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Surströmming ... Would you eat this smelly fish?

Posted on11/08/2020 by
Surströmming ... Would you eat this smelly fish?

Surströmming is a typical Swedish dish consisting of herring from the Baltic Sea fermented in the sun and packed in tin cans.

What makes it so special?

Well, this famous dish has the peculiarity of a strong, almost fetid smell, similar to fish in a state of putrefaction or even garbage, and which is due to the accumulation of a type of bacteria that emits carbon dioxide and certain compounds such as propyl acid, hydrogen sulfide, butyric acid, and acetic acid. The mixture of all these compounds generates a concentrated foul stench.

Swedish fermented herring

This delicacy is sold in Sweden in any supermarket. This characteristic Swedish dish is honored every year in a small Swedish town in Afta, where a Food Festival is held and is visited by thousands of tourists every August.

Its smell and strong flavor is so distinctive that it has sparked a famous challenge on the Internet called the Surströmming Challenge, in which people record themselves opening cans and trying to eat the fish. Their faces and reactions are representative of the smell that this dish emanates.

This fermented herring is widely consumed in Sweden, as it has been left to ferment in cans that are subsequently opened following a defined ritual. To begin with, it is highly recommended never to open the can of surströmming inside a house to avoid the bad smell that will settle and last in the rooms of the house.

The hands of the brave person who dares to take out the fish and place it on the plates or cut it into smaller pieces will be impregnated with an unbearable smell.

How do you eat such a thing? Well, although there are competitions to see who is the daring one who eats more of this fermented fish, there are some who accompany it with paper-thin stale bread, containing cheese, tomato slices, garlic, among other things and accompanying it with potatoes cooked. Maybe this way it is a little more pleasant to eat it, but its smell remains the same.

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byAndrea A. 11/12/2020
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