Monday, February 10, 2014

Icelandic Delicacies

Iceland is well-known for it's outlandish food culture and odd delicacies. Being an island, the country relies much on fishing, and a good amount of the food in Iceland includes seafoods. One of the top delicacies in Iceland is fermented shark. The head of a Greenland shark is buried in sand and cured through a fermentation process. The head is then hung out to dry for five months! The fermented meat has a very strong scent of ammonia and is extremely pungent and fishy tasting. Icelanders also often delve in Atlantic Puffin meat, a small bird that has legal protection in most other countries. Restaurants feature this meat a lot and typically smoke and cure it. The birds are caught using a technique called sky-fishing which involves a large net that catches low flying birds such as the Puffin. Another common food in Iceland is the meat of a minke whale. This meat is similar to beef but is supposed to be extremely tender and delicious! It is often served with a Brennivin sauce. Brennivin is the traditional alcohol of Iceland and is known for a horrid taste. Made from potato pulp and flavored with caraway seeds, this liquor is known as Black Death. It is often detested even by Icelandic natives whom will drink it usually when eating fermented shark or when making a show of Icelandic culture. This photo is a sealed jar of fermented shark meat.


  1. As a vegetarian the thought of eating a shark or an atlantic puffin is mind blowing to me and extremely bazaar. One of my favorite things is to try food from different countries and cultures, it must have been so interesting to learn about all the different delicacies that are offered. I'm a little surprised that for such an eco-conscious and friendly country they are not so protective of the sea creatures and their survival.

  2. I am curious as to how the above mentioned delicacies taste. Did you try any of them? I suppose when in Iceland, I would have to try at least one before making any judgment! I am vegetarian too however I still eat seafood (many call it pescatarian). Though the choice of animal and preparation of the food sound strange to us Americans, I don't think I could pass up the chance of trying something out of my comfort zone when abroad!