When I went to Thailand I was surprised to see some big signs prohibiting some type of food in my hotel room, particularly something called “durian”. Have you heard of it? Well, I didn’t know what it was until later on, as you will find out in the blog post.

From that experience, I started to think which other weird food is prohibited in the world. Read this article to discover my findings, I collected the top 10 tasteful and  distasteful food prohibitions.

Top 10 food prohibitions


1) Surströmming (sour herring): this is a canned product, it consists of fermented fish from the Baltic Sea, popular in Sweden. Apparently, its smell is very very strong. This delicacy was banned by some airlines in 2006 because apparently pressurised Surströmming’s may explode. They are also banned in the EU, with the exception of Sweden, because of its high content of dioxins.

2) Chewing gum: despite being inoffensive from its look. Singapore decided to impose a ban on it because of the people’s behaviour: wasted chewing gums in the streets can be a big problem. So it’s a criminal offence to import chewing gum nowadays.

picture of chewing gum - food prohibitions

3) Lettuce: in many countries, lettuce is one of the favourite five a day, whereas it’s forbidden by the Yazidis religion. This religion is widespread in Iraq, but also in Germany. This is one of the most shocking food prohibitions.

4) Eggs: this high in nutrients food is actually forbidden for some in India, in fact loyal to Janism and some Hindu don’t eat them. Of course, vegans too don’t eat eggs.

5) Guinea Pigs: this animal is commonly eaten in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, it is allowed in most of the US, but it’s forbidden in New York City, the reasons for this ban are unclear, there have been accusations of cultural discrimination.

picture of guinea pig, one of the food prohibitions

6) Casu Marzu: this is a cheese with an emblematic name is loved in Sardinia. The cheese has a very peculiar characteristic: it contains maggots. These maggots are introduced on purpose, to augment its fermentation. These larvae can persist in the human body, that’s why the cheese is banned in some countries of Europe.

7) Swans: people have been eating swans for centuries, but then it became a taboo, the beauty of these animals certainly contributed to it. Roast swans were the favourite dish of Henry VIII, king of England, but they were banned when they became ownership of the Royal Crown. In recent years, the idea of going back to eating swans was brought back in Michigan where their overpopulation  is causing problems.

8) Durian: this fruit is very consumed in South East Asia, people love it. You will find in night markets, but also in drinks, biscuits and so on. I have been told that either you like or you dislike it. As I said at the beginning of the article, I was very curious about this fruit, and once someone offered me a taste of durian flavoured milk, it’s enough to say that it gave me the shivers. I think I am part of the people who dislike durians. But why is part of the food prohibitions? Durian is forbidden in some places, such as hotels, this because of its very strong smell – it’s considered the world’s smelliest fruit.

picture of durians one of the food prohibitions

9) Purple Mangosteen: this is considered the best tropical fruit, for its lush taste, it’s banned from being imported into the US. But people in South East Asia can easily buy it for cheap. However, like its fellow durian, mangosteens are forbidden in hotel rooms, because of their purple juice that can leave very bad indelible stains.

10) Kinder eggs: this kid-favourite chocolate is banned from the US, because the law says that “food containing objects is not allowed, unless the object is visible“. This brought to the creation of similar food, where the inside toy is slightly visible for the joy of American children.

Are you aware of any other weird food prohibitions? Comment below, please.

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