Then a little bit more, you could probably go blind. 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. And this used to be called, in Iceland, svarti dauði, or which would be black death. The different depth and what chemicals are high or low in. And then I'll have one also. Ju: It's just, yeah. That was before refrigerators and modern technology. We're here to find out what it tastes like. But before, this was eaten, like, with a meal, like, for something extra. What is the liquid that's coming off, then? Ju: OK, great. Founded in 1998 as mail order shop and online since 2001 nammi.is has long enabled online shoppers to shop Icelandic items online. And they could feel when the shark was testing the bait. Or maybe its friendly demeanor? Ju: Do you know what it is? This is one of the places where you can regularly sample hakarl, fermented shark. You can stroke the skin one way, but it's harder to stroke it the other. Especially not if you have a shot of Brennivín liquor to wash down with it! The shark is at this point cut into pieces and hung to dry. Please be informed the office will be closed on December 24th - 27th, 31st and 1st of January 2021 due to Holiday season. 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! Is that quite a common thing? The sharks are rarely caught intentionally, and instead the market for shark meat has emerged from accidental catch in other fisheries. That stays white. Shark bodies are hung up for months to ferment, and then cut up into little bits and served without cooking. And the Greenland shark is, usually he's from 3 meters till maybe 5 meters long. 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. Fresh meat, you will get very sick. We're here to find out what it tastes like. People go in two parts, even Icelanders. You should. This is very old. Find out all about it! Guðjón: So, they used hooks. It is hard to say beforehand about which group you will find yourself in. The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. From fishing to cube, the whole process takes six months. Ju: It's the meatiest fish I've ever seen, yeah. We don't catch them ourselves, not anymore. It's not toxic. Ju: Oh, wow. But I recommend to everybody, at least give it a try. 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. Guðjón: I'll have another one also. The boat's name is Síldin, which is "herring" in English. But my family used to catch them and hunt them. So, here we have the thinner pieces. Ju: And I just, you know when you have a really strong shot of alcohol, and you get that kind of, like, burning. [both laugh] Great, I will not be taking a bite of that. Guðjón: Exactly. In Iceland, that dish is hakarl, or fermented shark meat. Basically it is rotten shark. And in the drying, the piece, it gets this dried crust around it. How much is too much to put in here? Just go down the hatch? Once you get over the ammonia-rich smell the taste really isn’t that bad. Recent Posts See All. In terms of flavour, it tends to be described with all the very worst words you can use for something edible. Heading to the market by the old harbour in Reykjavik (the capital), I prepared myself. So it's easier for him to swim and to get faster. Also, their meat is poisonous. And he has white meat. Do you see that? And then it's actually, like, stinging my tongue, stinging the back of my tongue. But here in the west of Iceland, it is a regional delicacy. They just flip over, and the old ones, they just fall off. Water, there is a lot of water in the meat. The Top Tourist Attractions in Iceland . It's supposed to be strong. So when he swims, he gets this sort of thin layer of air around him. 'Cause it's poisonous when it's fresh? Ju: No. Serving those who crave all things Icelandic. There are chemical changes that are happening, that are making the meat untoxic. The now cleaned cavity is then rested on a small mound of sand and the shark later covered with sand and gravel. So, there's a chemical company in Iceland who analyzes food. And then in the drying process, it loses, like, 50, 70%. This is just all my life. Update, June 2018, after Bourdain's untimely death: When Anthony Bourdain visited Iceland to eat the worst food he'd ever taste You know. Ju: Yeah. And no, I'm not talking about that sheep's face. And he changes his teeth around every three weeks. I've been doing the curing process probably since I was 10. This period can last a few months and during this time the strips will develop a brown crust. Is it its incredible soft gait, tölt? And in Iceland and isolated areas, this was a big waste. The fillet we call skyrhákarl. So that's why they don't taste the same. Now this is a chemical process and we are, there are a lot of interesting things that we are even still discovering. Then it's doing what we want it to do. One shark will give from 30 to 40 pieces of fillet. For some reason, the fermented rotten shark gets the most hype out of all the sour cuisines above. Most Icelandic restaurants will have it on the menu all year round for travelers and locals to try. The shark basically releases urine through its bloodstream and tissues which is considered a very primitive way to dispense. It's hair bleach. Ju: It's just like, kind of feel it in my heart and my soul now. Eurovision Movie: 5 Iceland References You Might Have Missed, Iceland Ranks First on Children’s Rights Index. Ju: Guðjón cures about 60 sharks a year. Is it that they grow up in open fields? 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. Guðjón: Here we have a piece of the fillet. So it's ammonia. 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. The meat is first fermented in cold storage rooms, like this one. Guðjón: It is strong. After this, you can eat it. The shark does have a reputation internationally. But before, fresh meat, something small, you would get very sick. When the chef here says that he specializes in Icelandic specialties, he means it. So there was big waste of meat. What would happen to me? Just shark, shark, shark. And these are all, like, good. Guðjón Hildibrandsson: The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. Guðjón: Yeah. Guðjón: This boat is around 8 meters. And airplane food. And then the aftertaste. 17 Write a comment. The shark meat is fermented for 9 weeks before it is ready to eat and is traditionally eaten uncooked in little chunks. We've sent you an email to confirm your subscription. Though it is a dish not many could bring themselves to sample, hakarl is a meal rooted in history and tradition. While attempting to eat it, Ramsay spat it out, but May was able to keep his down and even offered to eat it again. 2. Ju: What is that doing in the scientific process of it? 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 they start to tease him until the shark swallows the bait. Read more: Iceland’s Ark of Taste: some of the flavours will seriously challenge your tastebuds. 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 according to them, the shark is the healthiest food that is made in Iceland. And the teeth, they grow up. Ju: I mean, this is a big boat. And it's been done by one family in this area for hundreds of years. If you are interested in witnessing the preparation of “kæstur hákarl” you can do so at the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum on Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Hákarl, or fermented shark, is a phenomenon that has gone way beyond the confines of the austere Icelandic winter. My grandfather bought this boat 1929, when he was 19 years old. And then we have this one here. Only after a long curing process it becomes safe to eat. Ju: Yeah, it's like sandpaper. And then death after that. Once you get over the ammonia-rich smell the taste really isn’t that bad. Just go for it! 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