banned foods

16 Banned Foods That People Find Delicious

Some foods are banned because they’re dangerous, some are forbidden because they’re illegal, and others are just plain gross. But one thing these banned foods have in common is their deliciousness. That’s right: People love eating these outlawed delicacies despite the potential consequences of doing so!

Fugu (Japan)

Fugu Filet is a Banned Food
Fugu Filet is a Banned Food

A dish that’s banned in Japan is Fugu. It’s a type of puffer fish, which is highly poisonous if it’s not prepared correctly. The fish must be cut open, gutted, and its organs removed before being served to you. It can cost anywhere between $100-$1000 per serving. This rare dish may kill you if you don’t prepare it right or have an allergic reaction. But if designed correctly, fugu is said to be one of the most delicious foods on Earth!

Shark fin soup (Hong Kong)

Shark fins in Singapore Market
Shark fins in Singapore Market

This regional dish originated in China, and it’s one of the most expensive and sought-after delicacies in Hong Kong. The dish was banned in 2012 because it was deemed too cruel to sharks, who are often caught while still alive (and sometimes their fins are cut off while they’re still breathing). Despite this ban, people still enjoy eating shark fin soup when they can afford it—the ban may not have been successful enough for this dish to disappear from menus entirely.

Casu Marzu (Sardinia, Italy)

Casu marzu, maggot cheese, is a traditional Sardinian sheep’s milk cheese. The cheese contains live insect larvae—the Casu Marzu-infested cheeses are banned in the EU. These larvae can be seen wriggling around inside their casings and can jump up to six inches if disturbed.

Casu marzu is not only stinky; it’s also considered unfit for human consumption because of its high level of hygiene risk—but locals say it tastes delicious.

Haggis (U.S.)

Haggis is a Scottish dish made from sheep’s heart, liver and lungs. It is often served with neeps (turnips) and tatties (potatoes). In the U.S., haggis was banned in 1971 due to its high risk of carrying disease such as trichinosis. Canada bans it as well because they consider it too similar to sausage, which is already banned by Canadian law.

In the UK, you can buy offal at any butcher shop or supermarket without any problem.

Kopi Luwak (Indonesia)

The Luwak is Like a Racoon, But eats coffee beans
The Luwak is Like a Racoon But eats coffee beans

Few foods are as expensive and as controversial as Kopi Luwak. The world’s most expensive coffee is made from coffee beans that have been digested and excreted by the Asian palm civet (also known as the Luwak). Yes, you read that correctly: to make this cup of joe, a creature must first eat the bean before it gets cleaned up in preparation for roasting. The resulting brew looks like any other type of coffee except for its brownish hue.

Kopi Luwak has been outlawed in many countries due to its exotic animal origins. In addition, the civets are kept in cages on farms where they’re fed only fresh green coffee beans. They’ll produce more feces with higher concentrations of caffeine than would generally be found in their diet.

The good news? You don’t have to pay $100 per cup if you want to try some yourself: Kopi Luwak is generally sold online at $50-$60 per pound!

Pufferfish (England)


If you’ve ever wondered why people would eat such a poisonous food, know that puffer fish is considered a delicacy in Japan. It’s prepared in several ways, including tempura (fried and served with salt) or broiled with miso sauce and soy sauce. Unike Asian Carp, the puffer is an expensive and rare dish that is hard to find.

Puffer fish contains tetrodotoxin (TTX), which causes paralysis of the muscles and respiratory failure. Symptoms include numbness, muscle aches, and headaches. In some cases, it can even cause death if not treated properly.

Horse meat (U.S.)

Horse meat is banned in the U.S., but it is legal to sell and eat horse meat in other countries. Even though it’s not legal here, horsemeat isn’t hard to come by if you know where to look.

It’s a delicacy in many countries, including France—where it’s called chevaline. The French even have their own version of the burger: la Croque-cheval. This method involves deep-frying ground horsemeat patties with cheese inside a crispy bread shell (usually served with French fries).

Ackee fruit (Jamaica)

Ackee is a fruit that looks like a bright red tomato with spikes on its skin. The fruit is highly poisonous until it’s ripe, and then it has a pleasant taste similar to bananas. However, the seeds are toxic to dogs and can be fatal if ingested by them—and they are banned in the U.S. and Canada (but not Jamaica).

It may surprise you to learn that ackee isn’t banned for its toxicity or for being potentially life-threatening to both humans and pets alike—it’s actually illegal because of its resemblance to marijuana leaves! If you’re traveling through Singapore, keep an eye out for this tropical fruit; if you happen to see any ackee growing wild or being sold at markets there, don’t touch it!

Bushmeat (Africa)

Bushmeat, which is also called wild game meat, is a traditional food in many African countries. It’s often eaten at festivals and celebrations and is a source of protein in areas where people don’t have access to other types of meat. Conservationists are concerned that bushmeat may be contributing to the decline of endangered species like gorillas, chimpanzees and elephants who are killed for their flesh.

Raw milk and unpasteurized cheese products (U.S.)

Raw milk, unlike pasteurized milk, is straight from the cow to your refrigerator without any additional processing. The dangers of drinking raw milk are numerous—it can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that can cause severe illnesses or even death. Raw milk also has a shorter shelf life because it hasn’t undergone any heating or pasteurization process to kill off potential harmful microorganisms. However, if you’re someone who enjoys raw milk products (think cheeses), you may be wondering why these foods aren’t banned in America since they’re unsafe for consumption by everyone else around the world. Well…

African Bullfrog (South Africa)

The African bullfrog—a large, invasive species native to Southern Africa—is considered a delicacy in South Africa. In fact, you can even find frog meat on the menus at some of Cape Town’s most prestigious restaurants. However, if you’re looking for a place to try this exotic dish outside of South Africa or Hawaii (where it’s also somewhat popular), don’t make any plans yet: Frogs are illegal to import into the United States (unless they’re already dead) and illegal to own in California.

Kinder Eggs (U.S. and Canada)

Kinder Eggs are banned in the US because of a choking hazard, but they’re still available for purchase in Canada. The treat consists of a chocolate egg with a plastic toy inside that can be removed through an opening at the top of the egg; it remains legal in Canada because it’s not considered a choking hazard. However, these eggs are banned outright in both countries due to potential lead poisoning—the coating on them contains enough lead to exceed allowable limits set by Health Canada and USFDA guidelines.

Foie Gras (California)

Foie gras is a French delicacy made from the fattened liver of duck or goose. In 2012, California banned the sale of foie gras after animal rights groups argued that it was cruel. The process forces geese and ducks to consume more food than they usually eat so that their livers would become engorged and enlarged.

In 2015, however, an appeals court overturned California’s ban on selling foie gras. However, several other states have also banned its sale (though not necessarily production).

Durian fruit (Singapore)

Durian is a fruit native to Southeast Asia that’s banned in Singapore. It has a strong, musky odor and a custard-like flesh with large, creamy seeds. The smell is so bad that it’s illegal to transport durian on public transportation or in taxis in Singapore. Durians are eaten raw as a dessert or made into ice cream and other desserts like durian cheesecake or durian pancakes.

If you love this forbidden fruit, you can find it at many Asian grocery stores in the United States—but beware! If you take one home without first peeling off its spiky outer shell and tossing out the insides (which includes some nasty-looking white foam), you’ll probably regret it later when the smell permeates your house for days on end!

Chewing gum containing chrysanthemum and/or bergamot oils (Singapore)

Chewing gum containing chrysanthemum and/or bergamot oils is banned in Singapore.

Why it’s banned: The presence of these oils is thought to cause dental problems.

If you’re in Singapore and want to chew gum, buy sugar-free gum or make your own with pureed fruit or vegetables.

People are willing to risk fines and even jail time to eat these banned foods

People risk fines and even jail time for eating these banned foods. They’re willing to break the law, go to great lengths, or travel long distances for a taste. But why? Why is it so crucial for people to eat things that have been outlawed? There must be something about them that we can’t quite put our finger on.

It may be similar to those who only seek out healthy foods. The thrill is in the hunt and being able to try new things.

Final Thoughts on Banned Foods

You might not be able to visit these countries and try these foods. But at least now you can know what the fuss is about. You might be shocked at how many people are willing to risk fines or even jail time just to taste some of these banned foods. But if there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, we all want what we like best!

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