What is Surströmming and what is its significance?

Surströmming (Norwegian and Swedish: surströmming) is a Scandinavian traditional snack consisting of fermented Baltic herring (Clupea harengus membras). The herring is fermented using lactic acid bacteria, resulting in a product with a very strong odor and tangy flavor.


It can be served as a filling for sandwiches, typically with potato bread and various toppings such as onions, sour cream, and tomatoes. However, due to its specific smell and taste, surströmming can elicit strong reactions from those who are not accustomed to this snack and is even considered one of the smelliest foods in the world.

Traditionally, surströmming is produced in spring when the herring is caught, and the fermentation process begins naturally without the addition of preservatives. The cans of surströmming can then be stored for extended periods of time before consumption.

What does surströmming smell like?

The smell of surströmming is often described as very pungent and intense. It can be reminiscent of the smell of rotten fish or manure. This specific odor is formed due to the fermentation of the fish in the can after it is preserved.

Despite the strong smell, many people find the taste of surströmming quite enjoyable, and it is popular among enthusiasts of unusual cuisine. However, due to the intense odor, it is usually consumed outdoors or under extended ventilation systems to minimize the smell indoors.

What does surströmming

What is the meaning of surströmming?

The meaning of surströmming lies in creating a unique and unusual product that is part of Swedish cultural tradition and is of interest to enthusiasts of unconventional cuisine. Here are a few key aspects of the meaning of surströmming:

  • Tradition: Surströmming has a long history in Sweden, and its production and consumption have been passed down through generations. It is a part of Sweden’s cultural heritage and allows for a connection to past generations.
  • Uniqueness: Surströmming has a distinct taste and aroma that cannot be found in other products. This makes it intriguing for those seeking new and exotic culinary experiences.
  • Preparation process: The process of fermenting and fermenting fish in a can gives surströmming its characteristic smell and taste. This preparation process is part of its uniqueness and appeals to those interested in culinary processes.
  • Social event: The consumption of surströmming often becomes a social event, especially in Sweden. People gather together to share this product, and it can serve as a catalyst for socializing and creating enjoyable memories.
  • Travel and tourism: Surströmming also attracts tourists who want to try something unique during their trip to Sweden. This can contribute to the development of the tourism industry and promote Swedish culture.

Why do people eat surströmming

Overall, the meaning of surströmming is to offer something distinct and preserve the traditions associated with it, while its unique taste and aroma become a source of interest and pleasure for those willing to try something new.

Why do people eat surströmming?

Despite its unusual and sometimes unpleasant smell, surströmming has its fans and serves as a subject of interest for cultural gastronomy researchers. For some people, surströmming becomes part of an adventurous experience. They may try this product to discover its taste and share their impressions with others.

Is it possible to eat surströmming?

Surströmming is typically served with bread or potatoes. Some people prefer to consume it without any additional components to fully enjoy the unique taste and “aroma” of this product.

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