South Korea — South Korea has a generous list of foods some find hard to swallow, among them boiled silkworm pupae and live baby octopuses, which have been known to attach their suction cups to the roofs of diners’ mouths in what appear to be desperate bids to escape.
But fermented skate from this southern island tops them all. By far South Korea’s smelliest food, the fish, called hongeo, is described by lovers and detractors alike as releasing odors reminiscent of an outhouse. Served most often as chewy pink slabs of sashimi, hongeo is prized by enthusiasts for the ammonia fumes it releases, sometimes so strong they cause people’s mouths to peel.
“I used to think that people could not possibly eat this stuff unless they were crazy,” said Park Jae-hee, a 48-year-old marketing executive. “But like smelly blue cheese, it has no replacement once you fall in love with it.”
“I’ve eaten dog, durian and bugs, but this is still the most challenging food I’ve ever eaten,” said Joe McPherson, the American founder of the Korean food blog ZenKimchi, who has become a self-appointed ambassador for Korean cuisine. “It’s like licking a urinal.”
read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/15/world/asia/hongeo-south-koreas-smelliest-food.html?_r=0#
out of ALL THE MANY, out of all the varied foods and dishes available in korean cuisine, modern and traditional, this south korean pulizter prize winning journalist choe sang-hun chose to write about this particular dish for the new york times. why? could he have thought this outhouse smelling fermented skate to be the perfect match of a dish for his new york times reading audience?