Yin and Yang Fish – A Controversial Dish That’s Both Dead and Alive

Yin and Yang Fish is a controversial dish where the body of a fish is cooked, while the head is kept fresh so that it moves its mouth and eyes while it is being eaten.

From fish that smells like a public toilet, to a cheese as hard as rock and even a fish-head-stuffed pie, the world is full of weird foods, but few dishes can be described as truly disturbing. Well, the dish you’re about to discover is one such rarity. Reportedly invented in the early 2000s, by a restauranteur in Chiayi City, Taiwan, Yin and Yang fish, also known as “dead and alive fish”, is definitely not a dish for the faint of heart. It consist of a whole fish, usually carp, whose body has been cooked and covered in sauce, but whose head is maintained raw so that its mouth and eyes are still moving while it is being eaten.

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Cascatelli – The Ideally Shaped Pasta You Didn’t Even Know Existed

Inspired by the firm belief that spaghetti is far from the ideal shape for pasta, a man set out to create a perfectly shaped pasta. The result of his hard work is now known as cascatelli.

The story of how cascatelli came to be began in 2018, when Dan Pashman, the host of the James Beard and Webby Award-winning “Sporkful” podcast, made some harsh remarks about spaghetti, on the stage of the Caveat Theater, in front of a live audience. His comments got a lot of attention and inspired him to dedicate a lot of his time to researching pasta shapes in a quest to create the ideal pasta design, which needed to have an appealing texture, have the perfect bite, and, most importantly, hold the right amount of sauce. Believe it or not, he spent almost three years on this project.

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This Moldy-Looking Bun Is Actually a Creamy Delicacy

Photos of a moldy-looking bun sold on Chinese online marketplace Taobao have been getting a lot of attention on Asian social media lately, because of its unappetizing appearance.

Chinese company Nanjing Yican Foods has been turning a lot of heads with a rather unique-looking product – match and cheese bun that looks a few months past its expiration date. Underneath its light brown exterior, the cheese matcha bun has a light green appearance that looks just like the disgusting food mold that develops on old bread products. Only it’s actually worse than that, as squeezing the bun causes the green matcha and cheese mixture to ooze out of it…

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Escamol – The Insect Caviar of Mexico

Escamol is an ancient dish made with the edible larvae and pupae of two species of ants, known for its nutty, buttery flavor. It has been consumed in Mexico since the time of the Aztecs.

Commonly known as ‘Mexican caviar’, because of its similarity to fish eggs, escamol consists larvae and pupae of ants belonging to the Liometopum apiculatum and L. occidentale, two species native to some semi-arid areas of Mexico and the southern United States. Its origins can be traced back hundreds of years, back to the time of the Aztecs, when consumption of insects as food was very common. Escamol was considered a delicacy by the Aztecs, who would trade for it with nomadic tribes such as the Otomis, because it was difficult to procure. Its price in Mexican restaurants suggests that escamol has retained its status as delicacy in modern times as well.

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This Incredibly Delicate Shaved Ice Dessert Looks Just Like Fine Noodles

Shiltarae bingsu, or stringed shaved ice, is a modern take on a popular South Korean treat that consists of amazingly fine ice shavings that look like super-thin pasta.

You’ve probably heard of spaghetti ice-cream before, but this is nothing like that. Shiltarae bingsu is reportedly an incredibly airy and creamy treat that not only looks good but tastes great as well. It was allegedly invented a few years back by Seoul-based café and dessert lab Tiravento, and has since become a staple dessert, and a sought-after props for Instagram users. There is no denying the visual appeal of this treat, as the shaved ice actually looks like noodles before it starts to melt.

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Threads of God – The World’s Rarest Pasta Is Also One of the Most Difficult to Make

The small town of Nuoro, on Italy’s Sardinia island, is home to what many are calling the world’s rarest pasta, an intricate, hand-made treat that only a handful of people can make.

Known as su filindeu (in Sardinia’s Sardo dialect), or Fili di Dio (in Italian), and translated as threads of God, this traditional pasta had been linked to La Festa di San Francesco, an ancient religious ritual celebrated every year, in May. For the past two hundred years, the only way to try threads of god pasta was to complete a 33km pilgrimage on foot or horseback from Nuoro to the village of Lula. But because this sacred dish is in serious danger of becoming extinct, the only three women in the world who know how to make it, have been trying to save it by making it more accessible.

67-year-old named Paola Abraini picked up the skills to make threads of god pasta from her mother, who also learned them from her mother, and so on for many generations. However, only one of her two daughters knows the basic technique, but lacks the passion and the patience necessary to carry on the family tradition. The only other two women who she managed to pass on her knowledge to – Abraini’s niece and her sister-in-law – don’t have any daughters to pass the secrets to, so su filindeu is in grave danger of vanishing.

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Gangina – The Afghan Way of Keeping Grapes Fresh For Up to Six Months

Gangina is a traditional means of keeping grapes and other fruits fresh for several months, by sealing them in air-tight containers made of wet soil.

Grapes are tricky to keep fresh for long periods of time, even when refrigeration is available, but apparently Afghans have long been using an ancient method of keeping the soft fruits fresh for consumption in the winter months, when fresh fruits are otherwise hard to come by. Called gangina, this ingenious conservation technique involves sealing healthy grapes in a saucer-like container made of two layers of wet soil. The container is left in the sun to dry and then has to be kept in a cool place, away from direct sunlight. If stored properly, gangina containers can keep grapes picked in autumn fresh until next year’s spring season.

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Coquitos – The Tiny Coconuts of the Chilean Wine Palm

Coquitos, also known as pigmy coconuts or dwarf coconuts, are the tiny equivalent of the coconuts we all know (and some of us love).

It’s hard to believe that I spent over three decades on this Earth and only learned that there is such a thing as a tiny, marble-sized coconut, today. Well, it may be common knowledge to a lot of people – especially if you’re from, or have travelled to South America – but it’s definitely news to me, so I thought I’d share it with similarly clueless people like myself. Known as coquitos, these miniature coconuts are the fruit of  Jubaea chilensis, a feather-leaved palm native to Chile, and, just like regular coconuts, they have a brown exterior, a white interior with a hollow center, and very similar taste.

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Stargazy Pie – An English Pastry Dish With Fish Heads Sticking Out of It

When it comes to unusual and unappetizing-looking Christmas dishes, there are few meals out there that can compete with the Stargazy Pie, a pie with fish heads protruding through the crust, appearing to be gazing skyward.

England is home to a variety of pies, from classics like apple pie and pork pie, to less known treats like steak and ale pie, or pot pie. But none of these pastry treats hold a candle to the famous Stargazy Pie, when it comes to wow factor. No matter how elaborate your pie design is, you just can’t beat half a dozen cooked sardine heads (and sometimes tails) sticking out from the hearty dough crust, looking towards the sky. It looks almost as “delicious” as Japan’s alien dumplings, doesn’t it?

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Alien Dumplings – A Downright Scary-Looking Dish

The world is full of unappetizing dishes, from fermented fish dishes to the dreaded Kiviaq, but few actually look scary to get near to, let alone put in your mouth. These Japanese dumplings definitely fall in the latter category.

Last year, we published a story on one of the world’s most bizarre looking fish, the eel-like Warusobo, also known as the “Alien of the Ariake Sea“. One look at this slimy creature, and that nickname makes all the sense in the world. I don’t know if it’s those pointy teeth, or the lack of eyes, but there’s just something otherworldly about these things. That’s hasn’t stopped the people of Saga Prefecture, which borders the Ariake Sea, from turning the alien creature into a staple of local cuisine, including the delicious dumplings below.

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After 20 Years, Court Tells Baker to Stop Selling Cookies Made With Sawdust

A German baker who has reportedly been selling sawdust cookies for around two decades has recently been ordered to stop, as the finely milled wood has been deemed unfit for human consumption.

An administrative court in the southwestern German city of Karlsruhe has upheld a decision to ban the sale of cookies made with sawdust, despite the producer’s claim that they were a traditional vegetable product. The unnamed baker had been operating a mail order business, selling his sawdust cookies all over Germany. He openly listed sawdust as an ingredient on the packaging of his biscuits, and had already written to the city of Karlsruhe about his practice back in 2004, but received no answer. Then, in 2017, a routine examination of a biscuit sample led to a sales ban which he then contested in court.

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Chả rươi – Vietnam’s Popular Worm Omelet

Chả rươi, or sand worm omelet, is a seasonal Vietnamese dish made with unsightly, two-inch-long sea worms that some say give the “delicacy” a caviar-like taste.

Every year, in late fall, street food stalls in northern Vietnam, particularly in Hanoi, serve a very special dish that looks very ordinary at first glance, but that actually contains a very peculiar ingredient. Chả rươi looks like a well-done egg dish mixed with various herbs, but owes its meaty texture and seafood taste to the ingredient that gives the treat its name – sand worms. Beaten egg, tangerine peel, onions, dill and spices, before the two-inch-long sea worms are added. The result is an ordinary-looking omelet with a very meaty kick that fans can’t get enough of in the months leading up to winter.

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The Whimsical Pie Art of Liz Joy-Murray

Liz Joy-Murray, an ex-Hollywood art director turned food artist creates sugary masterpieces that look way too good to eat.

Looking at Liz Joy-Murray’ intricate pies, it’s hard to believe that she has only been creating food art for only three years. It all started when she had to take a break from her Hollywood career for health-related reasons. She had to fill her time somehow, and baking just stood out to her, only, being an artist at heart, Liz didn’t just settle for baking delicious treats, she decided to use her baked goods as canvases for her creative and vividly colored designs.

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Too Good to Eat – Helen Nugent’s Artistically Decorated Pies

Helen Nugent is the Toronto-based pie maker who specializes in stunning, intricately designed pies that are definitely way too good to eat.

Thanksgiving may already be behind us this year, but there’s never a bad time for a pie, especially one that looks as amazing as those made by Helen Nugent, a self-taught food artist who abandoned her career in corporate communications to focus on her passion, baking. Today, Helen is recognized as one of the world’s leading pie artists, has her own cookbook, and collaborates with various food-themed magazines and even the Food Network. And to think it all started with a photo of a beautiful pie she saw on the internet…

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World’s Most Expensive Piece of Ham Sells for $14,000

A Spanish ham producer recently announced that it sold the most expensive piece of traditional Iberian ham to a Japanese buyer for the outrageous price of 12,000 euros ($14,100).

Julio Revilla, president of Sierra Mayor Jabugo, an Iberian ham producer based in Corteconcepción, Spain’s Huelva region, said that the record-breaking piece of ham was prepared following the strict instructions of the buyer. They requested that the ham come from an Iberian pig at least two years old that had been grazing in the mountains of Sierra Mayor for at least 100 days. The animal had to gain at least 100 kilos during the time they spend grazing and that their diet consisted only of acorns and herbs. Finally, the curing period for the ham was five years, double the normal curing period for premium ham.

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