Is this your, I mean, this isn't your personal supply bottle. I don't think that's ever gonna go away, maybe, but. We traveled to Bjarnarhöfn, Iceland where one family has been curing Greenland sharks for hundreds of years. Shark bodies are hung up for months to ferment, and then cut up into little bits and served without cooking. 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. For me, I kind of, I sort of miss it. Now we buy them from these big trawling boats, who catch the shark accidentally. It is the, not even amount of ammonia maybe in them, or salt, or other chemicals that are different. It is hard to say beforehand about which group you will find yourself in. For centuries Icelanders had to find ways to store food during long and cold winters. The shark meat is fermented for 9 weeks before it is ready to eat and is traditionally eaten uncooked in little chunks. I've been doing the curing process probably since I was 10. Guðjón: Ammonia. So 400 years ago, probably accidentally, they discovered the process to use the meat. Ju: Yeah, the second one was the kicker, yeah. Ju: Yeah. Ju: All right, I'm just gonna try to chew this a bit. The boat's name is Síldin, which is "herring" in English. Yeah, like hair dye. And is first registered 1860. Subscriber That was before refrigerators and modern technology. The thinner pieces, after the process, the meat becomes sort of red or brown. 18 views. 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. I was gonna say, it actually doesn't, it's, the aftertaste is kicking in now, yeah. But it's that really kind of, like, rich Stilton cheese, like, hits the back of your tongue. Ju: So what exactly does it take to make it safe to eat? Once you get over the ammonia-rich smell the taste really isn’t that bad. . A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation. So they start to tease him until the shark swallows the bait. 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. 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. So when he swims, he gets this sort of thin layer of air around him. But here in the west of Iceland, it is a regional delicacy. So he's got somewhere around, I don't know, 4,000 set of teeth over his lifetime, or more. Something like that. Guðjón made me try some fermented shark cubes dipped in Icelandic schnapps. Guðjón: This basically does everything. [Ju laughs] And then you're gonna explain the smell you feel. 'Cause it's poisonous when it's fresh? FERMENTED ROTTEN SHARK. After this, you can eat it. But you see here, when I slice it open, that he still has this beautiful white color at the inside. How big is a shark? They are, the texture is fine. since. 3 Write a comment. So, you let it stay there for maybe 20 seconds. This jaw here, here you go. Serving those who crave all things Icelandic. When the earliest Icelandic residents settled on … What would happen to me? [both laugh]. Getting that post-Iceland blues is a common thing. And it's just at the sides of your tongue. It's named after the milk product, skyr. There’s no denying Iceland is known for having some pretty atypical dishes, at least to many visitors. It’s become something of a tourist favorite, a “you haven’t been to Iceland if you haven’t tried rotted shark” kind of thing. And we make these handles in the skin for grabbing them, lifting them up, hanging them up. The fillet we call skyrhákarl. Especially not if you have a shot of Brennivín liquor to wash down with it! And under here we have the fillet. Guðjón: I'll have another one also. Find out all about it! Fermented shark, Hákarl, or rotten shark as people often refer to it is quite possibly the most famous dish in Iceland. And this was maybe 100 meters down. So he needs more time, but these here are ready. Is it its incredible soft gait, tölt? [both laugh] But yeah, this is really rough. Súrir Hrútspungar (Sour Ram's Testicles) That brings us to ram's testicles, a tricky one to justify, no … In terms of flavour, it tends to be described with all the very worst words you can use for something edible. Now it's the texture, it's like, got into almost like a gelatinous kind of texture in my mouth. And according to them, the shark is the healthiest food that is made in Iceland. Once you get over the ammonia-rich smell the taste really isn’t that bad. Also, their meat is poisonous. This here, this is from my grandfather's shark-fishing set. Guðjón: So, the Greenland shark, he lives so deep that he's not in our swimming waters. What makes the Icelandic Viking horse unique? The now cleaned cavity is then rested on a small mound of sand and the shark later covered with sand and gravel. 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. Guðjón: Yeah. And this used to be called, in Iceland, svarti dauði, or which would be black death. That stays white. Like, nothing at all. We met with Guðjón Hildibrandsson. It's like eating bread to you now? But I know good shark from a bad one. Do you ever get over that? Fresh meat, you will get very sick. The meat ferments for six to nine weeks in the wooden boxes, then it's hung outside for six months to fully dry out. This crust is removed before the shark is enjoyed. [laughs]. 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. Here you see the skin. Now it changes a little bit to maybe a little like a licorice flavor. Guðjón: The ammonia is, the liquid here is, that's fine. So it's ammonia. Ju: Oh, wow. Due to its rich ammonia concentration, eating its fresh meat could even lead to death. So, in these boxes, the meat loses about around 30%. Guðjón: Next, I'm gonna open it up, and you're going to put your head in it. Ju: Do you know what it is? Guðjón: Everything you feel is probably 10 times more than what I feel. He described it as reminiscent of “. Hakarl was first carefully prepared by the Vikings, who knew that the meat of the Greenlandic shark is poisonous to humans without careful preparation. And the Greenland shark is, usually he's from 3 meters till maybe 5 meters long. And how did they used to catch it then? Fermented Shark, Rotten Shark Greenland sharks are the world’s longest-living vertebrates, often partially blind, and can grow up to 24 feet long. Account active 2. So that's why they don't taste the same. Guðjón: What's also good is to have a piece of the shark and piece of the rye bread, the Icelandic rye bread. And then we have this one here. There's no smoking. And the meat is, it's more chewy and salty. That's exactly how it tastes. Guðjón: To know if it's ready, we check the texture. And in the drying, the piece, it gets this dried crust around it. Spending time traveling you often spend much of your money of food especially when traveling to Iceland. Guðjón: Yeah, yeah, yeah. All About Hakarl Iceland's Fermented Shark. 109 Ju: Yeah. Guðjón: So this can stay here for some while longer. Guðjón Hildibrandsson: The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. This is one of the places where you can regularly sample hakarl, fermented shark. So it's easier for him to swim and to get faster. It was an accident. It's preserved. But the drying process is just to get a better texture in the meat because it's just so wet and moist. Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. That's really licorice, yeah. Guðjón: This boat is around 8 meters. And also for oxygen to get in, because the meat, it needs to breathe. The third and last step is then to lay stones on top of the sand which is done in order to press the shark. Guðjón Hildibrandsson: The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. 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. I do actually, it's the texture now. And then, like, you know, the texture of it in your mouth. And the chain had to be at least 3 meters. Ju: Wow. Ju: Want it even stronger? So, this part of the process, is this the most important part to get the taste of it, or the curing? Ju: I mean, this is a big boat. This one is not stiff enough. Due to its rich ammonia concentration, eating its fresh meat could even lead to death. Guðjón: Today this is called Brennivín, which would be translated in English like a burning wine. 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. At first it was just like chewing a piece of ham. If you are interested in witnessing the preparation of “. Guðjón: And then you can also - this is like - it does not smell as intense as when we walked in. Just shark, shark, shark. But how do the locals feel when they have been away from the land of ice and fire for a while? Just go for it! An Iceland Backpacking Trip: Best Tips and Tricks. Ju: Oh, yeah, there's some more resistance one way. It's also different after where the shark has been, and what depth, and what temperature he was caught. So, here we have the thinner pieces. Ju: Yeah, it's like sandpaper. Guðjón: Yeah, and this one is then from, I would guess, 4 meters. The taste of the Icelandic fermented shark is very smell-based. And the Greenland shark is a deep-ocean, cold-ocean shark. We love skyr. This way fluids are better released from the shark the actual fermentation process is shortened. Guðjón: It's good. 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 … But my family used to catch them and hunt them. Guðjón: The second one was also a little bit bigger. Ju: Guðjón cures about 60 sharks a year. And we want it strong. And then death after that. And no, I'm not talking about that sheep's face. It’s become almost a right of passage. 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. Ju Shardlow: Look up the list of the most misunderstood foods in the world, and fermented shark is probably on it. I would encourage (and challenge!) So Icelanders, they first started fishing them for the liver. This period can last a few months and during this time the strips will develop a brown crust. So, oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. 2. It's hair bleach. One way to know if you are being offered a fermented shark … 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. Make the Tamarind-Fish-Chili Sauce and mix in the Hákarl (Icelandic Fermented Shark Meat) until all the meat has been coated. There's no cooking. We're here to find out what it tastes like. Is that quite a common thing? Following is a transcript of the video. Ju: It's just, yeah. Now this is a chemical process and we are, there are a lot of interesting things that we are even still discovering. chef Gordon Ramsay challenged James May to sample three “delicacies” one of which was the Icelandic Hákarl. Guðjón: This is my grandfather's shark-fishing boat. Guðjón: Yeah. He used to catch sharks and other fishes in this boat. Guðjón: Exactly. Ju: Skál, OK. Mm. So total use of meat is around 8%. Ju: It's, um, I dye my hair, and it's literally like bleach. Then it's doing what we want it to do. That is very interesting. And it also works like, gives him a little bit more insulation in a cold ocean. Ju: It's just like, kind of feel it in my heart and my soul now. Either you like it, or you don't. 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! 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. The Greenland shark, he has much more water in him than other fishes, or other sharks. It is like sandpaper, yeah. He has white meat. Or that they have been purely bread since the Vikings brought them? Even if you never become a fan the Icelandic Hákarl is something you will want to try when in Iceland. You're gonna inhale. There's always air around him. What do Icelanders miss when they are away? Basically it is rotten shark. 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. From fishing to cube, the whole process takes six months. Arctic Adventures. And they could feel when the shark was testing the bait. And then we have the fillet. This is from maybe 5-meter-long shark. Lastly,  there are those who love it from the start and simply can’t get enough. In Iceland, that dish is hakarl, or fermented shark meat. And we call that glerhákarl. [both laugh] Great, I will not be taking a bite of that. Fermented shark, Hákarl, or rotten shark as people often refer to it is quite possibly the most famous dish in Iceland. Will I go blind, or...? Oh, wow. 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. We've sent you an email to confirm your subscription. It’s Iceland’s infamous national dish with quite the notorious reputation for testing even the most adventurous of stomachs. Ju: And I just, you know when you have a really strong shot of alcohol, and you get that kind of, like, burning. And these are all, like, good. It's hair bleach and Stilton. Guðjón: Now it's that far in the fermentation that you would be fine. So, there's a chemical company in Iceland who analyzes food. Shark gives your taste-buds a slight slap and could maybe be compared to some of the more pungent cheeses you can get, while skata is a full-scale assault that can – literally – leave you crying. And then, of course, the shark on his own. In an interview with Time Magazine Anthony was asked what foods he would never again taste. So, this is how that's, that's much, much thicker pieces. First, people didn't know this was a chemical process. Ju: No. So these are the thinner pieces. 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. Or maybe its friendly demeanor? It's amazing, though, how much of it is in the smell. USD, Jet Boat up Gullfoss Canyon & Taste Local Craft Beer, 126 He's running his family business of shark curing here in Bjarnarhöfn. Let's find out! Is it that they grow up in open fields? Water, there is a lot of water in the meat. Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast. What is the liquid that's coming off, then? You can taste the smell of it. And they used the oil from the liver. It tastes much better than it smells. Ju: What is that doing in the scientific process of it? The different depth and what chemicals are high or low in. And it's very important that these boxes, they have these gaps on them so the liquid can leak from it. Update, June 2018, after Bourdain's untimely death: When Anthony Bourdain visited Iceland to eat the worst food he'd ever taste 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. And the teeth, they grow up. Ju: OK, great. And then it's actually, like, stinging my tongue, stinging the back of my tongue. USD. I'm a shark convert. 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. 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. Iceland is famous for fresh fish and our delicious lamb that roams free during the summer. The shark does have a reputation internationally. You know. Guðjón: Here we have a piece of the fillet. Hákarl, or fermented shark, is a phenomenon that has gone way beyond the confines of the austere Icelandic winter. So, this is just, like, all my life. Showcasing how little the development of sharks has been over the last 300 million years. We could drink it. Just shark, shark, shark. Guðjón: It is strong. Two sharks who arrive here together, they go through the process together. Ju: Yeah. When the chef here says that he specializes in Icelandic specialties, he means it. And airplane food. It's the best. Hákarl: Iceland's Buried, Rotten, Fermented & Dried Delicacy - WorldAtlas People go in two parts, even Icelanders. How much is too much to put in here? If you can't find it please check your spam folder. This is not for everybody. Guðjón: I've been eating the shark since before I got teeth. And then I'll have one also. If you are interested in witnessing the preparation of “kæstur hákarl” you can do so at the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum on Snæfellsnes Peninsula. I won't, though, but. 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