Who needs The Metropolitan Museum of Art or The Louvre when there’s the Disgusting Food Museum?! The new attraction, which is set to open on Wednesday, October 31 in Malmö, Sweden, boasts an array of unappetizing food that’s just about as cringeworthy as it gets.
For Andreas Ahrens, the museum director, the most disgusting food on display is balut – partially developed duck fetuses that are boiled inside the egg and eaten straight from the shell.
“I first tried it when I lived in the Philippines, where it’s a common street food,” Ahrens tells Us Weekly. “I also love the Casu Marzu, which is Sardinian pecorino that is infested by cheese fly larvae. The little maggots can jump up to 15 centimeters, so you have to cover your eyes when you eat it.”
Museum curator Samuel West, who previously opened the Museum of Failure, dubs Icelandic shark the museum’s grossest food because “it smells like death and ammonia.”
“It is impossible to eat without a large shot of Icelandic Black Death schnapps,” he adds. “Haggis – the infamous national dish of Scotland made of sheep heart, liver and lungs – is also interesting.”
For West, opening the Disgusting Food Museum is about much more than just making visitors a little queasy and eliciting repulsed reactions. “When I opened the Museum of Failure I was amazed at the impact it had. If a simple fun exhibit could change peoples’ attitude towards failure, what other assumptions could an exhibit change? Our current meat production is terribly environmentally unsustainable, and we urgently need to start considering alternatives,” he explains. “But many people are disgusted by the idea of eating insects and skeptical about lab-grown meat, and it all boils down to disgust. If we can change our notions of what food is disgusting or not, it could potentially help us transition to more sustainable protein sources.”
To develop the museum, Ahrens and West, who are old friends, worked side-by-side. “We developed the concept together, along with a small team of researchers, graphic designers and interns,” Ahrens notes. “Sourcing the unusual foods was, and still is a huge challenge. You should see my credit card bill – I’ve ordered stuff from all over the world!”
Of the 80 exhibits in the museum, which also displays a fruit bat and spicy rabbit heads, the majority are real and some can even be smelled or tasted. “We have a special section for cheese that we call The Altar of Stinky Cheese. The absolute stinkiest is Vieux Boulogne from France,” Ahrens added.
The museum will be open Wednesday through Sunday starting on October 31, and the price of admission for adults is approximately $21.
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