Dining on Rotten Shark

Whale blubber. Goose liver. Cod soaked in lye.

Vegemite. Haggis. Testicles (assorted).

Urine of Ant, and Head of Sheep – complete with tongue and eyeball.

I’ve eaten it all — yes, chewed and swallowed and held it down, even conceded that most of them weren’t nearly as bad as their appearance or smell or reputation would suggest.

Heck, put me in for deep fried haggis or foie gras sushi anytime!

I started getting cocky, started thinking there wasn’t anything the world could throw at my plate that I couldn’t gobble up and ask for seconds (at least if culturally required).

And then I tried Hákarl.

Traditional Icelandic rotten shark.

This and other photos in this post are credit Liisa Lundell.

Fished out of the sea too toxic to consume, laid in a shallow, sandy grave until the urea breaks down enough to be “edible,” then dug out, cut into strips, hung out to dry and finally… eaten.

I don’t really want to relive the experience in detail, so let me just show a few photos, and explain that the shark smells like a mix between urine and cleaning supplies (not a simile, it literally has the same chemicals in it), and that, regardless of what deluded enthusiasts will tell you, it tastes just as bad.

At first, the beautiful surroundings of the shark museum in Bjarnarhöfn calmed us. Surely nothing could hurt us here, beside the calm blue water? We soon realized that this church and the little white crosses to the right must serve as a graveyard for those who die in the attempt to eat Hákarl

In the drying shed, the wind was so strong that my hair blew out behind me — but it couldn’t tear away the smell of ammonia.

It’s like The Fondue from the Black Lagoon: Toothpicks, little squares of dark rye-molasses bread and cubes of rotten shark.

Well, there’s nothing for it! How bad can it be?

The calm before the storm — I think my taste buds were temporarily stunned.

That bad.

Putting the lid back on one dish I sincerely hope I will never, ever taste again.


3 responses to “Dining on Rotten Shark

  1. Looks similar to my recent experience drinking human toe whiskey. Actually, I quite enjoyed it but my traveling companion did not have such an easy time with it.

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