The answer "Would he eat fermented herring"? pertains to the possibility of a person eating fermented herring. "Skulle han äta surströmming"? can also mean "Was he going to eat fermented herring"?
How would one say "should he eat fermented herring?" - is it just the question mark that changes the meaning, or would a swede be more likely to say 'borde han'?
"'Skulle han äta surströmming'? can also mean 'Was he going to eat fermented herring'?" (1) That's how I interpreted the sentence as a native. It is depends on the context.
If you are refering to a posibility in past tense then (1) is the natural choice. "Would he eats fermented herring" would be right if you are speaking of the posibility in presence.
A more common way to ask if someone is capable of eating fermented herring is:
"Skulle han kunna äta surströmming"
which translates to
"Would he be able to eat fermented herring?"
I assume people really must like fermented herring, eh? Based on marketing and branding in that name, I see why the ancestors emigrated, if this was the question.
Pickled refers to putting something in vinegar and spices, or a sauce of sorts. Fermented refers to the natural process of rotting. So it loosely translates to rotten fish. From what I understand, it is not ready to eat until the can bulges and it smells so bad they open it outside! I have only actually eaten sill in a variety of sauces.
What a culinary delight! Rotten fish!! I've only ever had pickled or smoked. In Holland I had the "zuure hareng broodje" (I think that is right.) And in Kiel, smoked but cold (not so great to my taste). The typical image is of a person holding the whole fish up above one's head, and I assume, devouring it whole. Really?
Uhm... no, not really. That's a very weird image. :)
I know those smoked fish stands are everywhere in Kiel, but if you ever go back, try a hot dish as well. Have some gebratene Scholle mit Speck und Kräuterkartoffeln or something! :)
I think you mean "Zure haring". Even though I am from the Netherlands, herring not a taste for everyone. Like me. But yeah, the typical image is as you said, although the fish tail does not get eaten.
Why is surströmming translated. If you asked for fermented herring in England no one without a Swedish background would have a clue what you were talking about. Why not just leave it as surströmming?
That's a fair point, but surströmming is traditionally translated as "fermented herring", so we're sticking to that for the main translation. However, we also accept "surströmming" as an alternate answer. :)
It's the literal translation but as a term, eh, not really. I think it's mostly used by Swedish trying to speak English but not knowing the actual translation. :)
It's not such a bad dish if properly prepared and cleaned beforehand. And if you don't mind the mental block of eating something that's not supposed to be eaten
Why isn't it supposed to be eaten (besides that it's [subjectively] nasty)?
As an Enlishman working for a Swedish Co I have eaten and enjoyed surströmming. However I was quite clear that our Swedish hosts who had been challenging us to eat it really didn't want to themselves, when I virtually dared them to. The restaurant we went to put us in a separate cabin for the surströmming. I have to say not many shared my enjoyment!