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Scariest-looking dish! What's yours?

I've came across lots of rather scary-looking dishes during my frequent business travels, some of which were actually quite palateable once you get across to eating them.

But *this* particular dish from a Arabic restaurant in Kuala Lumpur really grossed me out - a whole braised goat's head which had me nearly jumping out of my skin! I didn't know how it tasted, since I couldn't bring myself to try it this time.

Anyone else would like to share what's the most scary-looking dish they'd ever seen?

 
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  1. I had this at a restaurant specializing in meat skewers in Tokyo.

    It's raw pigs brain served with a raw egg yolk, soy, mustard and a squeeze of lemon. A little scary but pretty darn tasty.

     
    4 Replies
    1. re: Tokyoite

      O - M - G - I've had pig's brain soup before, but cooked pig's brain is *nothing* compared to that raw brain on your plate!

      1. re: klyeoh

        Yeah, it took a bit of courage to try it, but that's the way it goes with all new foods right? :-) brain soup sounds kind of nice haha

        1. re: Tokyoite

          But high in cholesterol, so it's a rather sinful indulgence:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/900912

          1. re: klyeoh

            Part of the pig's brain, peeking out from the soup which also contained pig's intestines, liver, kidney, cubes of blood pudding and minced pork.

             
    2. At a holiday dinner, the Rabbi's wife set a whole lamb's head in front of him to eat. I could have lived without seeing that dish!

      1. for the high holy days I always do a sheep's head and a whole fish - the eyeballs always through my kids for a loop, and i have a friend that has to walk away from the table when the lamb's head comes out!

        2 Replies
        1. re: ahuva

          I stand corrected. It was a sheep's head. I didn't see it this year. Who eats it at your dinner?

          1. re: ahuva

            Apparently, the eyeballs and the brain were the choice bits!

          2. A Brazilian colleague couldn't get over this and took a photo - a whole roast chicken in a Chinese restaurant, served with its head as well.

             
            1. I was in Brazil for work several years ago, and the vendors we were meeting with took us to a traditional churrascaria for dinner - the kind where the servers come to each table with long skewers of different kinds of meat. I was inhaling several different cuts of beef when they brought over a skewer that looked like it was strung with meatballs. Nope, they were chicken hearts. I passed.

              5 Replies
              1. re: truman

                Oh yum, I love chicken hearts. Gorgeous on skewers on the barbecue. It's just muscle - think of it as a different type of muscle meat!

                1. re: Billy33

                  I had a few chicken hearts yakitori-style a few months ago. They taste like normal chicken with a bit more chew. I can't imagine anyone would find it offensive if they didn't know what it was.

                  1. re: Billy33

                    My rule is that I will eat skeletal muscle, but not cardiac or smooth.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        just because I have to have a way to justify my preferences! :) (I am not that adventurous...)

                2. There used to be a crab restaurant in Montreal called Les Crabes Follies (sadly missed).
                  They'd serve different types of crab, usually whole, and simply dumped on the table (Maryland style). I was used to seeing creatures such as dungeness or blues or queen etc. The first time they dumped a bunch of spider crabs on the table was a bit unsettling. These things looked like they came out of the Alien movie series.
                  Same restaurant, different crab; they sold these giant, 30lb crabs (apparently from Australia) which were H-U-G-E and had football sized claws. Kinda scary alright.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: porker

                    Oooh, the Tasmanian king crab - I'd had that a few times in Sydney: each crab can be cooked 3 ways, and more than enough to serve 4.

                    1. re: klyeoh

                      I always wanted to know what kind of crab that was
                      Tasmanian king crab
                      Thanks, yep, that was it.
                      He sold it for $30/lb and usually served it to groups of 10-12 at about $1000.

                       
                      1. re: porker

                        Surprisingly sweet-fleshed and fine-textured for such a large crustacean. Yep, it's *not* cheap at all.

                    1. re: BuildingMyBento

                      LOL! Yes, nicknamed "Arab Street" by Middle-Eastern, especially Saudi, tourists who've been swarming to Malaysia for their summer holidays post-911.

                      1. re: klyeoh

                        klyeoh, I'm curious- do you know if there are "Dayak" restaurants in East Malaysia? Even if it's "just" for tourists, do they exist?
                        Or do you have to go into the bush of Sarawak to have a remote chance?

                        1. re: BuildingMyBento

                          I'd not seen any specialty Dayak restaurants when I visited Sarawak's state capital, Kuching, years ago. I was actually planning another trip towards the end of this year but most eating places on my list to explore offer local dishes which are of Chinese origin (Sarawak laksa, mee kolok, etc.). But there's one Dayak restaurant which opened recently called The.Dyak that offers the cuisine of the Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu:
                          http://foodjourney4me.blogspot.com/20...

                          I'll check that out when I'm there.

                          1. re: klyeoh

                            I'm actually surprised that one exists...but ice cream? Hmm.

                            If you do go back to Kucing, report back lah!

                    2. Here's a picture of something I tried in Zhongshan, China. Any guesses?

                       
                      8 Replies
                          1. re: Jerseygirl111

                            Yes!

                            I ordered it at this PETA-be-damned restaurant: http://www.flickr.com/photos/building....

                            It was hot pot, and I couldn't finish it all, so they said they'd "save it for the next day."

                            1. re: BuildingMyBento

                              Looks like there're a lot of critters waiting to be eaten in that picture.

                              So what was the cat like? I've always imagined it would be somewhat lean and tough.

                              1. re: drongo

                                That particular restaurant offers: Red Deer, Snake, Cat, Pheasant, Rabbit, Lamb, Dog, and Turtle, in addition to a vegetable or two.

                          2. re: BuildingMyBento

                            That's just wrong. Kittens should be praised, not braised.
                            little veggo

                            1. re: Veggo

                              yeah, no way I could bring myself to eat that dish -- probably would have to leave after seeing what you took a photo of.

                            2. re: BuildingMyBento

                              I literally just clicked on the this thread and the first thing I did before reading was to scroll through the pictures. I see this one and think "wtf, is that a cat in a bag? No, couldn't be." So I read to find out what it is, and yeah. Poor kitty!

                            3. An octopus I made recently: I don't think it's scary, but when I put it on my Facebook page, several people literally called it scary. It does, truth to tell, look a bit like something from the films Alien or Predator.

                               
                              5 Replies
                                1. re: Bada Bing

                                  It looked like it folded its arms, I meant - tentacles.

                                  1. re: Bada Bing

                                    It is pretty scary looking since it is not easily identifiable as an octopus. Did you position it like that or did it coil up that that on it's own?

                                    1. re: viperlush

                                      Curled up that way itself after 20 minutes poaching in vinegar.

                                  2. While in china we ordered a black duck hot pot. My dining companions graciously allowed me to take the first serving. Imagine my suprise when I reached into the tall pot and pulled out the duck head. I returned it to the pot and and picked out something less identifiable . Have to say that the flavor of the hot pot was good, but I was a little squeamish after the initial head pull.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: SimonSaysWoof

                                      One of the signature street food in a Taiwanese night market is the Dongshan duck's head. I once visited Taipei's Shilin market and tried this - more out of curiousity than anything. But the head's deep-fried, then chopped up, so it didn't look half bad.

                                    2. Heads of various sorts loom large in this interesting thread, don't they? Reminds me of the scene in the movie A Christmas Story, when Ralphie and his family had to go to a Chinese restaurant on Xmas because the neighbor's dogs absconded with their turkey. Their complaint at the restaurant table was that the whole Peking Duck was "looking at us," and the waiter responded by whacking the head off with a cleaver.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: Bada Bing

                                        Loved that movie, I saw it in the 80s, and this was one of my favourite scenes :-)

                                        1. re: klyeoh

                                          Given the Chow theme of the site, we should not neglect the scene where the mom talks the picky eater into pretending he's a pig to get him to eat what's on his plate...

                                          1. re: Bada Bing

                                            "Mommy's little piggy" <grunt> <grunt> :-D

                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                I cannot wait for 24 hours of A Christmas Story :)

                                                Tis the season to be jorry!

                                          1. When I traveled to Asia, the scariest thing was balut. I'm ok with heads, bills, beaks, legs, tails , innards.... But an embryo boiled in the egg ? Uh no thanks. I couldn't do it... I rather have a second bite of the durian.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Nevy

                                              I was squeamish during my first encounter with the balut, but have acquired a taste for it somewhat. These days, Filipino chefs are coming up with more inventive ways of serving the balut, such as encasing the embryo in puff pastry and baking it - not bad actually!

                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                I'm Philippines born and used to eat balut as a child. There are several pleasant textures and flavors, all savory which is perfect for a salt tooth like me.

                                                I was always meticulous with my food. While everyone ate, I was busy cutting my meat in tiny pieces, vegetables in same size pieces, then finally ate after mixing it all with rice.

                                                So I went years enjoying balut, each section on its own, bite by bite, until one day I found something funny in mine. Grey, tiny, and a little fuzzy. Upon closer inspection I realized it was a teeny baby bird, which I tossed. I finished my balut, and never ate it again.

                                                Then again, many consider the beak to be the best part...

                                                1. re: youareabunny

                                                  But that's the "beauty" of the balut - the feathers, bones, beak - everything is edible ;-)

                                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                                    I couldn't bring myself to eat the wee one! Not that putting him/her in the garbage was any better.

                                                    It was probably back in 1997, but if I had to give him a size I'd say not even an inch long and very thin. Is that typical of balut? Or do some let the guy grow bigger before... balutafying? I don't want to google this myself, figured I'd ask ;)

                                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                                      Normally, the duck embryos are given 18-20 days to grow, before they are boiled - but some embryos which died before then (in the incubators) are sold more cheaply in the markets - so I've been told. Not sure how accurate my information is.

                                                      1. re: youareabunny

                                                        That sounds about right for most of the balut I've seen in the US. The eggs here are typically no more than a couple weeks old with little development of bones or feathers. The embryo is often so small you might easily eat it without noticing, but the eggs can be aged longer and in the Philippines, the preference is to get to the point where the duckling has defined features and some crunch. Vietnamese hột vịt lộn tends to be matured even longer, with a well-developed embryo with bones, visible beak and feathers.

                                                        The undeveloped eggs klyeoh mentions are sold as penoy in the Philippines. I haven't seen them in the US.

                                              2. I was brought to a restaurant, Asadachi, in Tokyo for live frog sashimi, but couldn't bring myself to eat any. Here's a Youtube video of what you get:
                                                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IwWQ2...

                                                17 Replies
                                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                                    Can't even click on that. I hope it was a fast death but I can imagine a few non-lethal stabs by those who are inexperienced or prefer the added taste of terror and fear

                                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                                      Sadly, it *wasn't* a fast death - the severed upper half of the frog would be blinking at you whilst you sup on its lower half :-(

                                                      1. re: klyeoh

                                                        That's the hyena approach to dining!

                                                        1. re: klyeoh

                                                          Zimmern did a segment on that. Apparently eating the still-beating heart is a prize.

                                                          1. re: porker

                                                            Ugh! BTW, 99% of the Japanese I know will balk at this dish! But there is always that adventurous minority who'd try anything.

                                                          2. re: klyeoh

                                                            THAT'S HORRIBLE. I hope it was just nervous system reflex and not consciousness :(

                                                            1. re: klyeoh

                                                              I've had squid and lobster sashimied like this...but never frog. Though, I have had plenty a frog leg here.

                                                              1. re: Tokyoite

                                                                I'd had raw whale and horse, too. But drew the line with this semi-live frog thingy.

                                                                1. re: Tokyoite

                                                                  Back when RealTV was on I saw a clip of the squid one. Grab it, stick it through your chopstick, dip, and eat. I think the dipping was easier considering little dude was flailing its tentacles, basting itself.

                                                                  1. re: youareabunny

                                                                    Zimmern (again) did an octopus in Korea. It was like getting an un-cooperative person through a doorway - the beast had to be coaxed past the lips.

                                                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                                                      I'd had that - twice, in Seoul. It's called "nakchae", live baby octopus which is dipped into "kochujang" (spicy beanpaste) before being eaten. Wash it down with "soju" spirits.

                                                              2. re: klyeoh

                                                                Wow... eating an animal while it "watches" is such an intense statement of the power of human over animal. When the space-aliens arrive and eat us, we surely won't have any moral arguments to make against them. Lol.

                                                                1. re: drongo

                                                                  I was once having lobster sashimi with my Japanese colleagues in Tokyo - the wafer-thin filleted meat was arrayed between the lobster's head and tail. Halfway thru the meal, I thought I saw one of the lobster's feelers move. Then, observing it further, I noticed that the lobster's eyes were still moving (!), as if looking at us whilst we're consuming its body.

                                                                  Let's hope whichever space aliens that find us in future won't be giant exo-skeletal crustaceans.

                                                                  1. re: klyeoh

                                                                    I get a kick out of the katsuobushi, swaying to and fro on top of my hiyayakko. Easily something I could eat everyday...both things!

                                                                    1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                      And atop hot, freshly-cooked okonomiyaki as well :-)

                                                              3. At Cibreo in Firenze there is a chicken sausage dish. The chicken neck is stuffed and served with the head of the chicken in the plate.

                                                                 
                                                                3 Replies
                                                                1. re: Motosport

                                                                  That looks pretty cool. Too bad the chicken has such a pained expression...

                                                                  1. re: Motosport

                                                                    Sounds yummy though. Was the head supposed to be eaten as well, or was it there as a decorative?

                                                                  2. This one's not exactly "scary" but more like a jolt to my senses - served at a friend's wedding dinner party in Shanghai: seahorse soup!

                                                                    I've had seahorses in Chinese medicinal brews before, but where the seahorse carcasses had been discarded before the brew was served. However, in this soup course in Shanghai (for about 150 wedding guests), the squiggly, slippery little seahorses were left in there to be consumed :-)

                                                                     
                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                                                      Seahorses are slippery? I would have bet against that!

                                                                      1. re: ricepad

                                                                        How were the seahorses that you had cooked?

                                                                        1. re: klyeoh

                                                                          They look like they'd be tastier fried. Not that I could ever eat one. Sea horses are magical

                                                                          1. re: youareabunny

                                                                            And uncommon. I have only seen them in Bermuda.

                                                                            1. re: youareabunny

                                                                              Deep-fried ones tend to be crunchy and pretty okay - I first tasted those in Beijing's Donghuamen night market. But then, *anything* deep-fried turns out pretty edible (I'd had ants, scorpions, bugs and starfish there, too - and they're not much different from, um, crackers?)

                                                                              But boiled seahorses are *incredibly* fishy in taste and smell.

                                                                      2. This is more fun/scary than actually a scary dish. This is my popular dish around this time of year especially, it's Brain Loaf.

                                                                        Primarily meat loaf, which prior to putting into the oven I sculpt into the shape of a brain. I use a knife to mold the the crevices along the sides, and the channel down the middle forming the left and right sides of the brain.

                                                                        I make my meatloaf pretty much the same as my meatballs, just baked in the over instead of fried, so I mix parmesan cheese into the meat mix, which gives it a nice effect when you remove it from the oven, the cheese melts and oozes out of the meat creating a cool visual effect. When the brain loaf comes out of the oven it looks pretty much what you would expect a cooked human brain to look like.......it does gross people out with weaker stomachs!

                                                                        As I said I make my meatloaf the same as my meatballs so rather than the traditional brown gravy, I serve mine with tomato sauce/gravy, which when poured over the top, obviously resembles blood!

                                                                        Bon' Holloween Appetite'

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                          Eventually people will get comfortable with your brain-shaped meatloaf. Then one year you can subsitute a real brain and watch the fun.

                                                                            1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                              Nice!

                                                                              I suggest you put little labeled flags in different parts of the loaf to indicate main parts (cerebral cortex, etc.) and locations of brain function (repressed impulse to kill your parent of the opposite sex and have sex with your other parent; part of brain that activates when you eat chocolate, etc.).

                                                                              Everyone could learn a lot about each other and save on psychoanalyst fees....

                                                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                Two outa three ain't bad, whatever the third might be...

                                                                            2. Somehow, I didn't quite find this tip of a boiled pig's tail that appetising this evening:

                                                                               
                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                No offense intended, but you really eat a lot of weird shit....:)

                                                                                1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                  Maybe you weren't sure enough that that's what it really was?

                                                                                  1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                                    Well, it did remind me of something else :-D

                                                                                2. It may sound completely revolting, but ya never know till ya try. My neighbor just brought back four goat's from one of his business trips and sold them off pretty quick. I've recently become a 'foodie', making sure I know the source of the foods I eat. Well, this was my introduction into 'True' home derived meat. Yeah, I did look at them grazing a couple of times, and got the guilty feeling. I didn't give them a name, but still...
                                                                                  I bought half a goat, and was lucky, I was able to get all the 'extra's' with it. (kidneys, liver, intestines, head) All delivered in a convenient trash bag. Have I disgusted you enough?

                                                                                  I cooked the head first, quick and simple. Just threw it in a pot w/ some onion and stock making's and whoallah!
                                                                                  Eating straight goat brain may sound disgusting, but being truely of pure grass fed, free range quality, not just labeling, it was incredible. I even ate the whole liver raw, right out of the fridge. I just couldn't stop snacking on it, sooo delicious.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: bravoshark44

                                                                                    "ate the whole liver raw"?! Man, you deserve a medal.

                                                                                  2. This doesn't compare to a lot of other dishes suggested here, but tororo looks pretty disgusting. It's basically a grated long yam (nagaimo, in Japanese) that is typically mixed with soy sauce and/or dashi. When nagaimo is grated, it yields a sticky, slimy gel, and looks like a huge bowl of snot. Tororo can be eaten many different ways, but in our family, we usually just ladle some over a bowl of hot rice, add some green onions and shreds of nori, and more soy sauce to taste. Mix it all up, and slurp away.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: ricepad

                                                                                      Tororo = edible mucus. One of the very few things I couldn't get used to despite all my travels to Japan.

                                                                                      1. re: klyeoh

                                                                                        Matsuya is a good place to get your breakfast fix of mucilaginous foods- tororo, natto okura (okra), for instance.