The Ugliest Animals We Eat

Despite the fact that they look repulsive, species like monkfish, geoduck, and warthog are prepared and consumed by cultures across the globe.

  • Photo: Asian Town Blog, 10,000 Birds, Wikipedia, Wikimedia
  • MONKFISHCulinary uses: This versatile bottom-dwelling fish is prepared using a variety of cooking methods, and it is often served in soups and stews. 
Commonly used in: Western and Japanese cuisine(Photos: New England Boating, Inside a British Mum's Kitchen)
  • BATSCulinary uses: Bats are often roasted and sold as street food, or cooked in soup.Commonly used in: Filipino, Thai, and Chinese cuisine(Photos: Asian Town Blog, Macheesmo)
  • GEODUCKCulinary uses: Jokes about its shape aside, the geoduck (gooey-duck) is a kind of clam. It can be served sashimi-style or as a ceviche.Commonly used in: Korean and American cuisine(Photos: NOAA, The Satiated Pig)
  • WARTHOGCulinary uses: These rough-looking hogs are traditionally served roasted.Commonly used in: South African cuisine(Photos: Pink Poppadom, Wikipedia)
  • SEA LAMPREYCulinary uses: This freaky eel-like creature is the main ingredient in lamprey pie. The dish, which is similar to shepherd's pie, is a traditional favorite of the British royal family. Additionally, sea lamprey can be grilled. 
Commonly used in: English, Portuguese, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean cuisine(Photos: Animals Town, WBEZ)
  • SEA CUCUMBERCulinary uses: This gelatinous delicacy can be stewed in various meat stocks, or coupled with other prized sea critters like abalone as part of a seafood soup. The sea cucumber assumes the flavor of whatever ingredients it is paired with.Commonly used in: Chinese and Japanese cuisine(Photos: FOX News, Redcook)
  • GROUPERCulinary uses: Although ugly, grouper has a mild flavor that makes it very popular when grilled or baked.
Commonly used in: Cuisines around the world, depending which type of grouper you're referring to(Photos: Hot and Hot Fish Club, PCB)
  • MUSCOVY DUCKCulinary uses: Famous for the fleshy growths on their heads, these ducks are leaner than their more traditional relatives. In a culinary context, the animals are often referred to as "Barbary ducks," and their breasts are typically served roasted. Commonly used in: American, Central American, and South American cuisine(Photos: 10,000 Birds, Dartagnan)
  • WOLF EELCulinary uses: The wolf eel is sometimes called the sea cat because of its size. The fish is reportedly firm and delicate-tasting, and should be pan-fried or poached.Commonly used in: The wolf eel is found from the British Isles in the east to the coast of Maine in the west. It is also found near Norway.(Photos: Storify, Wikimedia)

We like to think we’re adventurous eaters, but everyone has a line they’d rather not cross. With some of us, it’s crustaceans and their creepy-crawly legs that disturb us. For others, it’s the animal babies: calves, lambs, and the like.

But unlike baby cows and lobsters, some of the animals we eat are truly, outrageously repulsive looking. If your pan-seared monkfish looks delicious, it’s not because it started out that way; monkfish are so revolting-looking, in fact, that countries such as France once banned them, due to people being too frightened by their appearance.

Despite the fact that they look horrid, animals from geoduck to warthog can be quite tasty. For this reason, they are prepared and consumed by cultures across the globe.

Click through the gallery to see 9 of the ugliest-looking animals that we love to eat.

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