This product is found in the health food/organic aisle in my Giant.

Health food. Herring in sour cream. Does not compute.

I’ve had my eye on this one for a while, but the fear has always stopped me. It is extreme. This week I put on my big girl panties and grabbed the jar. Pray for me.

Smell: Like pickles and fish. The pickled scent comes from the vinegar listed on the ingredient list. For the first time I seriously considered not eating a product. I knew I had to perservere.

Appearance/Texture: It looked like creamy baby vomit with large silvery chunks. The cold sour cream felt like death and sadness on my tongue.

Taste: When I started this column, I made a promise to Eick that I would not swear. I don’t think he is watching so I am letting it rip: this was the most fucking disgusting shit I have ever eaten. The fish and the vinegar and the creaminess made me gag. I am a woman with a strong constitution and I nearly lost my dinner.

Final Verdict: Are you kidding me? Really?! Step away from the fish in a jar.


Lemmonex writes almost daily about food, life, and her fear of children on her blog, Culinary Couture.

72 Responses

  1. Jessica

    Yes, please. Stay away from the fish in the jar.

    This is a traditional Vigilia (Christmas Eve) dish for my Polish family – I won’t go so far as to say that it’s actually *tasty* when made fresh, but it’s definitely more palatable. I’m so sorry I couldn’t spare you the pain ahead of time.

  2. Julie

    This has to be the funniest thing all morning. Seriously though, why would you have even attempted this!!!

  3. Marissa


    That is the sickest looking thing I’ve ever seen. I would barf on site if I came across this in real life. Seriously. Gnarly.

  4. Eick

    Also, you should be commended for the courage to try such a foul product. This might be the worst you’ve faced since Potted Meat.

  5. rossitron

    this looks pretty bad. i’m curious, though, to see how a herring in sour cream lover would go about eating this. somebody has to like it, right? hell, i can imagine a bubba gump moment: herring in sour cream on bread; herring in sour cream potato salad; herring and sour cream pasta salad…

    okay, so i couldn’t think of more than three possibilities and it still doesn’t sound appetizing. but there HAS to be a delicious way to eat this. why else would it exist?

  6. barred owl

    my dad loves this stuff!
    i actually enjoy a bite or two on special occasions…

    we usually serve it on dark wheat crackers or rye bread.

  7. not that weird

    I actually like this stuff. Not buy this brand. And not in this variety.
    I forget who makes it, but there is one that comes in wine sauce and it’s not bad. You need to eat it with bread/crackers. Really not that bad. If I was really, really drunk, I think I’d say it’s actually really good. Its got a lot of character, this food.

  8. eli

    Growing up, they served this in synagogue on Saturdays for the post-services spread. I love it, but it must be some kind of childhood psychological affection.

  9. Shawn

    Oh my gosh.. That is so GROSS! Where do people come up with ideas like that. Who would honestly put fish in sour cream?

  10. Oxen Cox

    I hate to admit it, but I’ve tried it and liked it. I am also the girl that got caught eating ketchup with leftover chinese takeaway white rice. I like really good food, but I also like when the food I eat ends up tasting good… to me at least.

  11. melkozek

    Unfortunately you picked a bad brand of herring in sour cream. We get ours from a local market and it is much better.

    The best way to eat creamed herring is to put a piece on black bread (or Russian rye) and wash it down with ice cold vodka or even better, akavit.

    We have it every year on Christmas Eve and my Jewish, French and Norwegian friends love it.

    I guess it’s a Baltic Sea thing.

    You got the stuff that would be like Velveeta to a cheese fancier.

    P. S. My grandmother used to pickle her own herring when I was a kid, or you could go to the store and get them from a big wooden barrel.

  12. Rose'sLime

    As a herring eating 3rd generation Jew my first instinct is to be insulted, but I have to admit, part of the reason I like herring in sour cream is that it’s both good and gross. There’s the sweet and sour.. yum. Then there’s the vinegar and onion and fish and cream… yuck. The last time I tried putting on a big brunch spread I balked at the herring in sour cream and got herring in vinegar instead.

    I remember eating it on miniature square pumpernickle. Served alongside sturgeon and gravelax. I’ve had it after temple and also at a Norwegian friend’s x-mas party.

    If you’re in New York City, check out Russ & Daughters on Houston in the LES. They alwasy have a good variety of gourmet pickled herrings.

  13. Rose'sLime

    In response to melkozek, if you didn’t grow up eating this, I don’t think a better brand is going to help very much.

  14. Anonymous

    Clearly, most people didn’t grow up eating at “kiddushes” at synagogue on Saturday morning. These are a staple there (though I do personally prefer the herring in “wine” sauce), and, like certain nostalgic favorites, may be objectively “coarse,” relative to what we’re used to (see, e.g., grilled cheese with american cheese product and tomato soup from a can, for most “mainstream” Americans)

  15. lew

    You’re a sick lady!! You have no business being a food tester anytime anywhere for anything. That creamed herring is delicious& not unhealthy. Your background shows! Go away and stay there.

  16. Anonymous

    This woman is dumb and shouldn’t discourage other people not to try it.Reading her so called most miserable experience of her life dared me even more to go to the store and try one of these just to find out.Well all I can say is she is soooo wrong, are you kidding me it tastes delicious especially if you are seafood lover you will love it guarantee.Plus it’s healthy and rich in Omega3 fatty acids and what else to say.

  17. Bert

    I happen to enjoy creamed pickled herring as well.

    Last year I was in the Netherlands on the first day of herring season so I tried the raw herring. That, too, was delicious. A fatty fish, the raw herring tasted smooth and creamy. I look forward to going to NYC this spring for some raw herring.

  18. Steph

    I grew up eating this! I love it and I’m neither Jewish or Norweigian. In fact I just had some. My mom introduced me to it. She grew up in the early 1900’s on the Upper West Side in a very multi-ethnic apartment building and probably had Jewish neighbors that probably gave her some. If the sour cream gets to you, just try the “homestyle” in wine without sour cream. Herring is a mainstay of the Meditterranean diet and is very high in vitamin D and Omega-3 oils, more so than salmon. Hey, anyone that thinks its yucky just leaves more for ME!

  19. matto

    I prefer MaBaensch with sour cream/chives. Traditional festivus fare at our house. Its always fun to see a newbie try it for the first time, and we wont let you live it down if you don’t partake. Better to grin and bear it, but most come back for more. Pickled turkey gizzards and cannibal sandwiches round out the essential ‘appetizer’ tray. (at least you wont have to worry about the kids raiding it)

  20. Gregc

    Everybody in my family loves this. We can’t keep a bottle in the fridge for very long. When I was growing up, my dad kept trying to get me to taste it and I thought it looked disgusting. Then one day I tried it. Later…. my dad looked down into the empty jar and said “Hey! Who ate all my herring!” I like the pickled herring plain, in wine, or best in the sour cream. I guess it’s just something your tastebuds are wired for or not. BTW, we’re not jewish at all, so our liking it didn’t come from that background.

  21. Kevin

    This stuff is great. I love it. You just eat it right out of the jar. Keep a big jar at work in the fridge, and have some for lunch every day.

    You must not like great tasting stuff. No food is pretty after you chew it.

  22. Gina

    I actually love this stuff! Vita also makes it in red wine sauce which is really yummy on crackers!


  23. johnny

    sour cream herring > wine sauce herring all day.

    love it, i buy a couple jars whenever i can

  24. Suzan

    I grew up with this stuff, and although with Czech and Norwegian grandparents, we’re gentile. I can’t tell you how much we all enjoy this treat!! There’s nothing unhealthy about this, and like with everything you eat, moderation is the key. The plump, meaty herring pieces tinged with that great vinegar tang and the smooth creaminess of good sour cream…well, you can’t beat it. On toast, crackers or excellent rye bread with plenty of caraway, it’s the best. A steak dinner can look crappy if you take a bad picture of it. Leave herring alone…it’s delish!

  25. Gregc

    Ever had hot wings with ranch or bleu cheese dressing to cut the hotness? This is no different. The herring is pickled in vinegar to preserve it. When it came time to serve it, the sour cream was a way of cutting the tartness of the vinegar.

  26. Dov B

    I love Herring in sour cream, and I like the Vita product.
    As a Herring lover, I meet a lot of people who hate the stuff
    So, I recommend to taste by yorself and not rely on others. you may experience some pain, but also gain…

  27. European

    You are just bunch of the stupid American freaks! Pickled herring with sour cream is the best food ever!

  28. Some Guy

    Wow! A food blog made for and by chicken nuggets /pizza pockets / fast food eaters. How can any of this be taken seriously?

  29. Polish Mama on the Prairie

    I agree with melkozek and Some Guy. In fact, the writer of this blog calls himself a “fatso” several times in his posts, so I’m not worried about his food opinions. My children (5 and 1 yrs old) have better developed taste palettes than he does.
    Vita Herring in Sour Cream can cost $10 a jar. That’s not cheap. Do you really think that people would pay that much for it, or it even be on the market at most grocery stores if it was so foul as you describe it?
    First, you eat it with good bread. Not that cheap $1.50 a loaf white slime I’m sure you eat. Real bread. Put some butter on it. Not that hydrogenated oil junk. Real butter. You eat a bit of it with the bread.
    And yes, Vita is like Velveeta to a cheese connoisseur, but it’s not quite that bad (what’s IN Velveeta, anyway?).
    Sorry, I don’t think a “foodie” is someone who’s normal fave foods are fast foods and stuff loaded with artificial preservatives, coloring, additives, salt and wierd stuff nobody would eat if they actually knew what it was. Hardly any countries in the world eat like that. But yet, you are criticizing something that you have no knowledge of. I guess you think a new flavor potatoe chip is exciting.


    I love this just out of the jar or made into a salad with red beets, etc. My background
    is Northern Germany and herring is a popular dish. I like the herring with vinegar and VITA is my favorite brand. Around here they sell one called Mama Cohen’s and that is not half as good. Sorry to disagree with your dislike of this product,

  31. Steve V.

    my mother (hungarian) introduced this to me when i was a teen on new year’s eve, she said it would bring me luck and prosperity in the coming year. i’ve been eating it ever since espiacally for breakfast on a toasted bagel.

  32. ericinLA

    Sorry, this is a FAIL. I really like pickled herring in cream sauce (though Vita isn’t that great. Get it made fresh from a gourmet market like Whole Foods or a decent delicatessen). Now if you want to slag a truly yucky ethnic dish, and you really have no fear, try gefilte fish. Anyone’s. Doesn’t matter, they’re all bad. Cold, chopped, sludgy whitefish in a slimy briny jelly? Ugghh.

  33. Ash

    Ha, I love how offended people are getting that she doesn’t enjoy the most repulsive looking combination of food items I’ve ever seen. Cry summoar, she’s allowed to hate it just like you’re allowed to like it.

  34. Ben

    I found this page after reading a Van Halen tour rider from 1982 on the smoking gun. ( The band requests that herring in sour cream be provided in their dressing room at every show. I was curious, now I know not to even attempt it…. lol

  35. alex

    Hey polish mama on the prairie just HAD to post a response to your moronic post. First of all…lemmonex is a woman…glad through delving through her blogs and posts you werent able to come to that conclusion…especially since the main picture of her on her website shows her definitely as a woman. Secondly no one asked for your opinion about your 5 year olds palate…imagine you eat herring and bread all day every day and i suddenly introduce you to a rare hamburger…you may find the hamburger offensive and bloody while i may be appalled by this statement. Before you insult anyone further who hates this dish i suggest you gain some empathic powers. Btw…i enjoy potatoe chips ane new flavors…so kindly…fuck off

  36. William

    Some people here are taking this far too seriously – there’s no point in arguing about personal tastes. FWIW, I found this page from a google search trying to find a supplier for herring in sour cream – my local supermarket no longer stocks it, and I REALLY miss it! And no, I’m neither Jewish nor from the Baltic.

  37. ilona

    i love pickled herring….iam german born and we had this plenty of times during the cold month of the year we eat the fish with boiled potatoes…..

  38. H. K.

    Love herring salad morning ,noon and evening meals.There is nothing like it on this earth ! The looks and smell turn me on . Try it, you like it !


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