From blood sausage to black pudding, these are the weirdest, grossest, and most delicious blood-based foods in the world.
Whether you love the shimmering emo vampires of the Twilight Saga or you’re more of a fan of the brooding nightwalkers inhabiting Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel Dracula, or perhaps you simply enjoy the taste of blood now and again, we’ve got quite a bleeding treat in store for you here. While we know some of these blood-infused dishes aren’t for everyone (vegetarians and vegans be warned), if you haven’t shaken off that raw, carnivorous side of your evolutionary biology just yet, perhaps some of these edible blood-based delights might appeal to the blood-drinking creature (just like Dracula) lurking inside of you.
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Portuguese Arroz de Cabidela
When in search of a blood-soaked meal, Portuguese arroz (rice) de cabidela should satisfy your saltiest of cravings. This bloody concoction, made with freshly slaughtered chicken or rabbit cooked in its own blood, is definitely not for squeamish eaters. With a hefty dose of vinegar and water thrown into the mix, arroz de cabidela turns into a brownish stew of rice, meat, and blood for ravenous diners to enjoy.
Vietnam’s Pork Blood Porridge
A sizable helping of Vietnamese cháo huyết (pork blood congee, or blood porridge) delivers exactly what’s promised—lots of bloody gruel. This Southeast Asian dish is made with blocks of congealed pork blood, pork flesh, a few lighter veggies like spring onions, plus a dash of herbs like garlic and ginger for some extra flavor. If you crave a warm, bloody meal on a chilly day, cháo huyết won’t disappoint.
Blodplättar, or blood pancakes, are a plasma-based Swedish treat that, given the accurate and descriptive name, make it pretty easy to guess what you’ll get after ordering up a batch. In essence, they’re fried, blood pudding flapjacks. Popular in Finland and Norway as well, these protein-rich pancakes, packed with iron, can be whipped together with a batter made of pork blood, milk, flour, and a few other basic ingredients (like molasses and salt), depending on the particular recipe being used.
French Coq au Vin
If you want to go the traditional route when it comes to France’s coq au vin, get ready for lots of chicken blood. This dish calls for an old rooster, red wine, mushrooms, garlic, bacon, and plenty of other appetizing ingredients. Back in the day, when people were living an entirely farm-to-table lifestyle (there were no other options), fresh chicken blood, rather than flour, was the main thickening agent used in coq au vin. Flour is mainly employed these days as fresh chicken blood isn’t as easy to come by as it used to be.
British Black Pudding
While many cultures enjoy black (blood) pudding, this hearty mix of animal blood, fat, and oatmeal is probably the best-known blood-infused food staple in the English-speaking world. Usually stuffed into sausage casings and served in a variety of ways—including in slices, which are then fried or boiled—black pudding tends to divide public opinion as to whether it’s a nutritious part of a delicious breakfast or something yucky to be avoided at all costs.
Italian Sanguinaccio Dolce
Blood and chocolate sounds like the name of a movie about passionate love affairs and cooking. And that description isn’t too far off the mark when it comes to the contrasting flavors of sanguinaccio dolce. This dessert from southern Italy is made with fresh pig’s blood, which is sweetened with chocolate, milk, and sugar, then cooked into a velvety, dark chocolate pudding that will satisfy someone’s sweet tooth, and bloodlust all at the same time.
Poland’s czarnina stew brims over with a rich and sour tang, which comes from vinegar mixed with duck or goose blood. And if you’re in the mood for a bunny, fresh rabbit blood can be swapped for the slaughtered duck. Czarnina is a pretty straightforward soup (black in color thanks to the blood), with a few different regional varieties found across Eastern Europe. Sweeter ingredients, like prunes or pears, are often thrown in to offset the vinegary taste, as well as some salt and pepper for a bit of extra zip.
Spain’s Sangre Encebollada
Sangre encebollada is a blood and onion concoction that makes for a robust Spanish. meal. Start with a ridiculous amount of congealed chicken blood, toss in a bunch of chopped potatoes and onions, then fry the whole assortment of veggies and blood cubes up with some white wine and olive oil. The end result is a brown, bloody culinary indulgence for anyone brave enough to give sangre encebollada a go.
If you decide to try dinuguan in the Philippines, you’ll be diving into a stew of pork simmered in swine blood. This spicy stew is usually made with viscera (intestines) or offal (inner organs), mixed with blood and vinegar. It’s then given some fiery zest with a helping of skinny siling mahaba chilis. While this pile of stewed blood and organs isn’t for the gastronomically fussy, anyone who does partake will have his or her daily protein needs more than met after downing a heaping bowlful of dinuguan.
Taiwan’s Pig Blood Cakes
If you enjoy street eats, and fancy nibbling on pig blood cake served up like a popsicle, the outdoor markets of Taiwan are a great place to be. This deep-fried snack consists of glutinous pig blood covered with sticky rice and peanut flour. While it’s not a sweet treat, but rather a savory snack, if you ever find yourself wandering around a food market in Taiwan, why not pick up one of these bloody popsicles from a local vendor and give it a try?
China’s Bloody Curd
While most people associate tofu with a healthy vegetarian diet, if you have the chance to tuck into a block of Chinese blood curd (looks and feels like dark tofu), you’ll be committing a massive vegetarian no-no. Usually made with congealed pig (or duck) blood, blood curd can take the place of tofu or meat in a stir-fry dish, or it can be fried up and tossed on top of a bed of greens, or into a steaming hot soup broth. Just like traditional tofu, it’s a versatile ingredient. And for meat-eaters keen on making sure every part of an animal gets used, blood curd ensures that an animal’s blood doesn’t go to waste.
Portugal’s Papas De Sarrabulho
Papas de sarrabulho is a thick blood stew popular in northern Portugal, especially in the city of Porto. Made with potatoes (papas) and different types of meat (chicken, ham, pork, etc.), all cooked in a bath of pork blood, papas de sarrabulho is a mushy mix of blood, starch, and protein. With its distinctive, commanding flavor, if you’re brave enough to sample papas de sarrabulho, you’ll either fall in love with this dish, or else come away swearing off blood-based cuisine for rest of your life.