Hákarl – Fermented Shark in Iceland, one of world's weirdest dish!
Originated from Iceland, this kind of food is unique and famous in the world. Knowinsider would like to introduce you to some interesting information about it.
WHAT IS HÁKARL?
Hákarl or kæstur hákarl (Icelandic for “fermented shark”) is a national dish from Iceland. According to the culinaryschools, it consists of a Greenland or basking shark which is rotten, has been cured with a fermentation process and is hung to dry in an open air shed.
WHERE DOES THE GREENLAND SHARK MEAT COME FROM?
Hákarl is typically made from either the stomach or the body of the shark. The stomach meat is white, soft, and has a texture similar to cheese, while the meat from the body has a reddish hue and is much chewier. Reviewed by the current.seabourn.com, the meat does not, by any means, have a universal approval rating among Icelanders—some love it, some hate it—but it’s available at most corner shops. It is traditionally eaten by locals during Þorrablót, an annual winter Icelandic festival that’s also home to other adventurous dishes like ram’s testicles, boiled sheep’s heads, and seal flippers. Good times for all.
HOW IS HÁKARL PREPARED?
|Historically in Viking times, the shark was fermented underground, though it is typically done above ground today, with an expert deciding based on the scent when the food is ready to be hung to complete the breakdown process. It can be served after 6 months.|
HOW ABOUT THE SMELL OF HÁKARL?
Thanks to all of the urea, Hákarl retains a strong ammonia-like odor. In fact, the smell is so strong and sometimes so unpleasant that first-timers may be encouraged to hold their noses when they sample the fermented shark. On an episode of his Travel Channel show Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, Andrew Zimmern said that the smell of Hákarl reminded him of “some of the most horrific things I've ever breathed in my life.”
WHAT DOES HÁKARL TASTE LIKE?
|Some say Hákarl tastes better than it smells—but that’s certainly up for debate. Zimmern called the taste “sweet, nutty ... only faintly fishy.” The late Anthony Bourdain, however, wasn’t quite as kind; he said that it was “the single worst, most disgusting, and terrible tasting thing” he had ever eaten. Others have said that the flavours are more reminiscent of strong blue cheese, a flavour which is then accompanied by an undeniably urine-like aftertaste. That’s why Hákarl is often accompanied by a shot of Brennivín, a clear, unflavored kind of schnapps that translates to “burning wine” in English.|
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