South Koreans crave Asia's smelliest fish

Associated Press
In this Feb. 19, 2014 photo, a skate seller puts slices of skate into styrofoam boxes for shipment to customers around South Korea at a fish market in Mokpo, a port city on the southwestern tip of the Korean Peninsula. The aroma of one of southwestern South Korea’s most popular delicacies regularly gets compared to rotting garbage and filthy bathrooms. And that’s by fans. The unusual dish is typically made by taking dozens of fresh skate, a cartilage-rich fish that looks like a stingray, stacking them up in a walk-in refrigerator and waiting. Up to a month in some cases. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

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The aroma of one of South Korea's most popular delicacies is regularly compared to rotting garbage and filthy bathrooms. And that's by fans.

The unusual dish is typically made by taking dozens of fresh skate, a cartilage-rich fish that looks like a stingray, stacking them up in a walk-in refrigerator and waiting. Up to a month in some cases.

The smell of the fish, called hongeo in Korean and usually eaten uncooked, is unmistakable, unavoidable and a deal-breaker for many. A profound, pungent stink of ammonia radiates from the animal after it's been ripening for weeks. First-timers often squeeze their eyes shut as they chew. Tears stream down the cheeks. The throat constricts with the effort of swallowing. (AP)

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