10 of the Tartest Foods on the Planet

Sour foods are a tongue-tying treat. Here is our list of the 10 most sour candies, fruits and snacks from around the world.

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From the most sour candy to fermented fruits, tangy treats are meant to make you pucker up. These sour foods are flavorful and spicy, with a powerful punch of acidity.

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These extreme candies boast an intense sour flavor that numbs the tongue and overwhelms the mouth. Warheads are infamous among young school children as the toughest candies to handle; half the fun of eating them is to see how long you can keep one in your mouth.

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This traditional Korean dish is made from fermented vegetables like cabbage or radishes. Kimchi is made by lacto-fermentation, which is the same process that gives us dill pickles or sauerkraut, and the results are good for your gut. There are hundreds of ways to make kimchi, but each variety is salty, spicy, sour and bitter.

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Tamarind is the key to making the sweet and spicy Indian and Thai dishes we all know and love (like these Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps). It is a sour food that grows in a pod and is most often found in paste form. This sour paste can be used in sweet dishes but is most frequently found in savory recipes, creating a sweet and sour flavor profile.

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Mustard Greens

Mustard greens are one of the most peppery, bitter and flavorful greens in any salad. These sour lettuces can be tough to eat raw but are delicious when sauteed with butter, garlic, lemon and onions. Try them in a salad or in a roasted medley with broccoli and carrots.

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Umeboshi Sour Plum

These Japanese pickled fruits are a common side dish and traditional delicacy on most Japanese dinner tables. Umeboshi come from the Ume fruit, which is a close cousin to plums or apricots. They are preserved through salting, which gives this treat an extremely sour and intense flavor.

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Shutterstock / Sivonei Pompeo


This tropical fruit can be enjoyed sweet or sour. If eaten before it’s totally ripe, guava takes on the flavor of sour strawberry or pear. This dense fruit is deliciously tart with a slightly sweet aroma. Try it in a tropical salad or blend it into a sweet-and-sour cocktail.

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Toxic Waste Candy

Toxic Waste candy is widely revered by daring teenagers as the most sour candy in the world. The name says a lot, and the flavor doesn’t disappoint. These intensely flavored treats are “hazardously” tart, yet slightly sweet and deliciously fruity.

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Shutterstock / S.O.E


Gooseberries are a tart fruit used in jams, pies and sauces. These small, grape-like berries are tart and bitter, but are delicious when pickled or stored in sugar syrup. They are a great addition to pies and desserts.

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Shutterstock/ Aleksandra Duda

Horseradish Pickles

As if dill pickles weren’t sour enough, horseradish pickles are the ultimate tongue-tying-treat. These tart snacks are crispy, crunchy and satisfyingly sour. To make them, simply add shredded fresh horseradish to your favorite pickle brine.

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Although most commonly associated with sweet desserts, this veggie is actually extremely sour. Rhubarb stalks are astringent and tough, but edible when soaked in sugar syrup. To help the rhubarb stalk soften, chop it into chunks and let it macerate in sugar for a few hours. For a sweet and acidic treat, turn rhubarb into fresh jam or syrup.

Laura Denby
Laura is a New York-based freelance food writer with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and a degree in Journalism from Penn State. Her work has appeared in Taste of Home, Chowhound, the Culture Trip and Patch.