Number 52: Umeboshi

7 Apr

Let me preface this post by saying that I am an adventurous eater.  I will pretty much taste anything, eat it, and enjoy it.  It takes a LOT for me to be grossed out, and even when I’m grossed out, I still tough it out and usually have a few more bites.  Yesterday, however, in the war of Kathryn vs. umeboshi, umeboshi won.

So what is umeboshi, you’re asking?  Those were my thoughts exactly.  Umeboshi is (are? I don’t even know if it’s singular or plural because I’m too lazy to look it up) Japanese pickled plums that are usually eaten with white rice.  This sounded fantastic to me!  I like plums.  I like salty things.  Let’s do this shiz.  The only slight concern I had was the third ingredient.  Take a gander:

Oh, hello, monosodium glutamate!  Yes, MSG.  Also notice how 2 tiny plums make up 42% of your daily sodium intake.  This was gonna be fun.  I dove in.

Never in my ENTIRE LIFE has my gag reflex been triggered so violently or so often within the span of 10 seconds.  The smell, the taste, and the texture all worked together in a seemingly sadistic manner, resulting in one of the closest near-puke experiences I’ve ever had.

The plum itself was a slimy, mushy texture and it was both sour, tangy, and incredibly salty at once.  I imagine that’s what formaldehyde tastes like.  A friend of mine decided to give it a shot, too, and he described the taste of umeboshi as a mixture between “vinegar and asshole.”  Well said, Nick.  Well said.

The worst part is that a day later, I can still taste it and smell it.  I have bathed, brushed my teeth, eaten several other foods, and yet it somehow lingers. I honestly think it’s a psychological thing.  I was so emotionally disturbed by the experience that I can’t get it out of my mind or my senses.

If I haven’t made it crystal clear already, umeboshi is one of the most offensive things I have EVER eaten- and I’ve eaten bugs before, folks!  I know a couple people who like it, so it must just be an acquired taste, but the only word that I can think of when I think of umeboshi is “appalling.”  I feel some nightmares coming on…


10 Responses to “Number 52: Umeboshi”

  1. Cathy April 8, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Wow. That sounds terrible. I’m glad you tried it, so now I know not to!

  2. Erin April 8, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    Holy sodium!!! You are a trooper… I would already be done with the challenge!

  3. Miss Angie April 8, 2011 at 11:00 am #

    *Shudder* I really don’t think I’ll be racing to try that any time soon.

  4. Allison @ Runs A Latte April 8, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    Yeah, MSG! I wonder if it’s used for flavor or preservation. If flavor, then major FAIL. And wouldn’t the 980g of salt be enough to preserve those disgusting plums, anyway?

  5. Bridget April 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm #

    Oh HELL to the no! MSG??? Pickled balls of salt?? Just the look of those is enough to make anyone gag! I applaud your courage sissy. *and nice camera work!

  6. IntenseGuy April 12, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    Sounds like this should have used on “Fear Factor!”

    Okay, I’m skipping this one – I’ll eat my plums WITH some pickles…

  7. Stephanie April 24, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    I love umeboshi, and I kinda think you ate the Hershey’s milk chocolate candy bar version of umeboshi, instead of the Shaffen Berger version. Maybe find a non-MSG version and try again. You also only eat one. Maybe two.

    They are really good in ochazuke (basically, you use green tea as broth for a rice based soup).

  8. DW May 24, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

    Holy crap, I just tried the exact same brand. I was kinda hoping that, as the umeboshi loving poster said, they were just the low-budget ones I happened to be able to get my hands on. I wanted to make traditional onigiri (rice balls, for those who aren’t familiar with them). I make ’em with tuna usually because I don’t usually work with exotic ingredients, just the same old stuff most ordinary white people have in their kitchens in the U.S. And tuna was good in the rice balls. But the plums… oh, no. I forced myself to choke down the two I ate because I had taken them to the laundromat for my dinner and the vending machine had nothing but “flaming hot” everything. And you are so right. They are so spectacularly bad. I don’t know how there could ever even be a better quality version of these sickening fruits! As Jackie Mason said, you shouldn’t have to acquire a taste for something. You don’t have to acquire a taste for potato chips. They taste good.

    • Kathryn June 6, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

      I completely agree! If they’re so delicious, then WHY did everyone who tried them hate them? Sorry you had to go through that- I can’t believe you ate two! One bite was moer than enough for me 🙂


  1. Number 83: Pocky | OMNIVORE100PROJECT - April 11, 2011

    […] eating umeboshi last week, I decided I needed to eat something that would remind me what I loved about Japanese cuisine- and […]

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