Pat Nolan Blog

Pass the Fishky

“The evolutionary function of disgust is to help us avoid disease and unsafe food” – so says the Disgusting Food Museum in Malmo, Sweden. Yes, there is such a museum.
For Scotch whisky afficionados there’s ‘Fishky’ - that’s simply Scotch aged for three months in a salted herring cask.

For Scotch whisky afficionados there’s ‘Fishky’ – that’s simply Scotch aged for three months in a salted herring cask.

“Disgust is one of the six fundamental human emotions,” it continues, “While the emotion is universal, the foods that we find disgusting are not. What is delicious to one person can be revolting to another. Disgusting Food Museum invites visitors to explore the world of food and challenge their notions of what is and what isn’t edible. Could changing our ideas of disgust help us embrace the environmentally sustainable foods of the future?”

We don’t know, but while the exhibit has 80 of the world’s most disgusting foods, the museum is not limited to food. Drink too can be disgusting, you know.

A three-month temporary exhibit on ‘disgusting alcohol’ took place there recently. The exhibition included Soviet-era surrogate alcohol and even BrewDog’s 55% beer End of History (sold in a taxidermied squirrel), South Korean poo wine and Icelandic sheep dung or smoked whale testicle beer.

“Hold us back…” we hear you cry.

For Scotch whisky afficionados there’s ‘Fishky’ – that’s simply Scotch aged for three months in a salted herring cask.

Gin-lovers haven’t been overlooked either with Anty Gin, wherein the essence of 62 red wood ants can be found.

Then there’s a South Korean rice wine containing human faeces.

“Our drinking habits vary by country just like our food habits” said the Director & Co-Founder of the Disgusting Food Museum Andreas Ahrens, “so we’ve found the strangest, most interesting, most challenging alcohol types from around the world. Some of these are home-made alcohols going back thousands of years while others are experimental, made by local brewers.”

Might one perchance pig-out on some Peruvian smoothies made from frogs and fried caterpillars or feast on a fruit bat soup?

Elsewhere, adventurous visitors will appreciate the opportunity to smell and taste some of these notorious foods. Today, fermented shark (impossible to eat without a large shot of Icelandic Black Death schnapps) competes with duck foetus (eaten by Andreas’ Co-Founder Dr Samuel West in the Philippines) for the most disgusting dinner.

Dare you smell the world’s stinkiest cheese? Or taste sweets made with metal cleansing chemicals?

Other oddities to oogle include fried caterpillars known as ‘Mopane Worms’ or how about maggot-ridden cheese, a Sardinian delicacy, in which the little maggots can jump up to 15 cm so you have to cover your eyes when eating it.

Intending to launch only as a temporary exhibit two years ago the Disgusting Food Museum proved so popular that it became a permanent exhibit in July 2019.

On the museum wall hangs a chart which tracks the number of days since a visitor last vomited.

The last time was Vomit Number 97 when a fermented shrimp paste from the Philippines claimed a victim.

Haggis and Vegemite, the Australian national spread, also get honourable mentions at the Museum.

“Sadly, Swedish alcohol laws prohibit us from serving any of the drinks,” Andres tells Closing Time, adding the interesting footnote that, “Visits are either booked on our webpage or tickets can be bought upon arrival. The tickets are vomit bags, just in case…”.


Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free