If you're in Sweden on the third Thursday of August, and smell a foul odor in the air, don't worry; it's the beginning of the season for the consumption of surstömming, the Epoch Times reported.
Surstömming more or less translates into "sour herring", and is considered a Swedish delicacy hailing from northern Sweden, according to The Local. In English, people describe it as rotten herring, but the fish is actually fermented.
The fish is caught in the Baltic Sea during the spring, fermented for one or two months and then put into a tin where the fermentation process continues. The can of fish often begins to protrude in odd ways from gases released by the fish, the Epoch Times reported.
When opened, the smell of the fish is so bad that it is banned from many apartment blocks in Sweden. The Local described the smell as, "similar to rotten eggs mixed with rancid butter and vinegar." It is customary for the delicacy to be enjoyed outside.
If you ask a Swede how to eat surstömming, you will get a divided response.
The Epoch Times reported that the common way to eat the fish is on thin pieces of crisp bread, topped with six slices of potato, a small piece of surstömming, sour cream, dill, red onion and tomato.
Older Swedes will say the best way to enjoy surstömming is with milk, crackers, and local beer, according to The Local.
Sweden stands alone when it comes to appreciating the stinky fish. In 2006, the BBC reported that many airlines, including British Airways, KLM, and Air France, banned the fish on flights saying that it was a dangerous weapon.
The airlines claim that the cans could potentially explode due to the continued fermentation process going on inside.
Surstömming supporters call the airlines' judgment "culturally illiterate."