11 votes

What is the worst food experience you've ever had?

Also, what is the best?

31 comments

  1. [2]
    frickindeal
    Link
    Best: Shrimp cocktail and filet at St. Elmo's in Indianapolis. My father was diagnosed with AML, a particularly nasty form of leukemia, in 2005. After some intense chemo, he achieved remission. We...

    Best: Shrimp cocktail and filet at St. Elmo's in Indianapolis. My father was diagnosed with AML, a particularly nasty form of leukemia, in 2005. After some intense chemo, he achieved remission. We had gone to the Indy 500 every year since I was about 12, other than a couple teenage angst years when I didn't want to go. He had been in treatment during the race that year, but he wanted to go to the F1 race that was being held at the Speedway later in the summer of '06. For the first and only time, we flew a tiny commuter jet to get there.

    The meal was great—I'd had it numerous times before. But dad was living what life he had left like he knew he didn't have long, and he didn't. So after dinner, we were lucky enough to see two stools suddenly open up at the bar. My dad always enjoyed a cocktail, and often a few too many, but he hadn't drank since treatment. I was really surprised when he ordered his usual Bacardi and coke, twist of lime. It was the first of what would become an uncountable (by us, anyway) many.

    We met a man sitting next to my dad, who had a heavy accent that I couldn't quite place. He was in town for the race, and told us he'd seen a Grand Prix at almost every track they visit. He told us about the casinos of Monte Carlo, about races at the Hockenheimring, the Hungaroring, Silverstone. Fascinating man. The room was packed and after a while, a band of sorts began to play on the tiniest stage I've ever seen (if you've been there, you'll know what I mean).

    I think that was the last night of truly great fun my Dad ever got to enjoy. He relapsed not long after, and didn't last long. I think about that night all the time. I had to find us a cab, because we were supposed to be picked up by the daughter of the people we were staying with in Speedway, but I ignored her calls because the room was loud and I was drunk. I got him there and had to put him to bed. Such a great memory. If you got this far, thanks; I've needed to tell that story for quite a while.

    10 votes
    1. clem
      Link Parent
      What a nice memory. Thanks for sharing.

      What a nice memory. Thanks for sharing.

      3 votes
  2. [5]
    Emerald_Knight
    Link
    Worst: My grandparents weren't always the best, and they didn't seem to fully grasp the concept that some foods genuinely tasted so disgusting to me that I would actually gag. Around thanksgiving,...

    Worst: My grandparents weren't always the best, and they didn't seem to fully grasp the concept that some foods genuinely tasted so disgusting to me that I would actually gag. Around thanksgiving, stuffing was always added to my plate, and it was one of those gag-inducing foods for me. They tried to force-feed it to me, and wouldn't allow me to leave the table until I'd eaten it. They're otherwise good people, but that wasn't exactly a shining moment for them and I've had an aversion to stuffing ever since.

    Best: Fairly recently, I went out with the company I work for and we all had a variety of good wines with a full course of authentic Chinese food. I'm still very much a picky eater (though not as picky as I used to be), and I loved every single dish that was served. It was good food, good drinks, and good company for a solid couple of hours.

    Obviously a lot has changed over the course of a couple of decades.

    9 votes
    1. [3]
      PostPostModernism
      Link Parent
      I adore stuffing, but that's how I feel about brussel sprouts and lima beans so I understand. I remember as a kid my parents would make me sit at the table until I ate them, and that eventually...

      I adore stuffing, but that's how I feel about brussel sprouts and lima beans so I understand. I remember as a kid my parents would make me sit at the table until I ate them, and that eventually turned into us negotiating over how many exactly I had to choke down.

      I have a ton of great food experiences and love when my meal comes out just right. But maybe my best is every plate of prime rib I've ever eaten. Especially the last one at an overly-expensive downtown restaurant and with the best martini I've ever had. I actually emailed them after to find out what they put in the martini, it was so good. Every part of that meal was perfect though.

      3 votes
      1. [2]
        cfabbro
        Link Parent
        I used to hate Brussels Sprouts too. My mother is a very good cook overall but used to just steam them and serve them with a bit of butter, so they were rather bland, smelled of sulfur and were...

        I used to hate Brussels Sprouts too. My mother is a very good cook overall but used to just steam them and serve them with a bit of butter, so they were rather bland, smelled of sulfur and were pretty gross... but a few years ago my sister introduced me to Brussels Sprouts roasted in bacon fat with lemon zest and freshly cracked pepper on them, and Oh, Boy what a difference that makes. Now I absolutely love Brussels Sprouts and roast them the same way for myself every couple of months.

        1 vote
        1. elcuello
          Link Parent
          This really can't be said enough. I used to loathe them too but roasted on a pan with butter and spices/bacon/whatever instead of boiling/steaming them makes it a whole different sprout game.

          This really can't be said enough. I used to loathe them too but roasted on a pan with butter and spices/bacon/whatever instead of boiling/steaming them makes it a whole different sprout game.

          1 vote
    2. tomf
      Link Parent
      Oh wow! I hate stuffing more than anything on earth. Thankfully I was never forced to try it --- but I just can't stand it. I've tried it dozens of times, too... but its just not for me.

      Oh wow! I hate stuffing more than anything on earth. Thankfully I was never forced to try it --- but I just can't stand it. I've tried it dozens of times, too... but its just not for me.

      2 votes
  3. [2]
    JayJay
    Link
    Worst: My mom used to try and cook "healthy" pizza's when I was a kid, and while I appreciate she made the effort, she was a terrible cook. It always came out with the weirdest cardboardy texture,...

    Worst: My mom used to try and cook "healthy" pizza's when I was a kid, and while I appreciate she made the effort, she was a terrible cook. It always came out with the weirdest cardboardy texture, was defiled with spinach, and for some reason it always had the smell of dirty gym socks. Even thinking about it right now gives me a nauseous nostalgic feeling in my gut.

    Best: I had a sous vide filet mignon while staying at a lodge up in North Carolina during a road trip a few weeks ago. It ruined steak for me. It wasn't even steak anymore, it was just a cloud of cow protein that fell apart before my teeth could meet. Perfectly cooked, perfectly seared, perfectly seasoned. I fear I shall never again taste steak so delectable before my demise.

    Edit: I just now realized I kind of described food more than the experience, but i'll leave it here.

    9 votes
    1. nathan
      Link Parent
      I think your mom and mine must have collaborated on the stinky pizza, and trust me that smell qualifies as an experience. If I remember correctly mine was a cauliflower crust? It smelled for days.

      I think your mom and mine must have collaborated on the stinky pizza, and trust me that smell qualifies as an experience. If I remember correctly mine was a cauliflower crust? It smelled for days.

      2 votes
  4. [6]
    nathan
    Link
    Worst: School chili dog in grade 6, got food poisoning and haven’t touched a chili dog since, and will only eat hotdogs at a ballpark. Best: At a Japanese restaurant for a six month anniversary, I...

    Worst: School chili dog in grade 6, got food poisoning and haven’t touched a chili dog since, and will only eat hotdogs at a ballpark.

    Best: At a Japanese restaurant for a six month anniversary, I got to eat three small delicious strips of A5 BMS 12 beef, cooked for no more than 45 seconds on a hot rock. Seriously one of the craziest expectation breaking food experiences I’ve had.

    Edit: Forgot to add, when the waiter brought out the meat and the rock, he brought out what he claimed was the cows birth certificate with him.

    7 votes
    1. [5]
      Gaywallet
      Link Parent
      I'm confused, was the age of the cow important for the taste or something?

      he brought out what he claimed was the cows birth certificate with him.

      I'm confused, was the age of the cow important for the taste or something?

      1. [4]
        Emerald_Knight
        Link Parent
        Odds are it's to validate where and when the cow was born for the sake of knowing that the cow you're eating was born somewhere nearby, likely fed foods typical of wherever it was raised, and that...

        Odds are it's to validate where and when the cow was born for the sake of knowing that the cow you're eating was born somewhere nearby, likely fed foods typical of wherever it was raised, and that you're not eating beef that was cut from an overly-aged cow or eating beef that was likely frozen for months or years.

        In other words, it's likely a way to guarantee freshness and quality.

        Does it really impact the flavor? Most likely. Age can have a significant impact on toughness and gaminess of meat, amount of time passed since butchering can cause meat to lose flavor or texture particularly when frozen, and diet will also contribute a lot to the overall flavor. In general, the environment in which your food grows will tend to have some affect on how your food tastes.

        You could consider wine to be a good parallel, where the variety of grape, type of soil, weather, and even smoke from forest fires can have enormous effects on the end product. Someone who eats meat of different quality regularly can probably pick up on these differences quite readily.

        2 votes
        1. [3]
          Gaywallet
          Link Parent
          I just assume based on the price of the meal, that the sourcing will be adequately considered by the chef for many of the reasons you brought up. It just seems oddly specific to me to have a birth...

          I just assume based on the price of the meal, that the sourcing will be adequately considered by the chef for many of the reasons you brought up. It just seems oddly specific to me to have a birth certificate for said cow, unless there's an oddly specific reason.

          1 vote
          1. [2]
            Emerald_Knight
            Link Parent
            I decided to look a bit further into this. Odds are it was Japanese Kobe beef, the name of which is a legal designation much like the term "Champagne" where the naming is quite often highly...

            I decided to look a bit further into this. Odds are it was Japanese Kobe beef, the name of which is a legal designation much like the term "Champagne" where the naming is quite often highly regulated. It's possible for this name to be abused, however, and applied to cross-bred cows or to cows in countries where those naming regulations don't apply. In order to combat the misleading naming, and because there is often a lot of pride involved in the work for people who raise the cattle, official birth certificates are often provided as a way to say "yes, this actually is what we say it is".

            If you're someone who knows the distinction between these cuts of meat and you're expecting to receive actual Kobe beef, then you're probably going to want assurance that what you're ordering and paying for is the real deal and that you're not spending your money on something that you weren't intending to spend it on. Especially since it often comes at a much higher premium.

            In short, it's a matter of both status and providing additional assurance to your customer that they're not getting screwed over.

            2 votes
            1. Gaywallet
              Link Parent
              AHH shit kobe beef, duh. I'm not sure why I didn't think of that. Now it makes complete sense.

              AHH shit kobe beef, duh. I'm not sure why I didn't think of that. Now it makes complete sense.

              2 votes
  5. tomf
    Link
    The worst food experience was in grade 2 when a kid brought back a bunch of coconuts from a trip to Hawaii. Everybody in the class was drinking from the coconuts... and everybody was overcome by...

    The worst food experience was in grade 2 when a kid brought back a bunch of coconuts from a trip to Hawaii. Everybody in the class was drinking from the coconuts... and everybody was overcome by severe vomiting and diarrhea.

    Our class was near the bathrooms, but it didn't matter. There was crap and vomit all over everything. I've never witnessed anything like it.

    Another less-gross, but still gross was at a Chinese restaurant. A friend was having some soup when she suddenly gagged. She then pinched inside her mouth and pulled out a 2' long, thick black hair. She said she could feel it coming up her throat.

    3 votes
  6. cfabbro
    (edited )
    Link
    Worst: Food poisoning from Chinese food takeout. It was the worst case of food poisoning I have ever experienced and it was made infinitely worse by the fact that all 4 of us living in the...

    Worst: Food poisoning from Chinese food takeout. It was the worst case of food poisoning I have ever experienced and it was made infinitely worse by the fact that all 4 of us living in the apartment got it. An apartment with 1 bathroom. I will spare you of the horrible details but suffice to say the bathtub, sinks and every bucket in the house were in pretty rough shape afterwards and the cleanup once we recovered was by far the worst part.

    Best: Cold fruit soup with edible flowers in it (which was wonderfully refreshing and delicious), and a perfectly cooked Elk steak at the Revival House restaurant (which is inside an old converted Church) in Stratford, Ontario after attending The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare festival there. It wasn't so much about the food itself though, and more about the amazing ambiance and it just being the absolute perfect way to end a perfect day out with my family. :)

    2 votes
  7. [3]
    patience_limited
    Link
    Worst tasting: Natto. Hands down, I hope never to put anything so horrifying in my mouth, ever again. If you combined the flavor essences and textures of charnel-house runoff, graveyard mold,...

    Worst tasting: Natto. Hands down, I hope never to put anything so horrifying in my mouth, ever again. If you combined the flavor essences and textures of charnel-house runoff, graveyard mold, plastic factory effluent, cat box stench, Murphy's Oil Soap, miso that's been in the 'fridge too long... you might approximate the instant gag-reflex inducing qualities of that stuff. I literally scraped my tongue raw afterwards in an attempt to get rid of natto's cloying awfulness, but would swear I could taste it for at least 48 hours afterwards. I'm told it's an acquired taste.

    Best: The Sopa Azteca (chicken soup) at Topolobampo. I'll acknowledge that the quality of great food is influenced by setting and memory (I was in Chicago for the 2000 Worldcon, madly in love, and briefly affluent enough to enjoy it). But the purity and perfection of that chicken soup, with the exact amounts of toppings to glorify a "simple" recipe, will illuminate the rest of my days.

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      frickindeal
      Link Parent
      I remember a video where a little Japanese girl explains how her mom cooks breakfast, and shows her cooking. At one point she's making that, and I kept wondering what that weird stuff that looked...

      Worst tasting: Natto.

      I remember a video where a little Japanese girl explains how her mom cooks breakfast, and shows her cooking. At one point she's making that, and I kept wondering what that weird stuff that looked so sticky was, and if it was any good. Glad to know it's not too suitable for what I assume is a Western palate.

      1 vote
      1. patience_limited
        Link Parent
        I think I have a fairly high tolerance for most of the smelly, fermented, moldy foods of lore - washed-rind cheeses, kimchi, preserved vegetables and eggs... But that natto was in a class by...

        I think I have a fairly high tolerance for most of the smelly, fermented, moldy foods of lore - washed-rind cheeses, kimchi, preserved vegetables and eggs... But that natto was in a class by itself. Even the Japanese businessmen at the table said it was strong. Only two in the group actually consumed it, and there was plenty of sake' alongside.

        1 vote
  8. [2]
    SuperGracchiBros
    Link
    Worst: When I was in high school my appendix burst and I was hospitalised for a week. I couldn't eat any solid foods during my stay, only yogurt, popsicles, pudding, etc. That in and of itself...

    Worst: When I was in high school my appendix burst and I was hospitalised for a week. I couldn't eat any solid foods during my stay, only yogurt, popsicles, pudding, etc. That in and of itself wasn't so bad, except for the fact that everything was banana flavoured. I can't imagine why there wasn't any other flavour, even vanilla. To this day, I can't eat banana flavoured yogurt.

    Best: In a small town just south of Naples whose name I don't remember, there was a tiny pizzeria/bowling alley at the top of a hill. The margherita pizza I had there was by far the best pizza I have ever had, and I've been back to Italy multiple times since then.

    2 votes
    1. Hypersapien
      Link Parent
      I was in the hospital once and the only thing they gave me to drink was apple juice. To this day I tend to stay away from it. This was like 1986/87.

      I was in the hospital once and the only thing they gave me to drink was apple juice. To this day I tend to stay away from it. This was like 1986/87.

      1 vote
  9. frickindeal
    Link
    Worst: I have had much worse food, but by far the most memorable is something my mom, a wonderful cook, sent home with me after one Sunday dinner. She very occasionally makes a pretty decadent...

    Worst: I have had much worse food, but by far the most memorable is something my mom, a wonderful cook, sent home with me after one Sunday dinner. She very occasionally makes a pretty decadent dish my grandmother used to make, called pecan chicken. Of course, combining pecans and chicken is nothing new, but this recipe is made in such a way that the chicken is just the most delectable, fantastic chicken I've ever had, to this day. I would beg her to make it when we were kids, but the preparation takes quite a long time and she's getting older.

    She always makes a bunch extra and sends it home with me when she makes it. I'm thinking about it all day at work, anticipating that delicious chicken when I get home. Heating it up is pretty delicate because you don't want to dry out the chicken, so I would foil-line a pan, give it a thin coating of olive oil, preheat the toaster oven (yes, that's the best way I've found to re-heat it), and cook it just until the top glistened. Perfect, every time.

    The chicken is cut into little strips, like chicken breast tenders you can buy, and I happily eat one, then two, then it happened. I put the third in my mouth, and I was chewing and something was wrong, so wrong. I spit it out and was straight-up raw, as if it had never been cooked at all. Just absolutely raw. I gagged at the sensation of that bite and those few chews. I was turned-off to food for a week. Never mentioned it to Mom. She works too hard and almost always makes Sunday dinner; I couldn't do that to her. But I don't really ask for pecan chicken anymore. Just thinking about it now makes my stomach turn.

    2 votes
  10. Akir
    Link
    The worst food experience I have ever had was a pizza. It was made by someone who didn't know how to care for themselves, let alone cook. It had no cheese, ketchup instead of pizza sauce, and was...

    The worst food experience I have ever had was a pizza. It was made by someone who didn't know how to care for themselves, let alone cook. It had no cheese, ketchup instead of pizza sauce, and was topped by ground beef that wasn't drained. I still cannot stand the taste of ketchup to this day.

    Given how disappointingly simple most food is at Disneyland, it's actually kind of surprising that they have the best food I have ever tasted. The Carthay Circle restaurant in California Adventure is the best meal I have ever had. I ordered a lamb plate that was prepared three different ways and with three different sauces. They weren't at all gamey like lamb tends to be; it was just pure succulent flavor with a variety of spices to make them interesting.

    1 vote
  11. [3]
    Adys
    Link
    I had a taste of Marmite. A single lick, like five years ago. I immediately gagged, went to rinse my mouth for five minutes in the sink, and I could still after-taste it for like a week. Best food...

    I had a taste of Marmite. A single lick, like five years ago.

    I immediately gagged, went to rinse my mouth for five minutes in the sink, and I could still after-taste it for like a week.

    Best food experience is hard to measure. I've had some excellent steaks at a Holiday Inn restaurant in France after finishing a cross-country trip not really eating anything. But I think my fondest memories are of excellent pizzas. An italian mobile pizzaiolo who'd park next to the mall when I was a kid (still in France), who'd make this amazing thin-crust pizza with anchovies etc.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      Hypersapien
      Link Parent
      Marmite is super strong. You're supposed to spread it extremely thin on something, like just a film of it. A lick might have been way too much at a time.

      Marmite is super strong. You're supposed to spread it extremely thin on something, like just a film of it. A lick might have been way too much at a time.

      1 vote
      1. eros_bittersweet
        Link Parent
        It is also an incredibly good additive to homemade gravy when you only have stock and a roux instead of drippings. Gives a nice depth of flavor and color

        It is also an incredibly good additive to homemade gravy when you only have stock and a roux instead of drippings. Gives a nice depth of flavor and color

  12. unknown user
    Link
    Worst: chicken döner with skin in it. There's this cheap döner kebab shop where I live where I went for a cheap sandwich when I was hungry and in a hurry. It was not good, but was not bad either....

    Worst: chicken döner with skin in it. There's this cheap döner kebab shop where I live where I went for a cheap sandwich when I was hungry and in a hurry. It was not good, but was not bad either. But once the meat had what felt like skin in it. I just left the shop without eating the rest and to this day when I pass by the shop I feel a slight disgust.

    Best? IDK if this counts but the only distinct moment I can recall is trying the El Salvador Finca Bosque Lya coffee beans, fresh-ground and drip-brewed. It should be around 3-4 years ago, that was the best coffee experience for me. Unfortunately I could never find it anywhere else again here in Istanbul. It was a very sweet spot between being just good tasting coffee and being interesting.

    1 vote
  13. SlowRiot
    Link
    So I frequent a store that is right next to this American Chinese buffet. Every time I went to that shop I could smell the food and it smelled so good. One day I decided I'd go in for lunch and...

    So I frequent a store that is right next to this American Chinese buffet. Every time I went to that shop I could smell the food and it smelled so good. One day I decided I'd go in for lunch and check it out. Big mistake. First, the cashier who sat me seemed like she was really annoyed that I was there, though the guy who refilled my drink was really pleasant. Then I got to the food. I had several types of chicken, which were either soggy or crunchy. The general tso sauce was decent, as was the peppered chicken. The peanut chicken was too salty, and seemed to have been made out of the lowest grade meat. The bbq chicken didn't have much flavor and was dry. The beef and broccoli was subpar, with both the beef and the broccoli being limp and bland. The stuffed shrimp was passable, but it was more like a meatball with a small piece of shrimp tucked inside. The roast duck was mostly fat and burned to a crisp that felt like bone in my mouth. The roast beef varied from bite to bite. Some bites were too tough to chew, while others were edible but mediocre. The green beans were pretty good, if a little cold. The egg roll didn't have much flavor, but oozed grease with each bite. The rice was dry and flavorless.

    It was such an affront to American Chinese food that I felt compelled to create an account on Yelp and write my first and only review.

    The best food came from this Italian place in Maryland. I was staying at some casino/resort and there is a town about 20 minutes outside of the casino with an Italian restaurant my family had raved about. Literally everything they served tasted like magic. I got a scallops-and-red-sauce pasta dish (idk what they called it and I'm not going to try), and the scallops were perfectly cooked. A light crisp on the outside, juicy inside. The sauce was probably the best red sauce I've ever tasted, and I could put it on anything. They also had little bits of crunchy prosciutto, like fancy bacon bits lol. Even the coffee was amazing - and they had simple syrup instead of sugar to sweeten it. I dream about going back to that place.

    1 vote
  14. determinism
    Link
    I was 8 years old, home from school, watching some sort of serialized live-action adventures of Hercules. The episode involved a spider woman spitting white stuff into people's mouths. I was...

    I was 8 years old, home from school, watching some sort of serialized live-action adventures of Hercules. The episode involved a spider woman spitting white stuff into people's mouths. I was eating my favorite vanilla pudding and had mouth-full as I witnessed this abomination. Out of that experience was born an avid chocolate pudding consumer.

    I don't think I have a best food experience.

    1 vote
  15. Hypersapien
    Link
    The worst that I can remember was probably the one time I tried sea urchin sushi. I normally love sushi, but the sea urchin had such a disgusting texture that I could barely swallow it.

    The worst that I can remember was probably the one time I tried sea urchin sushi. I normally love sushi, but the sea urchin had such a disgusting texture that I could barely swallow it.

    1 vote