You’re Eating What?
February 27, 2009
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The world’s frogs face yet another threat to their survival: overeating by humans.
A global team of researchers has estimated the international trade in frog meat represents 200 million to 1 billion frogs eaten each year, or about 11,000 tons of frog meat.
The largest destination for frog legs is France, but the USA is a very close second.
Indonesia is the largest exporter by far. But international trade is only part of the picture. The researchers estimate that the domestic consumption of frogs in Indonesia dwarfs the nation’s exports by at least two- to seven-fold.
Trade alone may not be enough of a problem to drive frog species to extinction, but when added to other threats the frogs face, the combination may be enough tip some species over the edge. It’s rarely a single thing that drives a species to to extinction.
But it’s not just frogs that appear on our menus. Here are five other, shall we say, unusual meal items eaten in countries around the world . It was probably not a good idea for me to write this right after a meal, and you may want to check your gag reflex before reading!
- A balut is a fertilized duck (or chicken) egg with a nearly-developed embryo inside that is boiled and eaten in the shell. They are common, everyday food in some countries in Southeast Asia, such as in the Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
- Crickets are eaten by humans in some African and Asian cultures, where they are often considered a delicacy. There have been movements to promote the eating of insects in Western countries because of high protein content, often with little success as most Western people are repulsed by insects.
- Guinea pigs were originally domesticated for their meat in the Andes. It continues to be a major part of the diet in Peru and Bolivia, particularly in the Andes Mountains highlands; it is also eaten in some areas of Ecuador and Colombia. Because guinea pigs require much less room than traditional livestock and reproduce extremely quickly, they are a more profitable source of food and income than many traditional stock animals, such as pigs and cows; moreover, they can be raised in an urban environment.
- Fried scorpions are quite commonly seen on Asian markets. You can taste them in China, Thailand, Cambodia, Bangkok. Scorpions, like insects, are high in protein and apparently consist of important fatty acids and vitamins.
- The Korean delicacy sannakji, is very special dish, as the seafood isn’t quite dead. Live baby octopus are sliced up and seasoned with sesame oil. The tentacles are still squirming when this dish is served and, if not chewed carefully, the tiny suction cups can stick to the mouth and throat.
These and other wonderful oddities of the world can be found on this extremely entertaining blog. Village of Joy – Amazing, Interesting, Wonderful, Weird, Odd and Funny things about our World – is totally fascinating. If you’re squeamish about weird foods, check out weird buildings, or the world’s strangest inventions or any of the other categories. A person could spent a lot of time on this one!