The smelliest food in the world?

I was amused by a report in the Telegraph this morning.  It seems there’s a major exhibition at the British Museum concerning the Vikings.

The collection of artifacts blasts away the myth that the Norsemen were mere rapers and pillagers. They were warriors, true, but also cultured tradesmen, with an eye for beautiful jewellery and fabrics.

But there is one barbaric practice that the Swedes still indulge in: surströmming. This fermented herring, a northern Swedish speciality, is widely believed to be the smelliest food in the world. Noxious gases build up in the tin, making the cans bulge, and most airlines in the world have banned passengers transporting surströmming for fear of the cans exploding and causing the plane to be evacuated.

The European Union, in theory, should outlaw the fermented fish because it has too high a polychlorinated biphenyl — a cancer-causing toxin. But Sweden was able to win a special concession from the EU.

There’s more at the link.  Here’s a video report of what happened when the resolute reporter opened a tin of the stuff – and actually had the guts (you should pardon the expression) to taste it.

Thanks, but . . . no thanks!



  1. In Sweden it is considered the height of rudeness to open a can inside the house. The correct technique is to plunge it in a bucket of water, and open in while submerged, and outside.

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