7 animals people eat alive

In many parts of the world, people enjoy eating live animals [Reddit]

Consuming live animals, though disgusting to some, is a tradition for others.

Eating live animals is a practice that spans various cultures and it may seem unusual or even cruel to many, but in some parts of the world, eating live animals is a delicacy with deep cultural roots.

This practice is prevalent in parts of Asia and has historical roots that have evolved over time. The animals are consumed live to maintain their freshness. For these cultures, it’s a tradition or a way to enjoy the freshest possible meat.

Here, we explore seven animals that are commonly eaten alive, the cultures that consume them, and the reasons behind these practices.

1. Octopus

7 animals people eat alive

In South Korea, “sannakji” is a dish that involves eating live octopus. The octopus is cut into small pieces and served immediately while its tentacles are still moving. The appeal lies in the fresh taste and the sensation of the tentacles moving in the mouth. However, it is not without risks, as the suction cups can pose a choking hazard.

2. Fish

In Japan, “ikizukuri” is a method of preparing fish while it is still alive. The fish is sliced into sashimi but kept alive so that diners can see its heart still beating. This dish is valued for its freshness and the experience it provides. Similarly, in China, “yin yang fish” involves deep-frying the body of the fish while keeping its head alive, creating a striking contrast.

7 animals people eat alive

3. Frogs

In Japan, live frog sashimi is a dish where the frog is served live before being quickly prepared.

7 animals people eat alive

The heart is consumed while it is still beating, for a fresh and chewy texture that enthusiasts appreciate. This practice is highly controversial and has faced criticism for its cruelty.

4. Shrimp

“Drunken shrimp” is a popular dish in parts of China. Live shrimp are immersed in a strong liquor that stuns them, making them easier to eat while they are still alive.

7 animals people eat alive

The alcohol also adds a unique flavour to the shrimp. This dish is enjoyed for its freshness and the slight buzz from the alcohol.

5. Sea urchin

Sea urchins, particularly their roe, are consumed live in various parts of the world, including Japan and some Mediterranean countries.

7 animals people eat alive

The spiny creatures are opened up, and their roe is eaten straight from the shell. This method is appreciated for the fresh, oceanic flavour of the roe.

6. Baby mice

In some parts of China, particularly in rural areas, newborn mice are consumed alive. This meal is called called San zhi er, which means “three squeaks.”

7 animals people eat alive

This is because of the three squeaks the mice will make during the meal: the first when they are picked up, the second when they are dipped, and the third when the diner bites down.

This practice is less common but still exists in some traditional settings. It is believed to be a way to obtain health benefits, though it is widely regarded as highly controversial.

7. Insects

In Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia, live insects like ants and beetles are consumed.

7 animals people eat alive

They are eaten as street food or snacks and are valued for their crunchiness and protein content. This practice also has environmental benefits, as insects are a sustainable source of nutrition.

Eating live animals might never become a global norm, but it remains a fascinating aspect of human culinary diversity, and how different cultures relate to food and tradition.

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