10 Foods That Can Be Eaten Raw & 10 That Should Be Avoided

10 Foods That Can Be Eaten Raw & 10 That Should Be Avoided

While we don't typically associate raw foods with being edible, there are a unique set of dishes served around the world that are in fact, eaten raw. No cooking involved! If you're not an adventurous eater, this list may not appeal to you, but if you are, it's time to open up your world to a whole new style of food. Here are 10 unique dishes that can be eaten raw, and we've also provided 10 raw foods that definitely shouldn't be. It's important that you stay safe out there too.

1. Beef Tartare

While we do enjoy a delicious medium rare steak from time to time, eating completely raw beef is a different story. It might seem scary to eat, maybe even dangerous, but don't worry, there are plenty of edible raw beef dishes out there. Cue the beef tartare. Made with finely chopped raw beef, a variety of seasonings, and often even topped with raw egg yolk, this is one unique dish that can be eaten raw.

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2. Mett

The idea of eating raw minced pork sounds terrifying right? We've always been told not to eat meat raw, so it's hard to go against that now. Mett however, is a German delicacy that is enjoyed regularly and consists of raw minced pork seasoned with a variety of spices. It's usually eaten on top of bread with raw onions, and the pork is always served incredibly fresh to ensure safety.

1024Px-Mett X UdlThilo Specht on Wikimedia Commons

3. Carpaccio

Carpaccio is essentially an appetizer or light meal made from raw fish or meat that has been very thinly sliced. While it's generally made using raw beef, it can also be made with salmon or tuna. Typically seasoned with vibrant ingredients like olive oil and lemon juice, it's known to be a rather refreshing and enjoyable dish.

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4. Sashimi

Sushi and sashimi have completely taken the world by storm, becoming a popular favourite for many. Sashimi in particular, is all about enjoying the fresh flavours of raw fish. When dipped in soy sauce and wasabi, each bite is just bursting with amazing flavour. Sashimi served in restaurants is always carefully prepped and taken care of to ensure your safety.

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5. Ceviche

Let's head over to Latin America to explore another delicious raw dish that has become popular in America. Ever heard of ceviche? Made with raw fish that has been marinating in a delicious blend of citrus juices and spices, it's typically eaten with bread or crackers as a refreshing appetizer.

Leo-Roza--8Zjh3Epfhc-UnsplashPhoto by Léo Roza on Unsplash

6. Prosciutto

Often served on a charcuterie board, prosciutto is a beloved dry-cured ham that tastes delicious when paired with the right cheeses and fruits. It's typically sliced incredibly thin, leaving behind an almost "melt-in-your-mouth" texture that is hard to believe, especially since it's not cooked!

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7. Salami

Despite being uncooked, salami is another cured meat that is completely safe to eat. The curing and fermentation process helps remove the harmful bacteria that makes raw food dangerous to eat. You'll often see this used in sandwiches or served on a charcuterie board, with its punch of flavour (thanks to all its wonderful spices and seasonings) making every bite enjoyable. 

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8. Oysters

While we can't say for certain that you won't get sick from eating raw oysters, many people around the world continue to eat them anyway. Most restaurants will do their best to keep them as fresh and clean as possible for your safety too. Raw oysters are considered quite the delicacy, and are generally slurped as is with a bit of lemon juice or hot sauce. 

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9. Horse Meat

Here's a wild one - in some parts of Europe and Asia, raw horse meat is considered a unique delicacy. In Japan for example, it's a dish called basashi and is typically served cold and thinly sliced. It's certainly a different cut of meat than we're used to out here in the West.

1024Px-Raw Horse Meat With Labels Oct 23 2020 07-11PmNesnad  on Wikimedia Commons

10. San-nakji

If you've been on Instagram Reels or TikTok in the past couple of years, you've likely seen this terrifying dish featured on your page. San-nakji is a raw Korean dish that is basically live pieces of small octopus that are still moving and wriggling around on the plate. This one is definitely for the adventurous eaters only, as you have to chew incredibly thoroughly if you don't want to deal with the octopus suctioning to your mouth or throat.

1024Px-San-Nakji (31896887571)bryan... from Taipei, Taiwan on Wikimedia Commons


1. Chicken

Listen, if there's one food out there that you've been warned to never eat raw and to make sure it's cooked properly, it's chicken. Accidentally eating raw chicken can be fatal as it contains high amounts of dangerous bacteria like Salmonella that will leave you incredibly sick.

Towfiqu-Barbhuiya-Wt8Blnrgvvq-UnsplashPhoto by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

2. Pork

It's safe to say that eating raw or undercooked pork is a dangerous game to play. If eaten on accident, it can lead to terrible infections and even parasites like tapeworms! While we did mention Mett as an edible raw dish earlier, it's important to note that the raw minced pork is heavily regulated and must be eaten while it's very fresh. Of course, you should always be wary of the risks you're taking.

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3. Kidney Beans

It's not just raw meat that you have to be careful about, it goes for beans too. More specifically, eating raw kidney beans can give you a world of pain. Uncooked, they contain very high levels of a toxin that can cause you serious stomach pain and discomfort. You'd likely face several common food poisoning symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea too.

Monkgogi-Samson-C0Ba0-Z1Zoi-UnsplashPhoto by Monkgogi Samson on Unsplash

4. Potatoes

While potatoes can be enjoyed in a plethora of different ways, whether they're fried, baked, or mashed, one way you definitely shouldn't be eating them is raw. Raw potatoes contain a chemical that can make you feel nauseous, cause headaches, or give you stomach discomfort. 

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5. Wild Mushrooms

The next time you see a cute little mushroom in the forest while you're taking a walk or hiking, don't get too close. These aren't the same thing as those tasty little fungi you throw into your stir-fries and soups! Many species of wild mushroom are actually very toxic for humans and can cause problems as little as stomach pain to deadly ones like organ failure or even death.

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6. Cassava (Yuca)

If you know about the dangers of cyanide, you'll definitely want to stay away from eating raw cassava. Because whether you can believe it or not, raw cassava contains compounds that can actually produce cyanide when eaten! So if you really want to be safe, you have to prepare it properly by peeling and slicing it, and fully cooking it through.

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7. Eggs

While yes, eating raw eggs isn't as uncommon as some of the other foods on this list, it's important to know the risks you're taking. It might be considered normal in other countries, but that's likely because they take extra precautions in ensuring all eggs are safe to eat uncooked. That's not the case in America though - you're risking Salmonella and food poisoning if you choose to eat them raw.

Edouard-Gilles-A5Jmf6Xyfyi-UnsplashPhoto by Edouard Gilles on Unsplash

8. Milk

Drinking raw or unpasteurized milk can lead to a whole lot of health complications that simply aren't worth the risk. You run the dangers of getting E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, and in more serious cases, you might experience kidney failure, paralysis, or even death.

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9. Flour

While we're not saying you likely go about your day thinking about eating flour by the spoonful, it is important to keep it out of your mouth when baking or cooking with it. That's because raw flour isn't treated to kill germs, meaning there's a possibility it still contains many harmful bacterias. That's why you should always fully bake the flour to ensure that it's safe to consume. It's the best way to get rid of all that potential bacteria. 

Immo-Wegmann-8Cyl4Wgzsq4-UnsplashPhoto by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

10. Bitter Almonds

While the almonds you usually snack on should be safe to eat, bitter almonds are a raw type that can be poisonous when eaten. That's because they contain something called amygdalin, which can turn into toxic cynanide when consumed. You best double check your almond labels before chowing down on them in the future! Never hurts to be safe.

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