There are many stinky foods but taste good from around the world. When we talk about food, what immediately comes to our mind is delicious, smells good, aroma, and tasty. However, there are exceptions with some foods in almost all countries of the world. There are vegetables and fruits that taste bad. And when it is ready-to-eat food, it tends to smell bad. In fact, some people also say that the taste is far from delicious.

We already know the strange and unique foods from around the world. They are famous because of their unpleasant aroma or strange taste. Some of the unique foods – stinky foods but taste good – from around the world, such as Natto – Japan, Iru – Nigeria (other names are Dawadawa fermented locust beans), Doenjang – Korean fermented soybean paste, stinky tofu – China, Vieux Boulogne of France – French cheese made from raw cow’s milk, Surströmming – Sweden, and Lutefisk – Norway.

What are these stinky foods?

Stinky foods but taste good in Indonesia persists to this day. It’s because many people still love it. To eat it can be in the form of fresh or processed. Indonesia is popular for its diversity. The diversity of plant varieties and diversity of culture, causing the diversity of food recipes. Nowadays it is difficult to find some of them, but which still exists, is now a favorite of the Indonesian people. Below is a short review of some stinky food that tastes good which made from native vegetables or fruit of Indonesia.

1. Durian

Durian (Durio sp) is a species natively from Indonesia. Talking about Indonesian stinky foods but taste good, Durian is number one on the list. It is one of the favorite fruits in Indonesia. The fruit season is only once a year, so the supply of fruit is limited. It makes the price of durian fruit expensive. Durian lovers really like the aroma of the fruit. But this smell is very disturbing for some people. But the smell of durian is a very disturbing aroma for those who do not like it.

Perfect ripe of Durian fruit

Why Durian has strong aroma?

The strong aroma of durian comes from volatile compounds, such as aldehydes, alcohols, esters, sulfur, and ketones. The distinctive aroma of durian flesh is also related to the content of sulfur compounds, 3, 5-dimethyl-1,2,4-trithiolane, and ethyl 2-methylbutanoate. In Indonesia, Durian is generally consumed when the fruit in the maximum ripe phase. The definition of ripe durian fruit and suitable for consumption for Indonesians is when the flesh of the fruit is soft, and the aroma is at its peak. According to Indonesian people, a good durian is one that smells good, is sweet, fluffier, and has thick flesh.

Consumption of fresh durian is a very fun activity for durian lovers. Moreover, Indonesia has a high diversity of durian. You can taste the fruit from the soft to the very strong aroma, or from the white, yellow, to red flesh. In West Sumatra, people also consume durian by mixing it with sticky rice.

2. Tempoyak

Tempoyak food recipe is the result of durian fermentation. The name Tempoyak probably comes from the way it is processed. This food processing is done by “mempoyak“-Indo (tearing) the durian fruit into small and fine pieces. Then the smooth fruit is mixed with spices and salt.

After the fermentation process, in a tightly closed container. This process generally lasts for a week. This food is very popular, especially for people in southern Sumatra. Consumption of Tempoyak usually by mixing it with chili sauce. Tempoyak is one of the most stinky foods but taste good in Indonesia.

3. Sesam

In the Menggala area, Lampung Province, people use durian to make Sesam. Sesam is also a fermented durian food. The preparation is like Tempoyak, but there is the addition of freshwater fish in the recipe. Boiled fish meat that has been cleaned of thorns is added to the durian until it is evenly mixed.

The dough is then placed in a container and tightly closed for the fermentation process. How to eat it, similar to Tempoyak, Sesam is used as a mixture of chili sauce. Tempoyak tastes sour, although Sesam is sour, it is savorier. If you willing to try one of the most stinky foods but taste good, Sesam is your best choice.

4. Durian Coffee

Duren is one of the favorite fruits in Indonesia. Not surprisingly, in Indonesia, you can find many foods that use durian as the basic ingredient. These foods are durian Dodol, durian candy, durian cake, durian ice cream. But probably you should try durian coffee. This coffee recipe is popular in southern Sumatra. Usually, they use robusta coffee. Robusta from the traditional roasting process, with dark roasting level. The recipe is made by mixing the ready-drink hot black coffee with durian flesh fruit. Want to try?

5. Jering

Jering (Archidendron bubalinum) is in the same genera as Jengkol (Archidendron pauciflorum). However, in terms of unpleasant odors, Jering has much more unpleasant odors. The most stinky foods but taste good which comes from Fabaceae family. The trees and leaves, briefly from afar, it is similar to Jengkol, but the shape of the fruit is different. The fruit pod is round and elongated. The pod contains several Jering seeds. The trees generally grow wild in the forest or grow in the yard without intensive care.

We can eat Jering as Lalab, but there are some recipes to turn it into delicious food. Sambal Jering with several combinations, such as using salty fish or several other fish. But still, the unpleasant smell of Jering is dominant. Even though sambal Jering is famous for its delicious taste, bad breath after consuming Jering still makes you and those around you feel uncomfortable.

6. Jengkol

Jengkol (Archidendron pauciflorum) has several synonyms for the scientific name: Archidendron jiringa, Pithecellobium jiringa, and Pithecellobium lobatum. This species is one of the native plants of Indonesia. Known as a delicious food ingredient. However, some people do not like to eat Jengkol because of the unpleasant smell. No doubt to put jengkol in the list of stinky foods but taste good.

In Indonesia, there are only a few areas where the consumption of Jengkol is relatively higher than in other regions. The Sundanese in West Java and the Padang peoples in West Sumatra are a group that has a strong culture with Jengkol for their daily menu. As for other areas, Jengkol is not too much of becoming a menu that often appears in the daily meal list. To get processed dishes of Jengkol, you can easily find them in Padang or Sundanese restaurants.

The price sometimes more expensive than beef

On several occasions, the price of Jengkol becomes expensive. The price is sometimes more expensive than the price of beef. The price of Jengkol has also caused an increase in the inflation rate in several areas a few years ago.

stinky foods but taste good
Jengkol beans – one of Indonesian stinky foods but taste good

Because of its delicacy, even though it stinky, Jengkol always becomes a favorite as the main ingredient for various recipes in Indonesia. After consuming Jengkol, the risk is that the breath, urine, and feces become very smelly. The smell will fill the room and make you uncomfortable.

Jengkol eaten fresh as lalab. Usually, eat with a mixture of chili sauce and other menus. “Lalab” is the term when vegetables are eaten raw. For people who live in West Java, for Lalab, they choose mature Jengkol. While in Central Java, they generally prefer young Jengkol. Old Jengkol has a stronger aroma and crunchier texture. While young Jengkol, tastes more bitter.

7. Sepi

This special recipe only exists in the West Java area. How to make Sepi is to bury old Jengkol in the ground for 1-2 weeks. Then Sepi is ready to be eaten as Lalab. The aroma is stronger than fresh Jengkol but the texture is softer. Dare to try? So far Sepi is the weirdest recipe of Jengkol. So if you are curious to try Indonesian stinky foods but taste good, put Sepi on your wish list.

8. Fried Jengkol

To make fried jengkol, the method is very easy, because it is only enough to slice the jengkol before frying until dry. Fried Jengkol is generally available when we choose the Nasi Liwet menu at a Sundanese restaurant. Generally eaten with as a complement to other menus such as fried salty fish, fried tofu and tempeh, fresh vegetables as Lalab, and of course spicy chili sauce.

9. Rendang Jengkol

Rendang Jengkol is the main menu at Padang restaurants. And become the long-awaited menu for Jengkol lovers. Rendang recipes use various spices such as nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, pepper, and cinnamon. So, you can imagine the taste of Jengkol combined with a very large combination of spices. The result is one of the favorite foods for many peoples.

10. Gulai Jengkol

Gulai Jengkol has a softer taste because the way to prepare is only until everything is cooked. For information, the difference between Gulai and Rendang is the duration of cooking time and the water content. Rendang takes longer than Gulai. The water content of Gulai is still high and the color is usually yellowish. While Rendang is barely watery and darker in color.

11. Semur Jengkol

The method of cooking Semur is different from Rendang and Gulai. The spices recipes have similarities. But Semur uses more soy sauce than Rendang and Gulai. This is what makes the Semur taste sweeter and darker in color than other processed products.

12. Petai

Petai (Parkia speciosa) is softer than Jengkol for the stinky level. But Petai also one of the most popular vegetables in Indonesia. For those who like it, Petai has a savory and delicious taste. But for some people, the distinctive strong and pungent aroma of Petai is even disturbing. Especially the aroma that comes out of the mouth after enjoying Petai.

Petai pods in the Indonesian traditional market

Despite the smell and many who do not like it, Petai is a vegetable that has medicinal properties. Many articles review the benefits of Petai for health. mentions consumption of Petai is beneficial for health. This benefit comes from the content of several antioxidants in the Petai fruit. Benefits Petai besides being able to reduce levels of free radicals in the body and curb inflammation, can also help lower blood sugar content, improve the digestive system and heart health.

Have you ever taste Petai pod?

Petai is very popular in Indonesia. This causes a large variety of Petai recipes in Indonesia. However, there are some common Petai serving recipes. The simplest way is to enjoy raw Petai as Lalab. A little processing is by grilling or frying it first before eating it. Stinky foods but taste good, delicious actually.

Petai is also commonly used as an ingredient in chili sauce, stir-fry, and other vegetable recipes. If you’re lucky, you can also enjoy stir-fried Petai pod skin (pericarp) at Padang restaurant. Usually, anchovy is a mixture of sauteed skin of this Petai fruit. And of course, this recipe is spicy and has a strong aroma of spices.

13. Lamtoro

Lamtoro (Leucaena leucocephala) generally grows wild in the yard and fields. The most common cultivation of Lamtoro is as a hedge and as a vine for vanilla and pepper. The Lamtoro tree is also well-known as a source of firewood and animal feed. Some local names for Lamtoro in Indonesia, are Mlanding, pelending, peuteuy selong, temboro, kemlandingan, metir, kalandhingan and lantoro.

Lamtoro is a member of the Fabaceae family. The adaptability is wide, so it is easy to find in almost all places in Indonesia. Peoples usually eat some parts of Lamtoro, such as young leaves, young fruit, and old fruit. The aroma is not good even though it is still lower/softer than Jering, Jengkol, and Petai.

How to eat Lamtoro? You can eat young Lamtoro pods and seeds as Lalab. Or it could be by eating processed Lamtoro such as chili sauce, stir-fry, and Botok. Botok is a traditional steamed food recipe. the seeds are mixed with spices and coconut.

14. Sembukan

Today Sembukan’s popularity as a vegetable is decreasing. One of the reasons for this could be the uncomfortable smell of the pus. Even because of the smell, one of the local names is Daun Kentut (fart leaves) and Skunk Vine (English). So, when we hear the name, it is normal if Sembukan then included in the list of stinky foods but taste good.

The distinctive aroma after eating Sembukan (Paederia foetida), comes from sulfur compounds. Sembukan leaves contain dimethyl sulfide. In addition, Sembukan also contains metabolites from the group of saponins, phenols, flavonoids, terpenoids, and alkaloids.

Sembukan is one of the medicinal plants in Indonesia. The leaves have properties as an anti-rheumatic drug, analgesics, laxative urine, laxative phlegm, appetite enhancer (stomatic), antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, antitussive, and diarrhea.

Sembukan (Paederia foetida)

It is unpopular to eat raw as Lalab. Indonesian people generally consume Sembukan after being processed into Botok. But of course, the smell is still there. The smell of sulfur on the breath and farts too.

15. Mengkudu

Mengkudu (Morinda citrifolia) has a pungent odor and a bitter taste. The fruit is more commonly known as an ingredient for traditional medicine. The juice and extract can be used to help maintain endurance, overcome digestive disorders, skin infections, canker sores, skin diseases, to accelerate wound healing.

One of the food recipes from Mengkudu is Rujak (Indonesia salad). The salad uses peanut sauce made by mixing with hot chili and shrimp paste. The peanut sauce is then mixed with several fruits such as guava, cucumber, papaya, pineapple, and ambarella. Interest to try?

16. Tauco

Tauco uses as a spice that has a distinctive taste and strong aroma. For those who like it, the taste of Tauco is savory and appetizing. But for those who do not like it, the smell of Tauco does smell bad. Tauco is one of Indonesian stinky foods but taste good.

The bad taste comes from the process. Making Tauco started with boiling white or yellow soybeans and mixed with wheat flour. This mixture is then fermented. The results of the fermentation process are then mixed with saltwater, soaked, and dried in the sun until a strong aroma arises.

The appearance of the Tauco is similar to a brown soybean sauce. Indonesians use Tauco as an ingredient in traditional dishes. The strong aroma of Tauco, according to food lovers, makes the taste of the food more delicious.

17. Oncom

Oncom in the peak phase of fermentation

Made from the fermentation process, Oncom is one of the popular food in Indonesia. It’s delicious food for people who like it. Apart from the slightly unpleasant aroma, according to people who do not like it. There are so many food recipes in Indonesia that use it as a basic ingredient.

Categories: Edible

Muryanto Paiman

always love to learn from nature.  Passionate on studying plants in some aspects: the DNA, Identification, propagation, and their uses


bisecting · July 7, 2021 at 3:16 pm

Good post! Ԝe are lіnking to this particularly great post on our website.
Keeρ up the good writing.

Medicinal and vegetable plant in Indonesia, Sembukan (Paederia foetida) · August 15, 2021 at 9:34 am

[…] to the plant. And it will increase sharply when we squeeze the leaves. When it becomes food, an unpleasant odor will be felt on the breath and when […]

Indonesian extreme food · January 10, 2022 at 8:45 pm

[…] Indonesian food is sometime weird for some peoples.  Peoples doesn’t like durian because the smell is to strong.  Indonesian people say the best time to eat durian is at the ripe stage. It different compare to Thailand peoples.  They eat earlier.  But Indonesian extreme food is not only Durian.  You can find many of them.  Jengkol is the most popular.  But, the strongest stinky food is Kabau.  Let say, the stinky level is 3 times than Jengkol. […]

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *