But fermented skate from this southern island tops them all. By far South Korea’s smelliest food, the fish, called hongeo, is described by lovers and detractors alike as releasing odors reminiscent of an outhouse. Served most often as chewy pink slabs of sashimi, hongeo is prized by enthusiasts for the ammonia fumes it releases, sometimes so strong they cause people’s mouths to peel…

“I’ve eaten dog, durian and bugs, but this is still the most challenging food I’ve ever eaten,” said Joe McPherson, the American founder of the Korean food blog ZenKimchi, who has become a self-appointed ambassador for Korean cuisine. “It’s like licking a urinal.”…

Among the legions of the fish’s fans, the velvety texture of frozen hongeo liver melting on the tongue with a pinch of salt and red pepper has been compared to foie gras. The smell, to their minds, is most of the appeal, coupled with a tingling in the mouth that accompanies the hit of ammonia. Gourmets say a proper hongeo dinner must end with hongeo soup, steaming with the smell of boiling ammonia.