Surströmming, the zombie of the sea, is a Swedish dish consisting of primarily fermented Baltic herring. Known also as "Scandinavian rotten fish," surströmming is Sweden's main tourist trap and means of execution.

A satellite photo of surströmming--the only known photo to be taken from a safe enough distance to not kill the photographer.

Alrik Thorvald, the originator of surströmming.

Just The Facts

  1. The herring is caught in the spring, fermented in barrels for about two months then tinned--the fermentation continues for another half a year.
  2. Surströmming is sold in cans, which often bulge during shipping and storage, due to the continued fermentation.
  3. Fermenting means you let the shit rot.

Letting the shit rot.

Imagine you're a little herring. You're straight chilling and in no way fermenting on your own. You have come to grips with the fact that you're food for... Hell, ANYTHING that wants to nibble on your ass. You don't have really any way to overcome this fact of life as herring college totally didn't prepare you to make a sweet underwater flame thrower or anything.

Okay fine. You're food. No biggie.

Just another brick in the wall.

"Sigh... I should've joined the army."

But nothing could prepare you for the fate that awaited you. Nope, you're not going to be eaten right away. No glorious death brandishing your little fish sword and screaming your bubbly war cry. No sir. You're going to be caught, put in a barrel, left to rot, taken out of said barrel, put into a tin and left to rot some more. Granted, you're long since in fish hell (unless you chose correctly and were a fish Mormon); but it's the damn principle of the thing!

As you're rotting and generally thinking, "What the hell, brah?!" You will then become an object so evil, so overwhelmingly powerful in its putridness that people will measure their metaphoric and literal balls by being able to not vomit at even the slightest whiff of your dejected state.

"She was in for life; but they commuted her sentence to the death penalty."

How to eat surströmming.

Surströmming is generally eaten with thin bread but many people will add potatoes, diced onions, dill, chives, sour cream and an arsenic pill to dull the death spasms. Beer is often a necessary and welcome addition to any surströmming roulette; though, many believe cold milk is the only beverage worthy to ride the finned horse.

looks harmless, doesn't it?

"Looks harmless, doesn't it? That's what it wants you to think..."

How's it taste?

If your skin doesn't melt and your eyes don't explode from your skull at the faintest whiff of surströmming, believe it or not, you've won half the battle. And as we all know, knowing that half the battle is won is close to the greener grass of godliness.

the more you know

There is no real way to describe a taste, especially not to cracked readers; photoshop pics are only going to describe it to a point. What is a far simpler task is to give a short description of how it smells:

Ahem... "Surströmming smells like a dumpster full of fish, diapers and medical waste that has not been emptied for a month in the highest heat imaginable." (quote taken from an actual Swedish man who survived several surströmming incidents)