The World’s Smelliest Fish

Have you ever wondered what is the world’s stinkiest fish you could ever eat? Today we present to you surströmming.

Surströmming, also known as strömming and as the smelliest fish in the world, is a Baltic herring found in the North Sea and which has been part of Swedish cuisine since the 16th century.

World's Smelliest Fish In The World - Surströmming
World’s Smelliest Fish In The World – Surströmming . Image credit: Lapplaender

Swedes use this delicacy to make sandwiches. They use tunnbröd (thin bread) that they spread with butter, and then add a sliced potato, surströmming, and sliced red onion.

There are several stories surrounding this fish, but one theory supported by the discoveries made suspects that this Swedish delicacy appeared during the salt crisis in Sweden in the 16th century.

How is surströmming produced?

Surströmming is generally fished before spawning, and this period is usually between April and May. After its capture, the fish is sprinkled with lots of salt, which prevents protein breakdown, its blood is drawn, its head is removed, and then goes through a fermentation process that lasts about 6 weeks. The fermentation process takes place in large barrels that are maintained at temperatures of 59–68 °F (15–20 °C)

Why is surströmming so stinky?

The fermentation process begins with a lactic acid enzyme located in the spine, which combined with various bacteria, forms a propionic, butyric, acetic, and hydrogen sulfide acid. All these acids have an extremely pungent smell.

Surströmming managed to defeat Korean Hongeo-hoe skatefish and Japanese nattō (soybeans fermented with intestinal bacteria) for the strongest and smelliest food.

Do people actually eat surströmming?

Yes, people eat surströmming. According to the oldest archaeological findings, people started fermenting and eating this Baltic herring in Sweden 9,200 years ago. In the 19th century, it began to be processed in the form of cans, which allowed the product to be commercialized in other regions.

Where can you buy surströmming?

Surströmming can be bought in all grocery stores in Sweden. It can also be found in various online stores.

Can you eat surströmming out of the can?

Yes, surströmming is canned and can be eaten directly. Statistics from 2009 showed that approximately 2 million people consume surströmming annually.

Can surströmming make you sick?

No, surströmming is very safe to eat and will not make you sick. On the other hand, due to its aggressive rotten fish smell, you may feel sick or want to vomit.

Below you can find some of the videos with the smelliest fish in the world challenge:

What do you say? Are willing to eat a small piece of the world’s smelliest fish?

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