A Connoisseur’s Guide to Stinky Asian Food

| 10/29/2009 5:51:20 PM

Dried squid

Is kimchi that doesn’t stink really kimchi? KoreAm Journal reports that “Koreans everywhere were stunned” when the Los Angeles Times reported that an odorless type of kimchi had been patented. “Isn’t the pungent aroma precisely what makes kimchi, well, kimchi?” the magazine asks.

In the spirit of celebrating other fetid foodstuffs, KoreAm Journal walks readers through “a breakdown of the smelliest edibles from Asia.” Here are some of our favorite descriptions:

Dried squid: Koreans gnaw on dried squid while drinking beer and soju [a distilled spirit akin to sake]. Too bad the rubbery strands smell like dead mice.

Chungookjang: It’s the amino acid breakdown that gives this soybean paste its foot odor-like fragrance.

Fermented skate: Its hellish aroma is caused by uric acid-soaked flesh that has been left out in room temperature for days.