TripAdvisor Japan's 'World Stinky Foods' Infographic Reeks Your World

Travelers and tourists used to soaking up the world's most exotic sights and sounds can now satisfy their sense of smell as well, thanks to a new, nasally-oriented "tripgraphic" from TripAdvisor Japan. American-based TripAdvisor Media Group has expanded mightily since its founding back in 2000 and it now operates websites in over two dozen countries around the world, including Japan.

While visitors to each TripAdvisor website typically provide most of the site's content (most notably reviews of hotels, restaurants and other hospitality providers), the individual TripAdvisor sites supplement user-sourced content with helpful information meant to provide site visitors with useful travel information.

The following infographic (or “tripgraphic”, as they call it) titled “World Stinky Foods” and dated February 2012 can definitely be considered useful, whether travelers are out to exercise their noses or shelter them:

While the infographic (large version here) is composed mainly in Japanese, where English is used no punches are pulled: “World Stinky Foods” isn't exactly the most diplomatic way to title a guide to our planet's most aromatic and odorous comestibles but hey, they didn't hire yours truly so without further ado let's sniff out the Top 5.

1) Surströmming (Sweden, right): Ferociously fetid canned fermented Baltic herring, Surströmming was once described by British comedian Stephen Fry thusly; “Allegedly it can cause birds to fall dead from the sky, and it is banned by airlines, but it is quite good on toast.”

2) Hongeo (Korea): Raw rotten Skate (the fish, not the shoe) is lightly marinated in its own juice which is basically urea, and which decays into ammonia. Hongeo is best eaten with kimchi in a fruitless effort to moderate the “flavor”.

3) Epicure Cheese (New Zealand): According to the company website, Extra-Strong Mainland Epicure cheese “has been aged for up to 36 months for a strong flavoursome bite and crumbly texture. It is best eaten on its own, or with crackers, salads or pasta.” Doesn't sound so bad, at least until someone cuts the cheese.

4) Kiviak (Alaska, Canada, Greenland, right): This traditional Inuit delicacy is made by stuffing a gutted seal with up to 500 whole un-plucked auks (seabirds) and then burying the carcass under rocks for several months. When the seal is dug up, natural fermentation (ie, rotting) will have mainly liquified the birds' innards. Lovely. Partakers of Kiviak consume said innards by breaking off each bird's head. Hard to believe this is only #4.

5) Kusaya (Japan): A regional specialty with origins in the distant past, Kusaya is a form of Horse Mackerel (or occasionally, Shark) that owes its distinct flavor and “this stinks!” odor to the low-salt dip its soaked in before sun-drying. The best Kusaya dips can be several centuries old, passed down from one generation to the next and growing more potent by the year.

Doubtless foodies and gourmands will take issue with TripAdvisor Japan's infographic for not including notable nasal offenders such as Natto, Kimchi, and Limburger Cheese.

Not even Iceland's infamously putrid Hakarl (rotten Shark), ripe Durian fruit or France's notorious Époisses de Bourgogne cheese could crack the Top 5, no matter the latter's been banned from public transport in it's home country. Then again, could any of these hold a candle to a dead seal stuffed with seabirds and left under a rock to rot for a year?

Yep, thought so, and let's all be thankful to TripAdvisor Japan for not printing up the “World Stinky Foods” infographic in a scratch & sniff version. (via Gigazine)