Known as the "king of fruits," durian has a strong, pungent odor that many find repulsive. Some people describe its smell as a combination of rotting onions and gym socks. The taste is also divisive, with some comparing it to sweet custard and others finding it unpleasant and overpowering.
This Swedish delicacy consists of fermented Baltic herring that is canned and allowed to ferment for several months. When opened, the can releases a putrid smell of rotting fish. The taste is equally challenging for most, with an intense and sour flavor that lingers in your mouth.
A popular street food in Southeast Asia, balut is a fertilized duck egg that is boiled and eaten from the shell. The partially developed duck embryo inside can be off-putting for many, as it contains feathers, beak, and bones. The taste is often described as rich and savory, but the visual aspect can be overwhelming for some.
This Icelandic dish consists of fermented shark meat, specifically Greenland shark. The fermentation process involves burying the meat and letting it decompose for several months. The resulting ammonia smell is overpowering, and the taste is described as a mix of strong cheese and urine.
A traditional Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans, natto has a slimy and stringy texture that can be off-putting to some. It has a strong, pungent smell reminiscent of strong cheese or sweaty socks. The taste is often described as nutty and savory, but it is an acquired taste.
Hailing from Sardinia, Italy, this cheese is intentionally infested with live maggots. The maggots break down the cheese, resulting in a soft and gooey texture. The taste is said to be strong and tangy, but the idea of eating live maggots with cheese is understandably disturbing for many.
A popular street food in East Asia, particularly in Taiwan, stinky tofu lives up to its name. It is made by fermenting tofu in a brine that contains various ingredients, including vegetables and meat. The fermentation process produces a strong, pungent smell that resembles rotten garbage. The taste can be strong and funky, often with a sour note.
Another Icelandic dish, hakarl is fermented shark meat that is hung and dried for several months. The ammonia-rich meat becomes quite challenging to eat, with an extremely strong and fishy taste. It is often served in small cubes and washed down with a shot of strong alcohol to help mask the flavor.