The Study Of Smell And A Hi-Tech Electronic Nose Came To The Conclusion That Vieux Boulogne Cheese Is The Smelliest In The World.
Most Malaysians tend to react with amusement whenever unsuspecting foreigners take their first whiff of the durian. The King of the Fruits has earned quite the reputation overseas for being a particularly smelly fruit, with some people describing the stench as being akin to rotting garbage. In fact, durians have been the culprits behind a few bomb scares, with terrified people mistaking its strong smell for a gas leak or biological weapon. But is the durian really the smelliest food in the world? In reality, there are all sorts of dishes eaten all around the world that would make your nose want to fall off in disgust. Perhaps they actually taste delicious, as is the case with durian. Anyhow, here are five dishes boasting a stench so strong, it could kill your appetite in cold blood.
Imagine a dish with a stench so powerful it remains in your kitchen days after consumption, clinging onto the cabinets and your clothes for an uncomfortably long time. That’s surstromming for you, a Swedish delicacy that will leave one wondering how the home of Ikea could produce something so vile. Made from fermented Baltic herring, the fish is immersed in a saline solution before being transferred into airtight tins where they are left to ferment for at least a year. The result is a salty fish with a stench often described as either a rotting corpse, a soiled diaper or spoilt eggs. In one German court case, a landlord evicted a man for opening a can of the stuff on his property; and the court agreed with his decision after a serving of surstromming was brought before the judge!
A popular breakfast dish in Japan eaten with relish by schoolchildren, natto is made from fermented soybeans that have a sticky texture and a strong taste. While it is said to have many health benefits, there is also no denying that natto is an acquired taste, with a pungency that will drive people away in droves. The smell has been described as expired cheese, as well as unwashed stockings, with its appearance resembling a gooey mash being hardly appetising. Some people also find the smell disturbingly similar to ammonia, which makes this Japanese dish one that is hard to swallow. However, in Japan, natto is often eaten as a supplementary dish throughout the day, often served with rice or included in sushi or noodle dishes.
Yet another nose-burning dish from the far north, this dish is a delicacy from the icy land of Greenland, often eaten with relish during festivals. Similar to surstromming, hakari is a seafood dish, but instead of herring, this dish is made from the flesh of fermented Greenland shark. Bizarrely, said flesh is actually poisonous when eaten fresh, and it is only safe to eat when it has been buried for several months. Once enough time has passed, the rotting flesh is left out to dry for several months, before it is finally served as hakarl. Hakarl is often described as having a strong ammonia-like odour, which causes it to smell like urine, to the point that people are advised to pinch their noses while trying it for the first time.
One has to give credit to whoever gave this Chinese dish its name; for not only is it succinct, but it is also rather honest about what this bean curd really is. A popular street snack in China, the stench of stinky tofu is one that has caused tourists’ eyes to water and their noses to crinkle. What could possibly cause this reaction? The stench responsible for it all is said to be similar to unwashed feet, human faeces and rotting garbage. Most fans of stinky tofu will actually agree that the smellier the tofu, the better it will taste; this belief having led chefs to race to create the smelliest tofu ever. But funnily enough, people who manage to hold their noses tend to find stinky tofu to be almost bland but with a soft silky texture within a crispy outer layer.
Vieux Boulogne cheese
It is not often that science can definitively prove that something stinks to the high heavens, but that was indeed the case with this one French cheese. In 2004, a panel of scientists specialising in the study of smell and a hi-tech electronic nose came to the conclusion that Vieux Boulogne cheese is the smelliest in the world. People who have had the misfortune of catching a whiff of this dairy product have said that the smell reminds them of rotting vegetables, old earwax and cow dung. As is the case with most French cheeses, the Vieux Boulogne is prized in its homeland, with the unique cheese being dipped in beer halfway through its production cycle. And while its smell is utterly repulsive, it is apparently more merciful to the tastebuds with the cheese having a smooth texture and a rich taste.
This news was originally published at Free Malaysia Today