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Fancy some harkarl? Thought not

Always be suspicious of so-called delicacies. ‘In far Eastern countries the sheep’s testicle is considered a delicacy,’ the cultured will tell you, but the thing is, with any kind of animal testicle do they siphon out the sperm beforehand?

I think we need to know.

Anyway, sperm siphon or not there are still all manner of horrors within the so-called ‘delicacy’ territory. Here are a few you might want to steer clear of:

Balut – Philippines
Filipinos are a rotten lot and if you order Balut you’ll get fertilised chicken or duck egg that’s been buried in the ground for a week. It’ll be served soft-boiled as half-formed chicklet and convention dictates that you eat it straight out of the shell with a spoon. Don’t worry, though, there is no need to fret about choking because the bones and feathers are only partially formed. Like all delicacies it’s touted as an aphrodisiac – a gossamer-thin marketing claim for anything that tastes disgusting.

Casu Marzu – Sardinia
Go to a Sardinian restaurant and the waiter, if he’s having a particularly bad day, will recommend Casu Marzu. Correctly translated, it means ‘rotten cheese’ and surprise surprise, it smells like it. But that’s not the real problem: that will be the live insect larvae inside. The larvae measure 8mm and can jump approximately six inches when you piss them off. Other than that, their primary role is to munch upon the fats in the cheese and make it softer. Sensible people remove the worms before eating but those without their full complement of mental faculties leave them in.
There’s another setback if you ‘mange tout’ – the worms can live in your intestines and severe lesions will result if their plan to escape through your intestinal walls is successful.  Yep, give the Casu Marzu a wide berth.

Harkarl – Iceland
Björk is mad, but that’s because she’s probably been tucking into Harkarl on a regular basis. This Icelandic delicacy is made from shark meat buried in the ground and topped off with manure. After six weeks of decomposition Harkarl farmers dig it up and sell it to normal people. On the plate, it’s presented cold and sliced. Diners who have feasted on this say it tastes like cheese.

Cobra blood – Indonesia
In selected regions of the world the cobra is regarded as a symbol of strength and virility so stupid people think that gives them licence to drink its blood. They think it’ll help sustain a decent erection and allow you to father many children. It’s usually served with a shot of alcohol and served as a shooter. It’s not for the faint-hearted – the waiter will behead the live cobra at your request and you will be invited to witness the process. If you like you can have the cobra’s heart as an accompaniment, which you can wash down with the blood. There is a sliding scale as far as pricing is concerned: a black and white cobra might set you back a fiver but the juice of a king cobra will cost around £70. Bargain.

Cibreo – Tuscany
The Cibreo is the wobbly bit of the cock, specifically, the red crown on the head of a rooster. It’s served in stew and tastes like old women’s ankles.