Translation:Eating fermented herring makes me thirsty.
Har ofta äter människor surströmming i Sverige? Inte ofta, jag hoppas
In Norrbotten (North Sweden) they eat it once a year, they gather to enjoy all together of such a delightful delicatessen from Gods. They generally mix it with all kind of breads, potatoes and whatever to hide the taste of this appreciated fish. The wiser eat a lot before the event and then get away by saying that they are already full and so on... (classic strategy) I have tried it once ( the bare fish ). Certainly it was an appalling, abhorrent horrible experience but it was quite funny. I recommend all you to give it a try ;)
If you eat an anchovy straight from the can you'll probably also taste anchovy all day in an unpleasant way. These sorts of things are generally eaten in combination with something comparatively bland to dilute the flavour, much like eating blue cheese with crackers.
This is not to 'hide' the taste, but simply to provide parameters within which the taste can be appreciated. This is also true with fermented herring: if you eat it straight out of the can all by itself it will be absolutely disgusting. I like anchovies, but I'd never eat an anchovy out of the can either (unless, of course, I had a gun pointed at my head and it was either that or a surströmming).
Before I married my husband, I was over in Sweden visiting him in Närke. He took me up north (a 900 km drive) to meet his relatives. When we arrived at his aunt's house in the countryside I was aware of a pungent stench when we got out the car. I said to him: What the heck is that smell? He said "It's lunch"......!!!!! After that he explained that it it doesn't taste as bad as it smells. It has to be opened outside the house (as far away as possible) to let the gases and smell out. His aunt is hugely skilled at doing this. She doesn't even mind the smell - especially when it's the surströmming premier. My husband was right about the taste not being like the smell. I am almost addicted to it nowadays. I get cravings for the premier. My mother (Scottish), who loves fried or grilled herring, was disappointed when she visited Sweden because a lot of the herring is served cold and raw (a lot of it pickled tho' like rollmop yum yum). I wouldn't even dream of letting her taste surströmming. The shock would be too much for her :)
I just got through eating four surströmming fish and some roe. It was tasty. Not something I would want to eat often, but I enjoyed it.
The smell, especially when opening the can, is pretty powerful, even outdoors. It's not the worst smell I've ever smelt, but it is no perfume. I'm staying with a friend in Sweden, and her boyfriend regularly eats it, so I had a guide on doing it right. She, unfortunately, is extremely sensitive to the smell, and so we've temporarily abandoned the house with the windows open. I feel badly for her. I wonder if there is a genetic bases to how offensive the smell is to people.
Alright, so we're at McDonald's so my friend can eat something. She said being in the car with us was horrible. Now that we're inside I can smell in on my clothes. I never got any juices on me, so I guess the smell permiates. I guess I'll be hanging them outside tonight!
Speaking of experience: lutefisk (in Finnish: lipeäkala) is for some weird reason a part of the traditional Christmas dinner in especially Southern parts of Finland, although rapidly disappearing from the tables as the generation who got used to it is passing away. I was exposed for this reason to lutefisk, and the only challenge is the smell during cooking, which is then nothing as compared to surströmming (for those who know their chili peppers: bell peppers as compared to Naga Morich). The lutefisk is boiled to absolute tastelessness and loss of structure, and then served with a generous helping of white gravy, pepper, and salt, which are the only things you actually taste. So, OK experience, and for some a part of tradition, which, however, I'm not continuing in my Christmas dinners.
Then to the surströmming question: no way for anybody to get used to the reek, and I thought that having a little bit of surströmming would be a good excuse for flushing it down with a glass full of good Swedish schnapps (på svenska: snaps). Not a good idea, no sir. The schnapps did not succeed in camouflaging the taste, while the opposite happened, the surströmming was perfectly successful in hiding any finesse the schnapps would have had. A total waste of a good drink.
(These experiences have led me to appreciate fresh sushi even more.)
'In 1981, a German landlord evicted a tenant without notice after the tenant spread surströmming brine in the apartment building's stairwell (Treppenhaus). When the landlord was taken to court, the court ruled that the termination was justified when the landlord's party demonstrated their case by opening a can inside the courtroom. The court concluded that it "had convinced itself that the disgusting smell of the fish brine far exceeded the degree that fellow-tenants in the building could be expected to tolerate".'
Nope, surströmming isn't like rollmops at all. It's a traditional northern Swedish specialty, herring which has been fermented for six months or so. It has a very strong smell so it has to be eaten outdoors. Read more in the links:
Rollmops are just pickled, not fermented. Pickled herring is very popular in Sweden, but that's inlagd sill. The difference is very noticeable for anyone with any sense of smell at all.
Some dudes in Brazil made a video of themselves trying to eat it, and right after they opened the can, a lot of flies showed up where they were (at a square) and they couldn't bear the strong smell (I think the warm weather also made it worse), They tried to eat a little bit of it with bread but it didn't work for them.
The old Romans used lead in their plumbing and aqueducts, which slowly caused mild cases of lead poisoning in the population. This basically kills off tastebuds, which - according to one popular theory - is the reason for the outrageous food combinations of the time.
I am reasonably certain they wouldn't eat surströmming despite that.
Are pickled herring and fermented herring considered two different things? I was pretty sure that fermentation was a process of pickling. If I put cucumbers in a vinegar brine, they are called pickles. If I put them in a salt brine to lactoferment, they are still called pickles.