I love strong fishy flavors. LOVE. It's a huge part of why I became so enamored with Malaysian food when I was there this summer. Belacan, fermented shrimp paste, imparts its intense savory funk to just about everything.
The thing was... there were some late nights. Really late. And then we'd wake up and go straight to a cooking class kitchen and within 15 minutes the entire space would be engulfed in a frying-up fermented shrimp cloud. It was bad. Like a never-been-washed fishing boat bad. And trying to hold a civil conversation with a kindly old Malaysian woman as you're reeling from a suddenly-ten-times-worse hangover... well, it makes you feel like a pretty terrible human being.
And don't even get me started on the durian carts in the street. —Carey Jones
Depending on what I ate for late-night the night before, the streets of New York can be a minefield. Did I down two or ten slices of pizza, only to wake up to a stack of greasy paper plates and a faint dot of sauce on my cheek? Then walking past any Rays or John's will make me want to yak. Did I go to Mamoun's and order a few falafel sandwiches, which they prepared in like 30 seconds, and down them with way too much hot sauce? Then greasy food is not going to make me feel any better the next day. This is why I've decided the best late-night food is soup. I'm ready to eat anything the next day, and that broth must be doing something good for my hangover.—Carrie Vasios
The worst thing for a hangover? I don't know...For me, tuna fish, or anything strong-smelling, but I actually don't like tuna ever, so this isn't just hangover related.—Maggie Hoffman
Fresh Beet Salad
I tend to shy away from anything remotely healthy. There's just something wrong about wasting a fresh beet salad on hangover-impaired taste buds. Plus, where's the fun in having a hangover sans a greasy brunch? —Jessica Leibowitz
Back when I was working for Cook's Illustrated, there was one horrible morning when I got to the office with a raging hangover after having spent a little too long at Bluegrass Night at the Cantab Lounge the night before. Normally, this wouldn't have been much of a problem—I've cooked my way through plenty of hangovers—on this particular morning, however, there was a tasting first thing. Let me tell you: two dozen brands of capers is the last thing you want to be eating on an upset stomach. It wasn't pretty.
Oftentimes the most memorable things are the ones you'd most like to forget. —J. Kenji Lopez-Alt
[Photo: Wikimedia Commons]
The Creamiest Scrambled Eggs
The ideal scrambled eggs have the texture of the interior of a soufflé, fluffy and light yet creamy and rich. Their flavor is pure, unadulterated egg, both more delicate and more flavorful than standard egg preparations.
Pho with Tendons and Tripe
I know I'm going to get flak for this because pho in and of itself probably has all the elements of a good hangover helper... Something salty and rich with beef, etc. But Kenji did a Lunch Today on SENY at a Vietnamese place called Thai Son, and yeah. We ordered something with tendons and tripe in it and I just could not handle it. —Leandra Palermo
Not ever having had a hangover (because I don't drink, not because I
have superhuman tolerance to alcohol), I can't imagine what it feels
like. People have told me, but their hangover stories make me think,
"But that sounds so terrible and not worth it at all." I think I'm
So. If I had to guess what's the worst hangover food, I'd go with
something you might hate when you're sober—stuff that tastes or
smells like rotting garbage or poop. Natto? (Er, I
might be wrong about that.) Durian? Stinky tofu? Everything
on this list? Or maybe these foods are just the thing to snap you
out of your hangover, kind of like when you feel better after puking.
But I have no idea. —Robyn Lee
Plenty of people I know reach immediately for coffee when they wake up with a sad hangover face. Must drink. Coffee. Cannot function. Without. Sure, I understand the coffee dependency but not on head-drilling hangover mornings. That's the absolute last thing I'd want. Hand me a Vitamin Water or regular water, or really anything but that inky, dehydrating juice. It would make the pain so much worse. The thought of it feels like someone stepping on my head with ice skates. No thanks. —Erin Zimmer
I'm basically a teetotaler, but I would think that a pastrami sandwich would be pretty bad post-drunk food. —Ed Levine
[Editor's Note: Wait, really Ed? But it has all the qualities of a good hangover food: salty, fatty, bready, restorative. You really are a teetotaler, huh.]