What Are Some Food Taboos in Different Cultures?

One example of a food taboo in a different culture is pork, which is popular across much of the United States, but is forbidden in Jewish and Muslim cultures. In contrast, while many Americans would never eat a cockroach, it is acceptable to do so in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Other food taboos in different cultures include:

  • People who eat a meal in the Dominican Republic do not engage in any activity, including exercise, for 30 minutes to 1 hour afterwards.
  • While people living in New York City may see rats as revolting creatures, there are parts of West Africa, such as Togo, where they are considered nutritious. Unlike New York City, the rats in Togo do not live in an environment where they are constantly in contact with disease.
  • While most people would not want to eat a sheep's head or a rotting shark, this is an annual practice in Iceland when the population feasts to celebrate its Viking ancestry.
  • There are members of an Anglo-Indian community that see the eating of an animal fetus as a delicacy. Some believe this dish, known as "Kutt Pi," is useful for pregnant women and people with tuberculosis.
  • In some parts of Venezuela, indigenous groups drink a plantain soup that contains the ashes of dead family members.