Sweden’s Disgusting Food Museum is featuring tons of Asian foods, like durian, century egg and balut

Durian – a fruit with a polarising smell – is among the many foods from Asia exhibited in the Disgusting Food Museum in Malmö, Sweden.
The Straits Times
  • The Disgusting Food Museum in Malmö, Sweden, is exhibiting 80 of the world’s most disgusting foods.

  • Many foods are of Asian origin, including balut, durian, natto and century egg.

  • Other surprising additions are root beer, spam and lobster.

We hope you’re not eating as you read this.

Calling itself the Disgusting Food Museum, an exhibition in the Swedish town of Malmö is showing off a collection of, well, the world’s most disgusting foods.

On display until Jan 27 next year are a selection of 80 global delicacies, including frog smoothies from Peru, the “stinking toe fruit” from Jamaica, haggis (a Scottish dish made of sheep heart, liver, and lungs), and maggot cheese from Sardinia (the maggots jump up to 15 centimeters high while you eat).

Most of the foods on display are real and can be smelled or tasted, but several are replicas. There are also interactive exhibits and videos.

The organisers worked with a team of researchers from Lund University to curate the culinary selection, and ordered the foods from around the world.

Asia’s representatives include balut (boiled duck fetuses usually eaten straight from the egg), dog meat, mouse wine, Three Penis Wine, durian, stinky tofu, natto (fermented soybeans) and century eggs (eggs preserved in an alkaline mixture).

The dishes chosen are either foods eaten by people today, or foods with historical significance, museum director Andreas Ahrens said in a statement.

This explains the appearance of spam, root beer and lobster. Lobster, for example, was considered so undesirable that it was only fed to prisoners and slaves about 200 years ago.

Apart from being “educational and fun”, the exhibition is hoping to open people’s minds to the idea of eating unfamiliar foods, and see that what constitutes as disgusting is usually cultural and individual.

“Which is more disgusting, eating a guinea pig or a regular pig – is there really any difference?” museum curator Samuel West, a psychologist and researcher, said in a statement. “Our current meat production is terribly environmentally unsustainable, and we urgently need to start considering alternatives.”

“But many people are disgusted by the idea of eating insects and skeptical about lab-grown meat, and it all boils down to disgust,” he added. “If we can change our notions of what food is disgusting or not, it could potentially help us transition to more sustainable protein sources.”

The museum also announced in a Facebook post that it would be exhibiting in America next.

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