggots, and features a tinge of black pepper and gorgonzola.

4 Odori Ebi

Also known as dancing shrimp, odori ebi is a favourite Japanese sashimi delicacy which involves eating young live shrimp. The shrimp are soaked in sake prior to serving, this has an intoxicating effect on the shrimp which are then covered with a delicious sauce. As they are eaten the shrimp can still move their antennae and legs.

3 Drunken Shrimp

This fresh-water shrimp is a favourite in certain regions of China. The shrimp are eaten alive a lot of the time, however, before being served they are stunned with baijiu, a popular strong liquor which makes eating them more manageable. There are various regional recipies involving preparing this healthy dish.

2. Ikizukuri

Ikizukuri, also known as live sashimi, is a traditional Japanese fish delicacy which is consumed whilst alive. When ordered, the fish is removed from the tank and taken to the plate within minutes. The meat is removed so it does not hurt the organs, and it is served with a beating heart.

1. Sannakji Hoe (Octopus)

This much sought after raw Korean dish is a variety of hoe, and contains live small octopus cut into bite size pieces which are seasoned with a light serving of sesame oil. When put on the plate, they are still moving around.

Harper is a history enthusiast with a penchant for the peculiar. Raised in a small American town, she brings a unique blend of insightful research and playful storytelling to Top10HQ. Harper specializes in uncovering the lesser-known, often bizarre tales of the past, making history accessible and engaging for all. J

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