Swedish people eat fermented fish (Surströmming)

The stinky Swedish fish specialty should only be prepared in a specific procedure.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to eat the stinky fermented fish without throwing up (unlike in most YouTube videos!).


Have you ever heard of the Swedish delicacy that makes people throw up?

I’m talkin about ‘Surströmming’, a Swedish fish specialty made out of fermented herring. The delicacy is known for its extremely penetrating smell, which is the reason for many YouTube videos.

The fish is first cleaned and then stored for a few months in brine before it‘s packaged in tin cans. The can is under pressure at some point, because the fish is still fermenting once it’s packaged. This is why the lid usually bends.


Surströmming – What should be considered?

  • The tin can should be stored in the refrigerator just before the consumption.
  • Under no circumstances should the Surströmming be opened indoors, but instead always outside.
  • It is best to open the can in a bucket full of water (under water) so the smell doesn‘t immediately rise up your nose. I recommend you to wear rubber gloves, otherwise you’ll have stinky fingers for 1 week (I speak from experience!).
  • After opening the can and before eating it, the Surströmming should be left alone for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Then you can start preparing the meal.

By the way, you are not allowed to take the Surströmming on board of an airplane, as the tin can might burst!


How to prepare a traditional Surströmming meal

In Sweden, Surströmming is eaten on a flatbread with pieces of red onion and potato slices. The whole thing is then rolled into a wrap and served with either beer or milk. The meal takes a lot of getting used to and most of the locals I’ve talked to don’t like Surströmmming themselves, However it is definitely worth trying and  an experience and it sereiously doesn’t taste as  bad as I thought it would!


Check out the video of me trying Surströmming: