The human taste is quite amusing; gold for one can be trash for another, a pleasing aroma of Limburger cheese for one man can be another’s offensive and penetrating smelling nightmare.

This food may look appetizing and palatable but you surely won’t bother to come any close around it. Well if you think that a smell of pizza left under your table for a week or your stinky socks smells bizarre then let me tell, you are absolutely wrong because these appear to be a fragrance of red roses in front of these stinkiest smelly food.


1. Hakarl

A horrifying and road-kill smell that wraps every store of Iceland truly emanates from Hakarl. The Icelandic may be proud of their national dish but it is something tourist may try at most once.

Hakarl is simply a Greenland shark or any other sleeper shark which has been prepared by fermentation process (basically buried underground for at least three months and afterward hung to dried out for few more months. Since it encloses a high amount of ammonia in it, the newbie may voluntarily scuffle while trying first.

Though Hakarl is readily available in most of the grocery stores of Iceland, it is often served in cubes on toothpicks at porrablot in midwinter.


2. Century Egg

People may argue it to be a thousand-year egg, millennium egg or black, but when it comes down to smell, they will universally agree that it is one of the most rancid one. Although it’s called a millennium one, it won’t take a millennium or century to get prepared, a few weeks or a few months and it’s done.

A popular among Chinese, consisting of chicken, duck or quail eggs, commonly preserved in a mixture of salt and clay. However, the solution may also contain ash, rice hulls, and quicklime.

The entire process causes a yolk to go creamy dark green and with the existence of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, it is strongly powerful. The egg white which turns into an aspic dark brown makes it look alike a devil eye. The century egg can be taken as a side dish or served it with pickled ginger root.


3. Durian

Durian may be notoriously called a king of fruits but it surely isn’t a king in terms of smell due to its pungent aroma. It may have an extraordinary and impressive persona and looks, but when eaten it clearly doesn’t bring any pleasant smile in your face.

Though people say it tastes awesomely wonderful, you definitely got to prepare yourself physically and mentally for it. The environmentalist Alfred Russel Wallace from Britain also explained its flesh as rich custard highly flavored with almonds.

The height and growth of Durian trees depend upon its species. The looks are somehow similar to the jackfruit but the taste is nowhere close to it.



4. Natto

The glutinous and gooey strings of soybeans may delight some people but many find it to have a noxious distinctive smell, a close to Durian or blue cheese.

The customary Japanese cuisine, Natto consist of soybeans which is prepared by fermentation process with Bacillus subtilis var. natto.

Japanese plate it up with Japanese bunching onion, soy sauce, and karashi mustard to make it scrumptious and mouthwatering.

The ingredient of Natto can also be used in other foodstuffs like natto toast, natto sushi. Natto lovers may find the food enclosed and enriched with nutrients and qualities, but many of them can’t handle the odorous smell and creepy consistency.


5. Surstromming

Surstromming A sniff of Swedish fish is enough to make you crazy because it smells awfully bad. In Sweden, the Baltic Sea herring is fermented for more than six months to deliver an acidic and potent smell and then canned to craft final outcome Surstromming.

Throughout the production process, the herring is worked with salt to avert it from decaying. The Surstromming is taken with tunnbrod, a Swedish version of flatbread.

Swedish normally serves it with light beers, cold milk or snaps. The fish can was banned by airlines like British Airways and Air France because of its high probability of explosive.


6. Stinking toe fruit

Stinking toe fruit which unfortunately smells awful is a fruit of West Indian Locust, Caribbean’s largest tree. The outer shell may look fascinating but when cracked open it has a bad smelling.

Though, the seed has a look of fat big toes which is hard, the fruit inside is powdery, dry and yellow with the flavor of sweet, which tastes quite delicious.

This fruit is locally known as Koubari or Courbaril in Creole but because of its appearance and fragrance, people named it ‘Stinking Toe’. The fruit is supposed to have a medicinal and nutritional value in it and goes well with biscuit, morning smoothie, and bread.



7. Doenjang

Korea has a dedicated culture. And when talked about its food, it has the iconic and traditional ingredients in most of its dishes. Enriched with strong umami-flavor and savory taste, Doenjang is a consistent go to in Korean’s kitchen.

Although it is not a dish in itself, it adds a pungent and relishes in Korean dishes which is remarkable. A thick brown paste, Doenjang is a fermented bean paste prepared totally from soybean and brine. A byproduct Soup soy sauce is also produced during Doenjang production.

Many of the people may not be the fans of Doenjang because of its strong flavor and profuse ammonia odor. But it is rich and valuable in terms of flavonoids, minerals, and vitamin. Doenjang one way or the other finds its way to go with any dishes but is normally mixed with sesame oil and garlic to make ssamjang, which is usually taken with rice in leaf vegetable.


8. Stinky Tofu

The name Stinky Tofu has made itself very clear that this tofu is real stinky. The roadside stand of China is covered with the unpleasant and disgusting smell of this dish. The odor is no less than a blue cheese or a rotten garbage.

Stinky tofu, a form of fermented tofu surprisingly tastes absolutely delicious whether it’s grilled, braised or streamed. And the dish is not served by Michelin-star restaurants rather it comes from night markets of China.

Traditionally prepared with brine normally made from fermented vegetables, milk, and meat, the brine fermentation may take several months to get done. The brine may also contain mustard greens, Chinese herbs, dried shrimp and bamboo shoots.


9. Lutefisk

A popular dish among Norwegian, Lutefisk is a glutinous combination of dried whitefish and lye which don’t look any alluring. The process involves a dried whitefish which is soaked in cold water for at least five to six days.

It is then soaked in the solution of cold water in lye (a liquid metal hydroxide) for two more days. The soaking causes a fish to have a gel-like consistency with the noxious aroma.

To gain a steady consistency in the dish, the layer of salt is spread on the top of fish and cooked after a half an hour. Despite all the effort and hard work, the food doesn’t look anywhere near to great.



10. Hongeo

Fermented dishes are infamously popular for their awful aroma and taste, but they appear to be a pleasant fragrance of a rose in front of Korea’s Hongeo because it’s worst of all. Hongeo-hoe from Korea’s Jeolla province is a fermented fish dish.

It is prepared from a fish named skate which is meant to be eaten fresh but since it’s fermented it has a very strong ammonia-like scent which makes it so bad. These skates are fixed in a refrigerator and when the smell is unbearable, you realize it’s ready to eat.

Normally, served raw to the customers in small slabs, it has a springy flesh and rubbery texture. Commoners may find it sickening in their very first experience but for hongeo fans, it’s a real treat.


11. Iru

Iru is most probably the most stinking food in the world. It is one of the famous cuisines of Yoruba people living in Nigeria. Fermented and processed locust beans are called iru while it is used as a base for preparing soups like egusi, okro, ogbono and ewedu.

The most prominent fact about locust beans is that it has 29% of lipid, 35% of protein and 16 % of carbohydrate. It also supplies a high amount of calcium as well as fat for country residents. It is known as sumbala between the people of West Africa who speaks Manding.

What makes these beans smell so strong?

The process of fermenting beans starts with soaking them in hot water and left for a week or even over-cooked for removing the hull. Later, it is hit with mortar and often sand is mixed to de-hull. And then, beans are placed in a local strainer known as ‘ajere’ for washing off the hulls. The strainer is then covered tray and clothes for around 36 hours.

There can be available fresh or dried iru. Generally, the fresh one is wrapped in leaves of moimoi which are similar to banana leaves and it has a strong smell. Whereas dried variety is compressed as disc or cakes and they have milder taste than fresh iru.


12. Kimchi

Kimchi is one of the most celebrated side dishes in Korea. It was originated during the early stage of the Three Kingdoms. And it is also a national cuisine of North and South Korea. It is that important in Korea, it was sent with South-Korean astronaut while heading to space on Soyuz TMA-12.

While making it on the basis of the traditional recipe, kimchi is stored underground in a jar to keep fresh, and unfrozen throughout the wintry weather. But with the growth of technology, it is more stored in kimchi refrigerator because they are made for special requirement of kimchi.

Why is kimchi so stinky?

This traditional cuisine is made of salted and fermented vegetables, especially napa cabbage as well as Korean radishes. The fermented vegetables are seasoned well with chili powder, ginger, scallions, garlic, and seafood. While the historic edition of kimchi was not that spicy.

The stapled food of Korea smells so strong, that one who dislikes it will obviously run out of the kitchen when you make it. Kimchi can be found in more than hundred varieties made with diverse fermented vegetables. Though, vegetables are the main ingredients of kimchi.



13. Kiviak

The Greenland fragility, kiviak tastes like stinky Gorgonzola cheese. This festive food has an authentic way to eat it, first behead the fermented auk and enjoy the juices within. But before trying this, make sure it is auk, not eider because in 2013 many people died after having Kiviak made of eider.

Kiviak, the name may sound exotic but you might start to hate it after hearing how it is made. It is a traditional wintertime food of Inuits living in Greenland from a long time. It is prepared by sewing up small auk birds in a skin of seal after removing the meat properly. This dish adds luster in ceremonies like wedding and birthday of the Arctic region.

Why is kiviak so smelly?

Around 500 auks are packed tightly into the skin of a seal. Then it is sewed and sealed along with seal fat that repels the flies.

It is thrown in a mass of stones with a big rock at the top of sack to remove the air. After 3 or more months of strict storage, the bird’s innards are liquefied. And here you go with silky juices of auks.


14. Narezushi

Narezushi can’t be let go from the list when talking about the stinky food found over the world. It is a known as Funazushi in western countries. Though, its sense killing smell, it is considered as one of the fine food of Japan that makes Japanese culture worthy and precious.

Narezushi is a fermented form of sushi and is also called a historic taste of it. It is an old form of sushi but later the fermentation was stopped. It was originated about thousands of years ago which has evolved in various dishes yet. Not everyone who likes sushi may like Narezushi but also they might start to hate sushi.

How is Narezushi made?

It is made of skinned, gutted and salted fish which is lacto-fermented along with rice to reduce putrefaction. Surprisingly, in early days rice was not taken but after the shortage of food forced the people to eat it as well.

Except for Japan, it is hard to find Narezushi in other parts of the world because it is a long process to make and the real taste of it is only known by a native of Japan. So, if you looking to have a taste of real sushi you need to visit Japan.


15. Epoisses de Bourgogne

Once known as ‘the king of all cheeses’ is now the top scorer of the smelliest food of the planet. Epoisses cheese was favorite of Napolean but most of the people hate the smell of this. It is that foul, that it has been legally banned in public transportation. This cheese was awarded AOC status in 1991.

Epoisses was originated at Abbaye de Citeaux where the monk made this complex cheese first. It was high on demand since the twentieth century but vanished during the Second World War.There is also a group of people who consume it as one of most interesting French cheeses.

What causes Epoisses smell so pungent?

For making Epoisses cheese, primarily milk is beaten at 30 °C along with coagulation for minimum 16 hours. Then the curd is cut drained to reduce the chance of being broke. After 48 hours, the cheese is removed, salted and kept on racks to let them dry. Once it is dried, it is taken to basements to mature.



16. Kusaya

One person’s trash is another’s treasure, and ones delicious mouth-watering fish is next’s odoriferous, strong, sock smelling blunder. And kusaya is not that different dish. Some people get themselves so deep in its taste they forget where and with who they are there. And there are also people who actually hate this dish for its ‘nose bleeding’ smell.

Kusaya meaning is ‘that stinks’ and you are complaining about its smell when it is mean to do so?? This Izu Islands originated dish is fermented in brine and dried salted Japanese fish. It is admired or known for its strong odor. Moreover, it is alike Swedish fermented fish Surstromming. The brine used for soaking fish has several vitamins and organic acids when makes kusaya more nutritious.

Why kusaya does carry pungent smell?

To make kusaya, there is used flying and similar other species. Those fish are cleaned several times before soaking them in brine named kusaya ski for 8 -20 hours. The brine has an 8% salt concentration while another concentration has 18% to 20% used in common fish.  

After completion of this process, the fish are dried under the light of the sun for about 1 or 2 days. All these methods cause the kusaya to smell so strong though it tastes is pretty mellow. It is mostly served with Japanese sake especially with a local drink known as Shima Jiman.


17. Vieux-Boulogne

The stench of rotten vegetables and garbage in the heated road is nothing compared to the scent of Vieux-Boulonge. The softness of this French cheese is all killed by its strong odor. For some it is worst of worst smell saying “the whiffiest cheese of the world” yet some are in love with its smell as well as taste.

This luxurious looking unpasteurized cheese has got all fame by its strong smell. In 200, Cranfield University did a research using ‘electronic nose’ and later affirmed Vieux-Boulogne as the world’s smelliest cheese. Prior to that research, the same university named it as smelliest among 15 French and British Cheese.

Why so smelly honey?

The ace of all smelliest thing on the planet is produced from cow milk that is unpasteurized and unpressed. It is washed daily in a local beer brought from Saint-Leonard, and let it mature for around seven to nine weeks. As the cheese is stored for more, it tastes more and more distinct and down-to-earth.



18. Tepa

Whitefish heads are the dish that you will surely say “No, thanks” if someone offered you. This fermented food stinks over the range to stay close but it is food to live for Inuit. Nobody likes to eat dung smelling food but the situation makes everything smell nice and has it.

This food is known as “Tepa” which is also a traditional cuisine of southwest Alaska people called, Yup’ik. It has too got a nickname “Stinkheads” though loved or not, it is famous for its smell and has value for them who like it.

How whitefish heads turn to “Stinkheads”?

The process of making tepa is not that complex but rather stinking. All you need to do is placing the heads of whitefish in a wooden barrel or as an alternative you also use plastic bag or basket. Then bury the barrel underground for some weeks to decay.

And once you dug up, you can guess why it is given so weird nickname cause its damn stinky.




19. Shrimp Paste

Shrimp paste is a famous dish in southern China as well as Southeast Asia. This paste might not be of your taste but will probably clear out your kitchen when placed in the pan. Because you know how shrimp smells fresh and now imagine what disastrous it can be when fermented.

Westerners are fooled by Southeast Asian cause they buy such rotten item as food. It stinks like a small shrimp used as ground bait on a hot day and now just multiply that smell by a hundred. Yes, you will hold your breath as much as you can to reach out of this smell.

How is shrimp paste so disastrous?

Nothing more, just mixing some salt with fermented shrimps that were dried and kept under mud for certain period. You can then prepare the fine paste of fermented shrimp which will smell like hell.