What are the best delicious-if-you-can-only-get-past-the-godawful-stink foods?
August 1, 2008 7:49 AM   Subscribe

What are the best delicious-if-you-can-only-get-past-the-godawful-stink foods?

I'm congenitally anosmic. Doesn't really bug me, but due to a recent discussion with a friend I'm curious to try a bunch of foods that smell awful but taste really good if you can get past the stink, because I won't have that problem. Cheeses, meats, vegetables raw and cooked, fruits, fermented foods of every stripe, drinks (?), baked goods (?) -- give me all you got. The more fully described, the better.

posted by cog_nate to Food & Drink (37 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Grither at 7:56 AM on August 1, 2008

Also, sursstromming.
posted by Grither at 7:57 AM on August 1, 2008

Jackfruit smells a little like rotting onions but tastes incredibly good.
Durian smells like onions, compost, and a corpse that has been left in the sun for a month but tastes better than jackfruit.
Some people dislike the smell of kimchi, I like how it smells. If you dig through a heap of cabbage kimchi to find the thick white parts, they're delicious grilled.
I like all the smelly cheeses so I'm useless on that front.
Tripe can smell to some people, tripe napolitana is one of my favorite dishes.
Nobody likes the smell of fish sauce, Thai and Vietnamese cooking wouldn't be as compelling without it.
posted by foodgeek at 8:00 AM on August 1, 2008

Oh, and a caveat:
I have eaten durian, despite the smell, and it is delicious. The smell is actually kind of good now, but when I first smelled it, I seriously almost threw up.
Surstromming (only one s in the middle, d'oh!) I haven't tried, and can't vouch for the taste of, but I do know that it smells horrible. (it's basically rotten fish)
posted by Grither at 8:08 AM on August 1, 2008

As well as fish sauce, there is shrimp paste which somehow smells worse. Although you don't eat that except as an additive to other foods so maybe it's not such a good answer.

Some people like natto. It is a brown mass of horrid fermented soybeans which forms disturbing stringy filaments when you stir it, and smells like hundreds of mouldy towels. I don't personally consider it delicious, but some people do (mostly Japanese people who have been eating it all their lives). Asian groceries sometimes have it.
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 8:09 AM on August 1, 2008

Devil's stinkhorn. Never tried personally but apparently it's delicious.
posted by freya_lamb at 8:09 AM on August 1, 2008

Don't forget Stinky Tofu. Fish sauce and fermented shrimp paste has made some people gag. Also variants of those sauces such as, home made herbal garum falls into that stink category. Friend almost threw up when he got a whiff of my attempt at ancient Roman garum with herbs. He needed to be taken out doors to recover as I sprinkled it on a nice patina.
posted by jadepearl at 8:11 AM on August 1, 2008

Fermented shrimp paste: Smells like menstrual blood, tastes like cheese left in the sun. Or was it the other way around? In Vietnam, prepared as a sauce with dog meat. Bllarrrrgh.

Natto: A Thousand Baited Hooks has it right. It tastes pretty nice but the booger-strings will get you everytime. For cognitive dissonance between exceptional deliciousness and least appealing smell/looks, stir with avocado and serve with rice. Looks like diaper fillings over pinworms, tastes like bizarr-o Asian guacamole.
posted by whatzit at 8:19 AM on August 1, 2008

Well-ripened Taleggio.
posted by rtha at 8:28 AM on August 1, 2008

blue cheese! mmm. stinky is good.
posted by netsirk at 8:33 AM on August 1, 2008

Some people like natto. It is a brown mass of horrid fermented soybeans which forms disturbing stringy filaments when you stir it, and smells like hundreds of mouldy towels. I don't personally consider it delicious, but some people do (mostly Japanese people who have been eating it all their lives).

My son likes it. Natto does smell like rotten socks, but it tastes like...beans. Add hot mustard for flavour.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:35 AM on August 1, 2008

Seconding durian. Here's description from wikipedia: This pulp is the edible part, and its consistence and flavour are indescribable. A rich custard highly flavoured with almonds gives the best general idea of it, but there are occasional wafts of flavour that call to mind cream-cheese, onion-sauce, sherry-wine, and other incongruous dishes. Then there is a rich glutinous smoothness in the pulp which nothing else possesses, but which adds to its delicacy. It is neither acid nor sweet nor juicy; yet it wants neither of these qualities, for it is in itself perfect. It produces no nausea or other bad effect, and the more you eat of it the less you feel inclined to stop. In fact, to eat Durians is a new sensation worth a voyage to the East to experience.

Also, thousand year duck-eggs. Or hundred-year eggs. I've never been able to get past the smell to actually eat one, but I'm told it's delicious. Along with tripe, go for the blood sausage. I find that goat has a smell I don't like, but I enjoy the taste.

Bon Apetit
posted by jujube at 8:36 AM on August 1, 2008

Fermented shark.
posted by kaarne at 8:42 AM on August 1, 2008

Limburger cheese!
posted by Floydd at 8:55 AM on August 1, 2008

Yup, natto. Though the taste can be acquired, few people who weren't raised eating it can get close enough to try. It's definitely a treat for the senses asside from being tasty and smelling like a ripe thong they look like something you'd find in an old smoker's handkerchief. Makes a great healthy breakfast over rice, the smell really wakes you up.

I would also submit Beard Papa. They taste just like cream puffs, but the stores reek for a distance of about half a block of this unpleasant raw egg smell.
posted by Ookseer at 8:58 AM on August 1, 2008

Balachaung (also 'belacan'). You could smell this across the street when my grandmother was making a batch.
posted by zennie at 9:11 AM on August 1, 2008

Man, this is far more boring than durian or any of these other neat foods, but sauerkraut smells like fermented, overly-boiled death to me. Most everyone I have met finds it delicious, but I can't get past the smell enough to eat it.
posted by timetoevolve at 9:12 AM on August 1, 2008

I've opened the refrigerator with an unopened jar of kimchi in it, 5sec later my roomate (in the other room) asked if someone shit their pants.
posted by BrnP84 at 9:23 AM on August 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I allways found the smell of mincemeat (pie) horrible. My dad loved the stuff.. I dreaded the two or three times a year when my mom would cook it.
posted by Jonsnews at 9:39 AM on August 1, 2008

If you're British, Marmite. If you're American, disregard this.
posted by spamguy at 9:54 AM on August 1, 2008

Melted romano cheese smells distinctly of vomit, but it tastes soooooooooo good on stuffed peppers, baked eggplant, pizza, pasta dishes, focaccia sandwiches, etc.
posted by Balonious Assault at 10:03 AM on August 1, 2008

Stinking Bishop cheese was briefly popularized by the Wallace & Grommit movie.
posted by Su at 10:10 AM on August 1, 2008

I like the smell of kimchi.

The smell of limburger is as hard to get off your hands as cat shit, and it tastes like it smells. Repulsive.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 10:14 AM on August 1, 2008

Salt rising bread is a sourdough-like bread with a particularly sharp, ammoniacal smell - think soiled diapers. Despite the smell, SRB makes a fantastic sandwich. Toasting it produces an, um, interesting aroma.
posted by scruss at 10:51 AM on August 1, 2008

Epoisses is absolutely the most delicious cheese I have ever eaten, but I was warned not to smell it before trying it the first time. It is the quintessential smelly gymsock of french cheeses, and it is fantastically wonderful!!!
posted by supermedusa at 11:21 AM on August 1, 2008

delicious gorganzola cheese.
posted by Cranialtorque at 11:28 AM on August 1, 2008

Kimchi. Get it spicy, and your eyes will water in delight.

Blue cheese and goat cheese. They stink up the house, but they are so worth eating.

Stinky Tofu! You can smell it a mile away and think something's died in the sun. But it tastes nothing like its smell - in fact, it tastes like, duh, tofu - and it's great with chili sauce and soy sauce. Get the deep-fried version. They're kind of hard to find in the US, though, for obvious reasons...
posted by curagea at 11:42 AM on August 1, 2008

3rding stinky tofu, mmm
posted by rux at 12:03 PM on August 1, 2008

Petai beans - I once bought some out of curiousity, but I threw them away halfway from the supermarket. Back home, I decided to also throw away my backpack.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 2:06 PM on August 1, 2008

I once picked up a durian from a chinese supermarket in london before catching the train back to Scotland. It was tripple bagged, but some of the smell still leaked out of my rucksack. My girlfriend's first thought when she met me off the train (open air platform) was "Gosh, he hasn't washed for a few days, has he!". Delicious. And the texture is really interesting as well, so if you have no sense of smell, then it'll still be a rewarding thing to eat.
posted by singingfish at 2:33 PM on August 1, 2008

Blue stilton.
posted by availablelight at 3:14 PM on August 1, 2008


Don't ask.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:55 PM on August 1, 2008

Combine any stinky cheese with liverwurst (preferably a garlic one), spread thickly on bread and grill. Good god, it'll strip the lining from your nose but it tastes so good.
posted by ninazer0 at 8:49 PM on August 1, 2008

posted by wsg at 10:14 AM on August 2, 2008

Asafoetida is supposed to be amazing. I'm just buying it as catfish bait though....but I'll probably eat some.
posted by TomMelee at 7:56 PM on August 2, 2008

I dispute the claim that durian tastes good. But it sure does stink.
posted by The Monkey at 1:41 AM on August 4, 2008

Blue cheese is nothing. Try any ripe washed rind cheese. The runnier the better. Smells like feet. Tastes great!
posted by kenliu at 2:34 PM on August 5, 2008

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