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Horrible Smelling Foods

Published by eddiego65 in Offbeat
October 29th, 2008

There are foods that will make you sick by their smell. Let’s try to open our mind to some new experiences as we remind ourselves that a particular smell we find offensive may not be so for others. Here are some of the foulest smelling international foods.

Stinky Tofu

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By the name itself, there’s no question about its smell, which is said to resemble that of rotting garbage or manure. A popular midnight snack in Oriental Asia, particularly in Taiwan, China and Indonesia, it is made from tofu marinated in a brine mixture of fermented milk, dried shrimp, vegetables, mustard greens and herbs for as long as several months; and can be eaten cold, steamed, fried or stewed.


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Popularly known as the “King of Fruits” in Southeast Asia, durian is distinguished not only for its size and thorn-covered husk, but definitely also for its repulsive stench, which is best described as a mixture of feces and vomit. In spite of its odor, it tastes heavenly. As the British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace puts it, it flesh is like “a rich custard highly flavored with almonds,” while English novelist Anthony Burgess compared his experience of eating durian to “eating sweet raspberry blancmange in the lavatory.” Durian is widely used to flavor an assortment of sweet and savory Southeast Asian cuisines as candies, biscuits and ice creams. However, due to its smell, it is banned from establishments as airports and hotels.

Limburger Cheese

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Limburger cheese is a high calorie and cholesterol-rich German/Belgium dairy product well-known for its pungent aroma. It is made from pasteurized goat’s milk fermented in the bacterium Brevibacterium linens, the very same bacterium found on human skin and partly responsible for body odor. So, if by chance you walked past someone who hasn’t taken a bath in a month and thought if only such a scent could be turned into something edible, then, take heart, treat yourself with some Limburger cheese!


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Nattō is a popular traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans, most usually eaten during breakfast to accompany rice. Commonly used as an ingredient of miso soup, salad and even ice cream, it has a somewhat nutty and salty taste that somehow contradicts its rather strong ammoniac smell. Supported by medical studies, nattō contains a chemical enzyme, aptly called nattokinase, which can reduce the likelihood of blood clotting, and thus, can help to prevent heart attack and strokes. It is also rich in vitamin K, which can assist in bone formation, thereby preventing osteoporosis.

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  1. nobert soloria bermosa
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 9:03 am

    good find,job well done

  2. BC Doan
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 9:07 am

    Great article! (This is my 3rd tries to post the comment)

  3. Posted October 29, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Good article as usual, nobert.

  4. Posted October 29, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Sorry, but this article really stunk, but in a good way LOL Yes, we have to be open minded and try these foods as we’ll never know what we’re missing if we get turned away by the smell. Excellent write and details. Michael

  5. Posted October 29, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I haven’t tried most of them. But I had tasted Durian. Despite of its foul smell, it is really good! Nice article, eddiego65!

  6. goodselfme
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Well presented. the description almost made the pics smell. thank you!

  7. Posted October 29, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    Fantastic Article
    Aroma is an integral part of the dining experience – it must go against human nature to consume something that smells off and rancid.
    It must have been a brave person (or one with no sense of smell) who discovered these items tasted nice.
    Interesting stuff – well researched and written

  8. Posted October 29, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Yuk! I watched how stinky tofu is made and there is no way you would get me to put that stuff or any of the things you have listed above in my mouth…reading about it all is fun though, fun stuff!

  9. Posted October 29, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    eddiego65, I am so sorry, I called you by the wrong name in my earlier post.

  10. Posted October 29, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    I come from Mindanao, but I could not eat durian…but love durian flavored candies though.

  11. Posted October 29, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Very interesting. I just know from this article that kind of egg called ‘century egg’ in English. Thanks.

  12. Posted October 29, 2008 at 10:35 pm

    Gotta admit, I enjoy trying some new foods, but if it stinks, I really have a hard time trying it. I cannot even stand the smell of Blue Cheese.

  13. Posted October 29, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I have to admit after seeing this I really must try the Durian. Thanks!

  14. Chris
    Posted October 29, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    Haha…apparently we all have different opinions of what smells. I don’t mind the smell of kimchi, really. And if you think limburger smells bad, try real brie cheese (not the pasteurized American version) for true stank. Fun read!

  15. swapna
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 1:32 am

    as usual excellent article…

  16. Posted October 30, 2008 at 5:15 am

    Thanks for all your encouraging comments!

    It’s ok, Darlene. Everybody makes mistakes. In fact, I’m really flattered you called me Nobert, because he’s such a great writer.

    God bless you all!

  17. Posted October 30, 2008 at 7:12 am

    Luckily I was eating anything while reading this :) . Great Article.

  18. Posted October 30, 2008 at 10:45 am

    Great article! One of my co-workers brought Durian in his lunch one day. It made the whole building smell like dirty feet — totally gross.

  19. Kim Buck
    Posted October 30, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Yuck! Excellent article.

  20. Posted October 30, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    I love your article but i love durian too..heehhe

  21. Posted October 31, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Ooohh.. I love durian, there are so many in Davao. haha

  22. Posted October 31, 2008 at 2:51 am

    for me, durian is never a stinky fruit. I find it sweet as its taste so good. I like Durian. It is the top tropical fruit in the Philippines.

  23. M J katz
    Posted October 31, 2008 at 11:30 am

    Because I love cheese so much, I decided to try Limburger cheese several years ago. When I brought the package home and opened it up, the most disgustingly rotton aroma I’ve ever smelled came out of it. I knew it was supposed to smell terrible, but this chunk of cheese just couldn’t possibly be any good. So I threw it out. At work the next day, I was told that this is how the cheese smells…that it’s not spoiled. So I bought another cheese, opened it up, forced myself to get past the smell…and ended up loving the mild buttery nut flavor! Creamy and addicting!
    Your article was so clear and descriptive that I may be willing to try Durian BUT NOTHING ELSE! Ha ha. Great job!!

  24. Posted November 1, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Great find and great read, thanks!

  25. gabbic1219
    Posted November 3, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    great article…but gross smelling,lol…i can almost smell it, i am a picky eater,i love italian food and i havent been around anything to different! for money i might try somethinfg really bad smelling!…lol

  26. Posted November 5, 2008 at 6:17 am

    I love eating; I don’t care their smells. I want to try them all. Well Durian, I have been eating it since childhood. It’s one of the sweetest fruits in all the world.

  27. Posted November 6, 2008 at 8:06 am

    That’s great! The first food is very popular in my country. Many people regard tasting this kind of food as a way of enjoying life. A tiny bamboo stick pricks into stinky tofu with full of dilicious taste in mouth.Eh———

  28. johnny yuma
    Posted November 12, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    People never know what they are missing when they won’t try something. Unfortunately for me, I am somewhat a picky eater and yet I was raised to eat many things that other people want eat. When you are raised in the backwoods of The Ozarks, you get some odd but good foods placed before you at meal time.

    Great piece my friend!


  29. Posted November 13, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Stinky one are the palatable one. I’m not Korean but I love kimchee and that yuummmy dorian.

  30. Posted November 17, 2008 at 4:22 am

    I think I will be sure to leave trying out these foods. lol

  31. Posted November 17, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Great article. I can vouch for Natto. That stuff is NASTY!

  32. Posted November 19, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    A co-worker of mine is from Manila and he brought this fruit that smelled like ammonia and it shut down the factory because he did not tell the management it was his snack not a gas leak. Do you think it was Durian because I can’t remember the name of it?
    Fun read!
    Blessings to you,
    Chris Stonecipher

  33. Posted November 23, 2008 at 1:17 am

    Well-written and well-researched article.
    I first came across Durian in Singapore and disliked the smell. However, when I ate it my whole attitude changed and now I love both the taste and the smell!

  34. Lynn
    Posted December 6, 2008 at 7:46 pm

    Limburger cheese has a wonderful, fairly mild taste compared with its smell. My mother told me that her father (my grandfather) used to eat limburger and sweet onion sandwiches on rye. Even though it sounds like the punchline for a joke about going to a dentist you hate, I’ve tried them and they’re actually quite good!

  35. Posted January 6, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Great information! The pictures are very detailed and full of information also.

  36. Azusa
    Posted May 22, 2010 at 4:38 am

    In precent days, we Japanese eat natto at the dinner time rather than the breakfast. I’m sure because I’m Japanese.

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