USD. This is due to a high content of urea and trimethylamine oxide in the shark’s system caused by its utter lack of a urinary system. And the Greenland shark is a deep-ocean, cold-ocean shark. Guðjón: Yeah, yeah. Ju: Sorry, guys, like, really prepare yourselves. Ju: What happens to the ammonia when it drains? Guðjón: So, the Greenland shark, he lives so deep that he's not in our swimming waters. You should. We traveled to Bjarnarhöfn, Iceland where one family has been curing Greenland sharks for hundreds of years. Right. Even if you never become a fan the Icelandic Hákarl is something you will want to try when in Iceland. And then death after that. Guðjón: I've been eating the shark since before I got teeth. And this was maybe 100 meters down. When the earliest Icelandic residents settled on … Find out all about it! So they start to tease him until the shark swallows the bait. And under here we have the fillet. The shark is at this point cut into pieces and hung to dry. Is it that they grow up in open fields? And this is his lower jaw. After the process, they taste similar, but not the same. Guðjón: To know if it's ready, we check the texture. Another option would be to go to the restaurants around Iceland which specialize in Traditional Icelandic Food and they are most likely to have it on their menu. An Iceland Backpacking Trip: Best Tips and Tricks. But it's that really kind of, like, rich Stilton cheese, like, hits the back of your tongue. Not only because it is the most famous dish linked with the country but also because it is a fun activity to do with friends, family or even strangers you meet along the way. How do you feel about that? At first it was the smell, then the taste. Also, their meat is poisonous. And no, I'm not talking about that sheep's face. And then, of course, the shark on his own. Now it's the texture, it's like, got into almost like a gelatinous kind of texture in my mouth. What makes the Icelandic Viking horse unique? So, there's a chemical company in Iceland who analyzes food. Iceland is famous for fresh fish and our delicious lamb that roams free during the summer. Guðjón: And so these points, they grow down with his body. Just go for it! And they used the oil from the liver. What do Icelanders miss when they are away? Make the Tamarind-Fish-Chili Sauce and mix in the Hákarl (Icelandic Fermented Shark Meat) until all the meat has been coated. Just shark, shark, shark. So total use of meat is around 8%. 18 views. I would encourage (and challenge!) Our selection of classic dishes and tasting platters covers almost everything you need to taste, from the famous meat soup to the exciting fermented shark and rye bread ice cream. Guðjón: What's also good is to have a piece of the shark and piece of the rye bread, the Icelandic rye bread. There are chemical changes that are happening, that are making the meat untoxic. For some reason, the fermented rotten shark gets the most hype out of all the sour cuisines above. They are, the texture is fine. Ju: Yeah. Ju: I mean, I think that my tongue's just used to this now. The thinner pieces, after the process, the meat becomes sort of red or brown. You're gonna inhale. Guðjón: I guess so. It's Greenland shark that's been laboriously fermented, dried, and cured. I'm a shark convert. Because, if the matter is, dissociated, the scent is what really makes it such a challenge to swallow. This one is not stiff enough. This jaw here, here you go. We're here to find out what it tastes like. Guðjón: Today this is called Brennivín, which would be translated in English like a burning wine. Once you get over the ammonia-rich smell the taste really isn’t that bad. It's amazing, though, how much of it is in the smell. Guðjón: We are working with similar bacterias, like when you're doing cheese. Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast. We've sent you an email to confirm your subscription. Much as I love Iceland when I visit earlier this year, it's responsible for the single most disgusting eating experience I've had in my life. It's like, you know when these people have really terrible, like, 1970s walls, where they, yeah. Hákarl, or fermented shark, is a traditional Icelandic food dating back to the early days of Iceland’s Viking past. If you can't find it please check your spam folder. And, you see here, they're always growing a new set of teeth here. The taste of the Icelandic fermented shark is very smell-based. For centuries Icelanders had to find ways to store food during long and cold winters. Guðjón: And now you feel it, it's coming up in your nose. It's hair bleach. Or you can simply purchase the product at a local grocery store or at Kolaportið flea market during the weekend and taste in a setting of your choosing. Isolated in the North Atlantic, Iceland evolved unique culinary traditions since the time of the Viking colonizers. Ju: What would happen if I took a bite of that now? 3. Guðjón: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was gonna say, it actually doesn't, it's, the aftertaste is kicking in now, yeah. Ju: Yeah, the second one was the kicker, yeah. Spending time traveling you often spend much of your money of food especially when traveling to Iceland. Ju: It's just like, kind of feel it in my heart and my soul now. Somehow, out of all the delicious and fresh ingredients Iceland has to offer and the organically greenhouse-grown vegetables and fruits this peculiar phenomenon became the token food for our beloved country. And it's very important that these boxes, they have these gaps on them so the liquid can leak from it. And he changes his teeth around every three weeks. And this used to be called, in Iceland, svarti dauði, or which would be black death. This is just all my life. And then the aftertaste. How big is a shark? And then he had been working on this boat at least since he was 14. Ju: Yeah, that's what I'm getting at the moment. There's no smoking. That's exactly how it tastes. I think it's because I've just, like, masticated it so much in my mouth that it's just, there we go, I got over it. He has white meat. The preparation of “kæstur hákarl” is a time-consuming process as what follows after this curing period is the drying period. But here in the west of Iceland, it is a regional delicacy. And also for oxygen to get in, because the meat, it needs to breathe. We want it to give us, like, a kick. Ju: Do you know what it is? This is one of the places where you can regularly sample hakarl, fermented shark. Arctic Adventures. So, here we have the thinner pieces. Two sharks who arrive here together, they go through the process together. In Iceland, that dish is hakarl, or fermented shark meat. One shark will give from 30 to 40 pieces of fillet. However, once the shark has been processed the shark is no longer dangerous and consumer-friendly, at least for those without a sense of smell. 3 Write a comment. Guðjón: Here we have a piece of the fillet. I've been doing the curing process probably since I was 10. A short list of what you can expect to see: fermented shark, boiled sheep head, liver sausage, sour ram testicles, smoked lamb, dry fish, and plenty of local beer and liquor. Fermented Shark, Rotten Shark Greenland sharks are the world’s longest-living vertebrates, often partially blind, and can grow up to 24 feet long. The shark does have a reputation internationally. Once you get over the ammonia-rich smell the taste really isn’t that bad. Guðjón Hildibrandsson: The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. There’s no denying Iceland is known for having some pretty atypical dishes, at least to many visitors. Subscriber Fresh meat, you will get very sick. So, would you recommend eat it before smelling it? Ju: Skál, OK. Mm. It is the, not even amount of ammonia maybe in them, or salt, or other chemicals that are different. Hakarl was first carefully prepared by the Vikings, who knew that the meat of the Greenlandic shark is poisonous to humans without careful preparation. If you are interested in witnessing the preparation of “. Ju: Oh, yeah, yeah. And they could feel when the shark was testing the bait. So, in these boxes, the meat loses about around 30%. Ju: All right, I'm just gonna try to chew this a bit. In an interview with Time Magazine Anthony was asked what foods he would never again taste. That's really nice. You can taste the smell of it. But I recommend to everybody, at least give it a try. It's not toxic. chef Gordon Ramsay challenged James May to sample three “delicacies” one of which was the Icelandic Hákarl. It was an accident. And then you take this here. These dishes can be traced back to the revival of the festival in the 1950s. So there is never nothing added to this meat in the process. Ju: It's just, yeah. And then it's actually, like, stinging my tongue, stinging the back of my tongue. When the chef here says that he specializes in Icelandic specialties, he means it. 2. Now the shark is left to dry for about 6-18 weeks depending on the season in which this course is taken. [both laugh] But yeah, this is really rough. We're here to find out what it tastes like. Add more chili pepper if interested. For me, I kind of, I sort of miss it. It tastes much better than it smells. I mean, is it, it's OK to be - I mean, you've got, like, I've got boots on, and you've got little sandals and socks. It’s become almost a right of passage. Please be informed the office will be closed on December 24th - 27th, 31st and 1st of January 2021 due to Holiday season. Ju: Yeah. The sharks are rarely caught intentionally, and instead the market for shark meat has emerged from accidental catch in other fisheries. We don't want it too hard, and not too mushy. The meat ferments for six to nine weeks in the wooden boxes, then it's hung outside for six months to fully dry out. [both laugh]. I guess you just have to try! Fermented shark, or hákarl in Icelandic, is (ironically) a Greenland shark that’s been buried and pressed under gravel and stone, then hung and cured for months, wherein it develops a scab-like crust. Guðjón: Now it's that far in the fermentation that you would be fine. The late Television Host and Chef Anthony Bourdain described Hákarl as “, the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing, Archaeologist Neil Oliver tasted Hákarl on Vikings, a BBC documentary as part of examining the Viking diet. Eurovision Movie: 5 Iceland References You Might Have Missed, Iceland Ranks First on Children’s Rights Index. Often the shark was eaten, like, with the food that was, like, on the limit of being good or bad, or probably bad, because he helps the digestion. All About Hakarl Iceland's Fermented Shark. The fermentation of shark meat can be traced back to the Viking age but this outlandish act of preserving food was just one of the many steps Icelanders took to make sure they had enough to go on throughout the year. FERMENTED ROTTEN SHARK. They couldn't use it. But before, this was eaten, like, with a meal, like, for something extra. Spinei explains that while she has tried fermented shark in Iceland, fermented skate has a much stronger flavor and is a difficult dish to enjoy for a non-native. And these points, if you look closely, you see the points in the skin. And it's very important to have the skin on, because the meat, it's so loose itself that if it's no skin, then the meat just basically stretch. Here you see the skin. This is from maybe 5-meter-long shark. [both laugh] Ju: I'm pretty sure that's a cure for something. And is first registered 1860. Water, there is a lot of water in the meat. Hákarl, Iceland's Fermented Shark or even the Rotten Shark is one of the weirdest things to eat in Iceland yet by some it is considered a delicacy. That stays white. And the chain had to be at least 3 meters. Ju: And these, I mean, would these hurt humans, or...? If you are interested in witnessing the preparation of “kæstur hákarl” you can do so at the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum on Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Guðjón: It's good. He's running his family business of shark curing here in Bjarnarhöfn. Somehow, out of all the delicious and fresh ingredients Iceland has to offer and the organically greenhouse-grown vegetables and fruits this peculiar phenomenon became the token food for our beloved country. Just, it's just natural process, from the beginning till the end. You know. Showcasing how little the development of sharks has been over the last 300 million years. I do actually, it's the texture now. Update, June 2018, after Bourdain's untimely death: When Anthony Bourdain visited Iceland to eat the worst food he'd ever taste Guðjón: Exactly. You haven’t been to Iceland unless you have eaten fermented shark. Founded in 1998 as mail order shop and online since 2001 nammi.is has long enabled online shoppers to shop Icelandic items online. Basically it is rotten shark. Get top travel stories & special offers to your inbox, The fermentation of shark meat can be traced back to the Viking age but this outlandish act of preserving food was just one of the many steps Icelanders took to make sure they had enough to go on throughout the year. Guðjón: Yeah. . And airplane food. Getting that post-Iceland blues is a common thing. Following is a transcript of the video. Hakarl is a shark that is fermented and then dried out over several months, and is a national dish of Iceland. The Many Advantages of a Road Trip in Iceland. And we make these handles in the skin for grabbing them, lifting them up, hanging them up. Like, nothing at all. Ju: I can taste the ammonia kind of smell now. Fermented shark, called Hákarl, is a … I don't think that's ever gonna go away, maybe, but. If you are sensitive to strong smell you are more likely to dislike the shark but if you are a fan of strong cheese, for example, and don’t mind the smell you might just fall into the latter category. After this, you can eat it. Because, if the matter is dissociated, the scent is what really makes it such a challenge to swallow. Lastly,  there are those who love it from the start and simply can’t get enough. Or maybe its friendly demeanor? Either you like it, or you don't. It's like eating bread to you now? Today fermented shark or “kæstur hákarl” is it is called in Icelandic is simply a way for Icelanders to stay in touch with their roots and ancestry. The traditional Icelandic method of fermentation is to first gut and behead the beast, second is to place it in a shallow hole which has been dug in gravelly sand. And then, if I... you see how smoothly it cuts. But before, fresh meat, something small, you would get very sick. And then I'll have one also. In a recent interview with Time Magazine Anthony is asked what foods he would never again taste, one of the items Anthony mentioned was Icelandic fermented shark, along with Namibian warthog rectum. But my family used to catch them and hunt them. Guðjón: Yeah. Some people say “it is the single most disgusting thing” they have ever tried then try it again and the more they try the more their taste buds get used to it and they end up really enjoying it. But here in the west of Iceland, it is a regional delicacy. This way fluids are better released from the shark the actual fermentation process is shortened. Account active Ju: It's the meatiest fish I've ever seen, yeah. Is it its incredible soft gait, tölt? So it's easier for him to swim and to get faster. Guðjón made me try some fermented shark cubes dipped in Icelandic schnapps. Fermented shark, Hákarl, or rotten shark as people often refer to it is quite possibly the most famous dish in Iceland. Especially not if you have a shot of Brennivín liquor to wash down with it! Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. And it's been done by one family in this area for hundreds of years. The shark meat is fermented for 9 weeks before it is ready to eat and is traditionally eaten uncooked in little chunks. USD, Jet Boat up Gullfoss Canyon & Taste Local Craft Beer, 126 It's named after the milk product, skyr. And according to them, the shark is the healthiest food that is made in Iceland. Or that they have been purely bread since the Vikings brought them? So he needs more time, but these here are ready. Just go down the hatch? Guðjón: This was used for, in Iceland, this was used for sandpaper. Ju: Oh, wow. Well, fermented shark is an Icelandic delicacy and one of the small Nordic island’s national foods. Guðjón: It is strong. We met with Guðjón Hildibrandsson. The shark basically releases urine through its bloodstream and tissues which is considered a very primitive way to dispense. It's the best. Súrir Hrútspungar (Sour Ram's Testicles) That brings us to ram's testicles, a tricky one to justify, no … Is that quite a common thing? Due to its rich ammonia concentration, eating its fresh meat could even lead to death. Hákarl, or fermented shark, is a phenomenon that has gone way beyond the confines of the austere Icelandic winter. And these are all, like, good. Guðjón: This is my grandfather's shark-fishing boat. Then a little bit more, you could probably go blind. Heading to the market by the old harbour in Reykjavik (the capital), I prepared myself. And in the drying, the piece, it gets this dried crust around it. The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. Guðjón: Yeah. Guðjón: I'll have another one also. The boat's name is Síldin, which is "herring" in English. So Icelanders, they first started fishing them for the liver. At first it was just like chewing a piece of ham. Ju Shardlow: Look up the list of the most misunderstood foods in the world, and fermented shark is probably on it. And here the meat is ready to eat. In addition to airline food he lists Icelandic fermented shark as the most disgusting thing he had ever tasted, alongside Namibian warthog rectum. Ju: Oh, yeah, there's some more resistance one way. Ju: And I just, you know when you have a really strong shot of alcohol, and you get that kind of, like, burning. Fresh meat, you will get very sick. Guðjón: Yeah, and this one is then from, I would guess, 4 meters. It's also different after where the shark has been, and what depth, and what temperature he was caught. It is hard to say beforehand about which group you will find yourself in. It's supposed to be strong. Guðjón: The second one was also a little bit bigger. All rights reserved. That's really licorice, yeah. And it's just at the sides of your tongue. And the teeth, they grow up. Will I go blind, or...? That is very interesting. The food in Iceland is excellent, superb even so you will have plenty of other opportunities to try some tasty things. And this is so healthy that you can't eat too much. The meat is first fermented in cold storage rooms, like this one. One of those „delicacies“ and one of Iceland‘s national dishes is the fermented shark or kæstur hákarl, which we, of course, offer a taste of on our Reykjavik Food Lovers Tour for those who dare to try. The craziest fact about the Icelandic Fermented Shark is that the Greenlands shark which is the prime meat used to produce it is actually poisonous while fresh! Oh, wow. Do you see that? Ju Shardlow: Look up the list of the most misunderstood foods in the world, and fermented shark is probably on it.But here in the west of Iceland… Greenland shark is fermented for up to 12 weeks, and then hung out to dry for several months, resulting in what can only be described as a full assault on the senses. So, this is how that's, that's much, much thicker pieces. He does not have a fat layer. The now cleaned cavity is then rested on a small mound of sand and the shark later covered with sand and gravel. Today fermented shark or “kæstur hákarl” is it is called in Icelandic is simply a way for Icelanders to stay in touch with their roots and ancestry. The fillet we call skyrhákarl. Guðjón: Next, I'm gonna open it up, and you're going to put your head in it. The truth is, locals eat foods like fermented shark meat (Kæstur hákarl), sour ram’s testicles (Súrir hrútspungar) and boiled (sometimes cured) sheep’s head (Svið) typically only during a mid-winter Þorrablót feast. While attempting to eat it, Ramsay spat it out, but May was able to keep his down and even offered to eat it again. Hakarl - Icelandic fermented shark is indeed one of the most typical food you should try. And in Iceland and isolated areas, this was a big waste. It is like sandpaper, yeah. And we call that glerhákarl. Now it changes a little bit to maybe a little like a licorice flavor. 109 So when he swims, he gets this sort of thin layer of air around him. But how do the locals feel when they have been away from the land of ice and fire for a while? The different depth and what chemicals are high or low in. 'Cause it's poisonous when it's fresh? My grandfather bought this boat 1929, when he was 19 years old. So 400 years ago, probably accidentally, they discovered the process to use the meat. And this is his skin. And the Greenland shark is, usually he's from 3 meters till maybe 5 meters long. They grow in one direction. It makes the meat not toxic. Due to its rich ammonia concentration, eating its fresh meat could even lead to death. Ju: Wow. It's preserved. But I know good shark from a bad one. Guðjón: So, they used hooks. The Top Tourist Attractions in Iceland . Ju: What is that doing in the scientific process of it? Ju: It's, um, I dye my hair, and it's literally like bleach. Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. It's Greenland shark that's been laboriously fermented, dried, and cured. How much is too much to put in here? And we want it strong. However, some still consider it a delicacy and will go through real lengths in order to get their hands on some proper good “hákarl”. There's no cooking. Is this your, I mean, this isn't your personal supply bottle. Just like we are marinating the shark. So, this is just, like, all my life. And it's been done by one family in this area for hundreds of years. This here, this is from my grandfather's shark-fishing set. And it also works like, gives him a little bit more insulation in a cold ocean. [Ju laughs] And then you're gonna explain the smell you feel. The Greenland shark, he has much more water in him than other fishes, or other sharks. So for the first 200 years, when they were fishing them, they had to throw the meat away. People go in two parts, even Icelanders. Then a little bit more, you could probably go blind. That was before refrigerators and modern technology. Ju: Want it even stronger? He described it as reminiscent of “. We love skyr. This crust is removed before the shark is enjoyed. So it loses a lot of weight here. This is not for everybody. Today, mostly brave foreigners try the shark on a dare after a drunken night of partying into the wee hours in Reykjavik. Shark bodies are hung up for months to ferment, and then cut up into little bits and served without cooking. Read more: Iceland’s Ark of Taste: some of the flavours will seriously challenge your tastebuds. And then we have this one here. Ju: Yeah, it's like sandpaper. So, oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. It’s Iceland’s infamous national dish with quite the notorious reputation for testing even the most adventurous of stomachs. 17 Write a comment. And how did they used to catch it then? Though it is a dish not many could bring themselves to sample, hakarl is a meal rooted in history and tradition. The third and last step is then to lay stones on top of the sand which is done in order to press the shark. So there was big waste of meat. Let's find out! Now we buy them from these big trawling boats, who catch the shark accidentally. And then, like, you know, the texture of it in your mouth. The Shark Museum at Bjarnarhofn farm on the northern side of Snaefellsnes peninsula is where visitors can get a down-home taste of ‘real’ Iceland by meeting with the friendly curator and owner who reveals fascinating details about the local Greenland shark from which traditional ‘hakarl’ is made. This period can last a few months and during this time the strips will develop a brown crust. So it's ammonia. Do you ever get over that? A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation. Hákarl: Iceland’s Rancid Fermented Shark Delicacy Hákarl is an Icelandic delicacy of fermented Greenland shark meat that gives off one hell of a pungent odor! They just flip over, and the old ones, they just fall off. I won't, though, but. But, after all, what does one expect when consuming rotting, dried, fermented shark flesh? And he has white meat. Guðjón: The ammonia is, the liquid here is, that's fine. Today, this is eaten like a snack for special occasions. [laughs]. This is very old. Guðjón: So this can stay here for some while longer. Guðjón Hildibrandsson: The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. Especially not if you have a shot of Brennivín liquor to wash down with it! Ju: So what exactly does it take to make it safe to eat? So that's why they don't taste the same. Ju: I mean, this is a big boat. Most Icelandic restaurants will have it on the menu all year round for travelers and locals to try. But you see here, when I slice it open, that he still has this beautiful white color at the inside. Now this is a chemical process and we are, there are a lot of interesting things that we are even still discovering. It's hair bleach and Stilton. Hákarl, or fermented shark meat, is one such dish. Only after a long curing process it becomes safe to eat. © Copyright 2020. What would happen to me? So, you let it stay there for maybe 20 seconds. And they used usually a seal meat or a seal fat for a bait for the hook. Shark has been involved with my family for 600 years, I guess. Ju: Guðjón cures about 60 sharks a year. So he's got somewhere around, I don't know, 4,000 set of teeth over his lifetime, or more. 2. We don't catch them ourselves, not anymore. The fish bones are gelatinous, and the smell is reminiscent of what you’d find in a chlorinated pool, but for many Icelanders, fermented skate is … However, some still consider it a delicacy and will go through real lengths in order to get their hands on some proper good “hákarl”. And then death after that. Ju: Yeah. Guðjón: This basically does everything. Finding the small fish stall I asked for the fermented shark, and a little grin came over the face of the lady. Ju: OK, great. Serving those who crave all things Icelandic. So these are the thinner pieces. In terms of flavour, it tends to be described with all the very worst words you can use for something edible. And then we have the fillet. Guðjón: This boat is around 8 meters. From fishing to cube, the whole process takes six months. Fermented shark, Hákarl, or rotten shark as people often refer to it is quite possibly the most famous dish in Iceland. There's always air around him. But the drying process is just to get a better texture in the meat because it's just so wet and moist. Then it's doing what we want it to do. Hákarl: Iceland's Buried, Rotten, Fermented & Dried Delicacy - WorldAtlas 26 Write a comment. [both laugh] Great, I will not be taking a bite of that. Iceland can be quite an expensive place but there is a way to do it on a more cheaper matter.