What we eat is an important part of our identity, but it’s also a reflection of the culture and values of the country where people live. Every region has its own unique cuisine, with dishes that are loved by locals and sometimes feared by visitors. But what about those dishes that make even the locals cringe?
From stinky tofu to surstromming, here is a list of some of the most notorious “worst foods” from around the world. We’ll take you on a tour from country to country, exploring all their culinary quirks — both good and bad. So get ready for an exotic journey through some truly strange flavors.
In Japan, a popular dish is natto, which is fermented soybeans that have a unique flavor and slimy texture. The smell of natto can be so strong that some people avoid it altogether!
In China, there’s the infamous stinky tofu — a pungent snack made from fermented tofu cubes coated in chili sauce. It looks like regular fried tofu, but its incredibly odorous aroma will make you think twice about trying it.
Another famous food from East Asia is surströmming, or fermented herring from Sweden. This fish has been left to ferment for months in brine until it reaches an extremely sour taste and an awful odor that can linger for days! It’s usually served with side dishes such as potatoes, bread, and onions.
In Italy, there’s casu marzu — a type of cheese made from sheep milk that has been left to ferment until maggots hatch inside it. The larvae are actually part of the production process; they help break down the fats in the cheese and give it its unique taste. Needless to say, this dish isn’t for everyone!
Last but not least is hákarl, an Icelandic delicacy made from fermented shark meat. It’s usually served shredded or cubed and can be quite challenging to stomach due to its strong smell and flavor of ammonia.
These dishes may seem strange or unappealing at first, but each one has a fascinating history and cultural significance that makes it worth exploring — if you’re brave enough! So, why not take the plunge and give some of these notorious “worst foods” a try? You never know what deliciousness awaits you.