From the “who thought this one up?” category

Photo of Kusaya from Wikipedia

Photo of Kusaya from Wikipedia

Kusaya (くさや) is a Japanese dish of fermented fish. The taste isn't too bad, but the smell is truly overpowering.

A work acquaintance of mine is from an area where kusaya is a delicacy, and wanted me to try some. So when she and her husband visited us in Okinawa, they brought a bottle of it with them.

Being generally game for anything and not too bright, I tried one. Holding my breath, I picked one up, popped it into my mouth, and ate it. It actually didn't taste too bad. On my colleague's advice I washed my hands thoroughly, and we went out to dinner.

Then about an hour later, having totally forgotten about the kusaya, I went to scratch my nose with the fingers that had touched the fish — and the smell was so bad, I nearly threw up from an intense flash of nausea. I think it was the fact that I wasn't expecting to smell anything so foul was what got me. The smell of kusaya is no joke!

After that, even opening the jar of kusaya made me sick to my stomach, and since my wife (wisely) wanted no part of it, I had to throw the thing out. Poor little fishies gave up their lives just to prove a point — some things really are too foul to eat — and to raise a question: who was it who first let their fish rot to this state, and thought that eating it would be a good idea?

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