The Disgusting Food Museum invites guests to expand their understanding of global food culture and challenge their prejudices by interacting with 80 different foods from around the world.
From maggot-infused cheese from Italy, to Iceland’s ammonia-scented shark to the United States’ meat-and-gelatin Jell-O salads, there’s something likely to incite initial feelings of discomfort in every visitor, either via taste, texture, aroma, or preparation. Even pork made the list, not due to its sensory attributes, but for the horrific nature of factory farming that accounts for most of the world’s pig supply. Each item is presented with a short profile, explaining how it’s prepared and enjoyed in its place of origin. By including foods from around the world, the museum highlights the subjectivity of disgust. Root beer, a favorite in Canada and the United States, is featured because many Europeans think it tastes like toothpaste. Meanwhile, surströmming, a pickled Baltic herring that’s a favorite sandwich topper in Sweden, made the cut for its aroma, which some compare to rotten eggs. There are plenty of opportunities for visitors to smell and taste select items so they can confront their preconceived notions with firsthand experience.
It may be called Disgusting Food Museum, but the project aims to break down visitors’ notions of disgust through playful exposure and exploration of the unknown. As the museum puts it, “Sharing a meal is the best way to turn strangers into friends.”