sune eating herring split image

The Disgusting Food Museum in Sweden played host to a stomach-churning competition – with people battling it out to scoff the most fermented herring.

The dish, also known as surströmming, is a traditional Swedish delicacy, although since it’s fermented it’s probably fair to say it’s a bit of an acquired taste.

The fish, which is sold in cans, is covered in just enough salt to stop it from rotting, and plenty of people have been seen retching and vomiting while simply opening a can as they challenge themselves to eat it for social media videos.

@guinnessworldrecords Most fermented herring eaten in one min 🐟🤢 392.7 grams (13.85 oz) by Sune Valentin Norlin 🇸🇪 #fermentedherring#surströmming#sweden#guinnessworldrecords @Disgusting Food Museum ♬ original sound - Guinness World Records

It was Sune Valentin Norlin (Sweden) who claimed the record for most fermented herring eaten in one minute after chowing down on 392.7 grams (13.85 oz) of it.

That’s just under two full tins of the stuff.

A representative from the Disgusting Food Museum said: “The issue of eating surströmming is not the amount of fish, but rather the horrifyingly putrid smell, the sometimes slimy texture and at times overwhelming aftertaste of a strongly fermented product. 

sune valentin norlin eating fermented herring

Meaning the biggest part of the challenge will be to not vomit during the attempt, over actually eating a large amount in a short time.

“Opening and serving surströmming is a staple part of what we do at the Disgusting Food Museum and as such it feels all but natural that we should stand as host and facilitator to an attempt at a world record of the most surströmming eaten in one minute.”

Organizers of the competition were so convinced contestants would throw up they had vomit buckets on hand.

a bowl of fermented herring

But 71-year-old Sune had a tactic in mind to overcome this when he took on the other challengers for the record in September 2022.

“You’ve just got to swallow it,” he told newspaper Sydsvenskan

He added: “I haven't eaten surströmming in 15-20 years. But I read about it in the newspaper and thought it sounded fun.”

man plugs his nose while watching fermented herring eating contest

Unlike the people on the internet who gagged while simply opening a can, Sune was seen calmly tucking into the dish as he took on the challenge.

He completely devoured one whole 200 gram bowl with around 26 seconds still on the clock, and began on a second, which he didn’t quite finish off – but it was enough to clinch the title.

He was a big hit with the crowd as well, with one person even holding up a handmade sign reading “Heja Sune!” which means “Hey Sune!”

sune fan holds up a sign

A representative from the Museum added: "We are absolutely thrilled to congratulate Sune on his record-shattering achievement. Consuming 392.7 grams of surströmming in one minute is a feat requiring astonishing focus, an ironclad stomach, and a tenacious spirit. 

"Sune has cemented his place among the legends here at the museum for this awe-inspiring accomplishment. His name will be etched in our halls and stories of his determination retold for years. 

"Sune has our deepest admiration for pushing the limits of what the human body can endure in the name of breaking records. We salute his competitive drive and cast-iron gut! Congratulations on making disgusting food surströmming history!"

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