Pahdek is a fermented fish sauce used in Lao cuisine. As far as I can tell, it’s made by putting a bunch of fish in a bucket to rot. Visually, it looks like a bucket of human waste. The smell is so horrible that no one phrase or word is enough to describe it. Here are a collection of figurative descriptions I have collected in an attempt to accurately convey just how horrid it smells:

  • An unholy stench
  • An abomination against the nose
  • Pure evil originating from the Devil’s own arse
  • A smell most foul
  • It smells better coming out than going in
  • Probably the worse smell in the entire world
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