The Weirdest Eating Habits From Around The World
What a culture of people eats is just as unique as the culture itself. In the United States, eating habits are pretty typical. Even vegetarians go to fast food establishments almost ritualistically. To call the eating habits of other countries “unique” would be an understatement. Here’s some of the more unusual from across the world:
1. Kenyan Blood Drinking
Cows are most commonly used in the West for the milk they produce or the beef they can provide. On the continent of Africa, cows are treated far differently. Historically, cow’s blood helped those traveling across the hot desert when supplies were scarce. The Masai (or Maasai) of Kenya still practice the ritual drinking of cow’s blood, sometimes mixing it with milk.
On occasion, they will drink the blood directly from the cow.
2. Japanese Fugu
It is pretty common knowledge that humans should avoid all forms of poison, right? The Japanese (almost) throw caution to the wind when it comes to the Japanese pufferfish.
The tiny creature is famously poisonous and there is no known antidote for the tetrodotoxin it carries. Removing the toxin carefully requires years of training.
Some chefs do their best to leave just a small bit of toxin, enough to slightly tingle the mouth of the consumer.
3. Thailand Vegetarian Festival
On the Thai island of Phuket, an annual vegetarian celebration takes place. Residents of the island abstain from meat and observe ‘holy rituals’ meant to bring luck in the coming year.
You would think a vegetarian celebration doesn’t involve blood, right? Well, in Phuket, those celebrating may walk themselves over a lane of hot coals or insert various bladed object through their cheeks. All of these dangerous activities are meant to be part of a ‘spiritual cleansing.’
If you want to observe this festival in person, make sure you can stomach the crazy displays of ‘faith.’
4. Mushroom Meditation
Throughout human history, many things have been ingested to help a person reach enlightenment, or make it easier to connect with one’s ‘higher self.’
In Siberia, a group of people known as the Koryak meditate with the aid of hallucinogenic mushrooms. These mushrooms are rumored to help them communicate with the spirits.
Mushrooms are ingested as part of their spiritual practice, and most will ingest their own urine to prolong the psychoactive effects of the toxic flora.
5. Egypt Burping Custom
In some cases, a person’s burps might be related to a health problem. But most of the time, it is caused by the gases released by semi-digested food. To belch and refrain from saying “excuse me” afterward is considered rude in most cultures.
In the North African country of Egypt, however, it is considered one of the highest compliments a person can give. It is considered a remark on the quality of food prepared by their host.
If you are visiting a friend for dinner or even a restaurant in Egypt, feel free to let out a burp or two. It’s the ultimate compliment there.
6. China’s “Clean Plate”
Depending on how you were raised, you might have been told to “clean your plate.” When you are a child, cleaning off a plate is pretty hard considering how small your stomach would be.
In Chinese culture, finishing off everything you were served is seen as very rude. Devouring everything on the plate implies that the host did not provide enough sustenance.
The proper etiquette for the Chinese is to leave a little rice to show your host “I enjoyed my meal and there was more than enough.”
7. Slurping in Japan
Have you ever been told things like “don’t slurp that drink” or “don’t slurp your food like that”? If you have, you probably belong to a culture or country where it is socially unacceptable to slurp one’s meal.
Although considered rude in many parts of the world, the Japanese culture considers it a high compliment to slurp noodles. Many believe that doing so improves the flavor and is indicative of a well-enjoyed meal.
8. Flipping Fish
This is an odd habit rooted heavily in superstition. In China, to turn a fish to get to the other side is considered very bad luck. Flipping a fish symbolically represents a capsizing boat, and no one likes an upside-down boat, right?