Sheep eyeball juice I get. Maggot-infested cheese is practically a given. But Vegemite? According to the co-curator of Sweden’s newly opened Disgusting Food Museum, Vegemite is among the world’s most polarising foods.
Sweden couldn’t have a Disgusting Food Museum without Vegemite, co-curator Samuel West told the ABC.
"I love Vegemite so I'm kind of sad that it's in the museum," he said, though admitted that it would be a "traumatic food experience" for those who mistook it for Nutella.
But it’s not just Vegemite that joined the ranks of disgusting dishes from Australia. “Nasty” musk sticks and witchetty grubs made the cut too.
Opening today, the Disgusting Food Museum in Malmo will feature 80 dishes from across the globe that whether loved or hated, can seem a little strange to the uninitiated (again, let’s mention the sheep eyeball juice).
But before Aussies start boycotting the Swedes (I’m guessing a Swedish meatball revolt at IKEA may have been in the works), the curators of the museum hope the exhibits will challenge people's perception of disgust.
"Our current meat production is terribly environmentally unsustainable, and we urgently need to start considering alternatives," Dr West said in a statement.
"If we can change our notions of what food is disgusting or not, it could potentially help us transition to more sustainable protein sources."
Just some of the foods on display include cuy (roasted guinea pigs) from Peru, baby mice wine from China, natto (fermented soybeans) from Japan, durian fruit from south east Asia, balut (duck egg with a partially developed foetus) from the Philippines and Twinkies from the USA.
With such delicacies from which to choose, West says the item he finds most repulsive is Hákarl (which is made by burying the toxic meat of the Greenland shark in the ground and then hanging it to dry) from Iceland.
“It tastes like death mixed with ammonia,” he told the BBC.
“I think Anthony Bourdain described it as the single most disgusting thing he’s ever eaten — and I can only agree.”
The Disgusting Food Museum will be open from Wednesday to Sunday between 31 October 2018 and 27 January 2019.
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