Surströmming – heaven or hell? Posted by jennie on Oct 8, 2010 in Culture, food
As mentioned before, my life as an expat Swede has made me more Swedish then ever. I bake Swedish, I cook Swedish, I decorate our house with Sweden, I celebrate Swedish festivals like mad and most of all, I crave, eat and cherish Swedish food. Actually, I cherish it up to the point where I actually agreed to try the (in-)famous Swedish delicacy Surströmming. Fermented, awful smelling herring in a tin can. This is what happened:
1. Get to know the food
The design of the tin is amazing! But it is almost bursting of all the fermented stuff in it… Yum!
2. Open the tin (Or – let someone else open the tin!)
Because of all the squirting fish juices, the tin needs to be open in a bucket filled with water. Our lovely hostess had told us all to wear raincoats and crap clothes that we didn’t care so much about, since the smell sticks in the garment. We actually had the whole party outside, even though it was late September…
3. Cope with the smell and meet the herrings
The smell is instant and it’s very hard to describe. Fishy, but rotten… A bit eggy… Well, let’s put it this way: The smell doesn’t exactly sell the product!
4. Gut the herring
Before digging into this delicacy, you need to gut it and remove the bones. Hard work, I tell you!
5. Investigate your options
Our lovely hostess had prepared a whole plate of salmon just in case the beginners wouldn’t enjoy it… And a lot of beer to rinse everything down with. And aquavit of course!
6. Do it the traditional way
Get a flat bread, fill it with lots of potatoes, onions, sour cream and add the herring. Roll it up and be prepared!
You know what? It wasn’t that bad! I doesn’t taste the way it smells, that’s for sure. And with lots of onions, sour cream and potatoes… well, it works (a.i disguise the taste?). If you ever get the chance to try, I’d say go for it! Some people love it, others can’t stand it, but it’s definetely an experience you won’t forget in the first place!
Anyone who has tried? Please share your experience!