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Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them

Are you planning on cooking up something gruesome this Halloween? Well, prepare to be grossed out with our menu of eerily edible dishes from around the world...

Here in the UK, we tend to play things safe when it comes to food. Traditional recipes and local produce form the backbone of many a menu. And when something rather unusual is served it sends ripples through the culinary world; often being labelled as daring or disruptive.

But travel a little farther afield, and you will encounter some truly grizzly and ghoulish concoctions that would send a shiver down the spines of most pie-and-mash-loving Brits.

1. Blood Soup

Visit a restaurant in Vietnam and you could be confronted with a choice of raw duck and geese blood. Served fresh, your bowl is filled just as the animal is slaughtered to ensure your dish is dripping fresh!

But before you write this one off altogether, just remember that the traditional British dish, Black Pudding, is made by mixing pig's blood and fat.

2. Eyeballs

Eyeballs are quite popular in many countries around the world and considered a culinary treat. Whether it's Tuna eyeball snacks in South East Asia or pickled Sheep's eyeballs in tomato juice found in Mongolia. Even in Russia, where Ukha, the famous soup dish is served, they savour the flavour of fish heads swimming in the bowl, complete with salty eyeball accoutrement.

But it's the Icelandic's who seem to be the biggest fans of eye-based dishes - from smoked pig and cow eyeballs to Svio, a boiled sheep's head from which you eat everything, ears, nose, eyes, the lot!

3. Ortolan Bunting

The Ortolan is a small bird of the bunting family Emberizidae. The process of preparing Ortolan is a controversial one - they are meant to be eaten whole, feet first, except for the beak, which you leave protruding through a gap between your lips after placing the deep-fried delight in your mouth.

The bird is first placed on a diet of millet, grapes and figs until it reaches two to four times its usual size, before being drowned in Armagnac.

After roasting the bird for around 8 minutes, the whole thing is placed in the mouth and you then bite down, releasing the pockets of brandy. The French traditionally cover their head and face with a napkin for this.

Hundreds of tiny bones lacerate the gums with minute cuts, which - it's claimed - helps the diner savour the intense flavours.

4. Fresh Donkey

You have probably tried 'Poopy' - the technical term for donkey meat - as it often turns up in salami.

In China, it is quite popular and is as readily available as beef. However, one of the most popular recipes, Huo Jia Lu (literally translated as "Live Donkey") requires the animal to be tied down before the "chefs" carve it up and serve it immediately to the diners who eat it to the gut-wrenching sounds of the animal’s cries.

"Jiao Lu Rou" is a variation on this dish, whereby the chef peels back the skin of the live animal and then pours boiling water onto its flesh until it is cooked.

It goes without saying, we don't condone violence against animals but this dish is as interesting as it is gruesome.

5. Reptile and Rodent Wine

Yes, you read that right. And no, this isn't some recipe for an age-old witches brew - it's a traditional Korean wine considered to be a health tonic. In fact, they brew pretty much anything that creeps, crawls or slithers around, including Cobras!

6. Corn Smut

Whilst you might reel at the thought of some of these dishes because of where they come from and how they're prepared, Corn Smut is vile because of what it is - it's a disease!

When you chow down on a bowl of Corn Smut, you are literally eating the part of the corn infected by the fungus, Ustilago Maydis.

In Mexico, immature galls of infected corn are a delicacy known as Huitlacoche.

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