Hongeo – South Korea’s Stinkiest Food Smells Like a Public Restroom

Hongeo is a bizarre South Korean dish with a pungent aroma that most people describe as a mix of dirty public toilet and wet laundry left untended for days.

Made from skate, a bottom-dwelling ray fish, Hongeo is considered by far South Korea’s smelliest food. It’s so stinky that many South Koreans wouldn’t come near it, let alone put in their mouths. However, its many fans can’t get enough of the ammonia fumes it emanates and swear that once you get used to it, it’s impossible to replace with anything else. But feasting on this stinky delicacy comes with a social cost, as the smell tends to linger in the mouth as well as on clothes. In fact, hongeo-specialized restaurants advise customers to seal their jackets in plastic bags before eating, and spray them with deodorant before leaving.

Read More »

Korea’s Most Popular Fermented Fish Dish Smells Like a Public Toilet

Fermented foods aren’t exactly famous for their alluring smell and flavor, but South Korea’s popular ‘hongeo’ has just got to be the worst of the lot. It’s definitely classified as one of the grossest foods in the world, even for ‘foodie daredevils’ who like trying out weird dishes.

What makes hongeo so bad? Well, for starters, it’s made from a fish called skate, which just like sharks, has no bladder or kidneys. Its digestive waste simply oozes out of its skin in the form of uric acid. That’s why sharks and skates need to be eaten fresh. But the Koreans seem to enjoy defying the norm in this case.

What they do is leave dozens of fresh skates (a cartilage-rich fish that resembles a stingray) stacked up in a walk-in refrigerator. Then they wait, sometimes as long as a month, for the fish to acquire a distinct ‘aroma’, reminiscent of a public urinal. When the smell reaches its worst, the skates are ready to be taken out, sliced up and served raw.

Hongeo-stinky-food

Read More »

×
×