Disgusting Food Museum Los Angeles
Food is so much more than sustenance. Curious foods from exotic cultures have always fascinated us. Unfamiliar foods can be delicious, or they can be more of an acquired taste. While cultural differences often separate us and create boundaries, food can also connect us. Sharing a meal is the best way to turn strangers into friends.
The evolutionary function of disgust is to help us avoid disease and unsafe food. Disgust is one of the six fundamental human emotions. While the emotion is universal, the foods that we find disgusting are not. What is delicious to one person can be revolting to another. Disgusting Food Museum invites visitors to explore the world of food and challenge their notions of what is and what isn’t edible. Could changing our ideas of disgust help us embrace the environmentally sustainable foods of the future?
The exhibit has 80 of the world’s most disgusting foods. Adventurous visitors will appreciate the opportunity to smell and taste some of these notorious foods. Do you dare smell the world’s stinkiest cheese? Or taste sweets made with metal cleansing chemicals?
Exhibited delicacies include:
- Surströmming – fermented herring from Sweden.
- Cuy – roasted guinea pigs from Peru.
- Casu marzu – maggot-infested cheese from Sardinia
- Stinky tofu – pungent bean curd from China.
- Hákarl – well-aged shark from Iceland.
- Durian – infamously stinky fruit from Thailand.
Los Angeles, CA
Dec 9 2018 – Feb 17 2019
A+D Architecture and Design Museum
900 E. 4th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
General Admission (13+): $15 weekdays / $18 weekends
Children 12 and younger: $10
- The idea that anything labeled “food” can be described as “disgusting” is a minefield, running up against cultural tastes and personal preferences, not to mention the shrinking ability of some countries to feed all their people. But clearly, if every human had a cornucopia of the world’s edibles laid out on a table stretching from one end of the earth to the next, not everyone would dig enthusiastically into, say, a lamprey pie, a sliver of maggot-infested pecorino or a chunk of rotten shark meat.
- Welcome to the world’s first exhibition devoted to foods that some would call revolting. The museum’s name and its contents are pretty controversial — one culture’s disgusting is another culture’s delicacy. That goes for escamoles, the tree-ant larvae eaten in Mexico, or shirako, the cod sperm eaten in Japan, or bird’s nest soup, a Chinese dish of nests made from bird saliva. The name is meant to grab visitors’ attention, but that’s the point that West says he’s trying to make: Disgust is a cultural construct.
- It’s easy to read the museum as a culturally insensitive house of culinary horrors — people (who are not me) in places (that are not here) eat that? And sure, there’s not not a gross-out factor, as evidenced by the name. But West told me the actual mission is the opposite: By really diving into the world of disgust, he’s hoping he can change the way people eat, and maybe save the world.
- Disgust is considered one of the basic human emotions, much like Pixar’s movie Inside Out showed us. It protects us from disease by making us avoid unsafe food— and yet while the emotion itself is universal, the food that we classify as “disgusting” is not. And that’s exactly why Swedish Samuel West and Andrea Ahrens created a museum dedicated to disgusting food from everywhere across the world.
- The unusual attraction will exhibit some of the most divisive dishes from around the globe, from rotten shark (a delicacy in Iceland) to south-east Asia’s infamously foul-smelling durian, a type of fruit so pungent it’s banned on public transport in Singapore.