Shark has been involved with my family for 600 years, I guess. 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 these points, if you look closely, you see the points in the skin. They just flip over, and the old ones, they just fall off. [laughs]. So, this is how that's, that's much, much thicker pieces. I won't, though, but. There are chemical changes that are happening, that are making the meat untoxic. That's exactly how it tastes. Fresh meat, you will get very sick. The taste of the Icelandic fermented shark is very smell-based. It's amazing, though, how much of it is in the smell. Following is a transcript of the video. What is the liquid that's coming off, then? Ju: It's the meatiest fish I've ever seen, yeah. And then in the drying process, it loses, like, 50, 70%. Guðjón: And now you feel it, it's coming up in your nose. He described it as reminiscent of “. Guðjón: This basically does everything. 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: Yeah, the second one was the kicker, yeah. It's not toxic. Guðjón: This was used for, in Iceland, this was used for sandpaper. It's supposed to be strong. Hakarl - Icelandic fermented shark is indeed one of the most typical food you should try. Finding the small fish stall I asked for the fermented shark, and a little grin came over the face of the lady. Guðjón: So this can stay here for some while longer. If you are interested in witnessing the preparation of “. But, after all, what does one expect when consuming rotting, dried, fermented shark flesh? And it's very important that these boxes, they have these gaps on them so the liquid can leak from it. They grow in one direction. And he has white meat. Because, if the matter is, dissociated, the scent is what really makes it such a challenge to swallow. Today, mostly brave foreigners try the shark on a dare after a drunken night of partying into the wee hours in Reykjavik. 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. Once you get over the ammonia-rich smell the taste really isn’t that bad. And then we have this one here. There’s no denying Iceland is known for having some pretty atypical dishes, at least to many visitors. Ju: Oh, yeah, there's some more resistance one way. And then, of course, the shark on his own. After the process, they taste similar, but not the same. In addition to airline food he lists Icelandic fermented shark as the most disgusting thing he had ever tasted, alongside Namibian warthog rectum. If you can't find it please check your spam folder. Two sharks who arrive here together, they go through the process together. The sharks are rarely caught intentionally, and instead the market for shark meat has emerged from accidental catch in other fisheries. Ju: OK, great. Guðjón: Yeah, yeah. How much is too much to put in here? If you are interested in witnessing the preparation of “kæstur hákarl” you can do so at the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum on Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Iceland is famous for fresh fish and our delicious lamb that roams free during the summer. 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. Then a little bit more, you could probably go blind. What makes the Icelandic Viking horse unique? It is like sandpaper, yeah. That is very interesting. You know. It’s Iceland’s infamous national dish with quite the notorious reputation for testing even the most adventurous of stomachs. This crust is removed before the shark is enjoyed. Lastly,  there are those who love it from the start and simply can’t get enough. Is that quite a common thing? Subscriber This is one of the places where you can regularly sample hakarl, fermented shark. It's also different after where the shark has been, and what depth, and what temperature he was caught. Guðjón: It's good. Just, it's just natural process, from the beginning till the end. Fermented shark, called Hákarl, is a … 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. Guðjón: The ammonia is, the liquid here is, that's fine. Ju: It's just, yeah. So for the first 200 years, when they were fishing them, they had to throw the meat away. And these are all, like, good. This is very old. Once you get over the ammonia-rich smell the taste really isn’t that bad. We don't catch them ourselves, not anymore. Also, their meat is poisonous. But the drying process is just to get a better texture in the meat because it's just so wet and moist. This way fluids are better released from the shark the actual fermentation process is shortened. Eurovision Movie: 5 Iceland References You Might Have Missed, Iceland Ranks First on Children’s Rights Index. 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: Ammonia. 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. What would happen to me? This is from maybe 5-meter-long shark. It’s become almost a right of passage. Iceland can be quite an expensive place but there is a way to do it on a more cheaper matter. And this used to be called, in Iceland, svarti dauði, or which would be black death. And is first registered 1860. Just go down the hatch? That stays white. Ju: Guðjón cures about 60 sharks a year. 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. Fermented Shark, Rotten Shark Greenland sharks are the world’s longest-living vertebrates, often partially blind, and can grow up to 24 feet long. And the chain had to be at least 3 meters. It tastes much better than it smells. [both laugh] Ju: I'm pretty sure that's a cure for something. For some reason, the fermented rotten shark gets the most hype out of all the sour cuisines above. Basically it is rotten shark. How do you feel about that? And, you see here, they're always growing a new set of teeth here. And the teeth, they grow up. Guðjón: The second one was also a little bit bigger. But here in the west of Iceland, it is a regional delicacy. 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. Here you see the skin. Like, nothing at all. Do you see that? He's running his family business of shark curing here in Bjarnarhöfn. From fishing to cube, the whole process takes six months. People go in two parts, even Icelanders. We're here to find out what it tastes like. The food in Iceland is excellent, superb even so you will have plenty of other opportunities to try some tasty things. Guðjón: I guess so. Fermented shark, Hákarl, or rotten shark as people often refer to it is quite possibly the most famous dish in Iceland. [both laugh]. It makes the meat not toxic. Ju: I mean, I think that my tongue's just used to this now. 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. My grandfather bought this boat 1929, when he was 19 years old. Hákarl, or fermented shark, is a phenomenon that has gone way beyond the confines of the austere Icelandic winter. 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. A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation. And they used the oil from the liver. 109 Hákarl, or fermented shark, is a traditional Icelandic food dating back to the early days of Iceland’s Viking past. That's really licorice, yeah. All About Hakarl Iceland's Fermented Shark. Guðjón Hildibrandsson: The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. But it's that really kind of, like, rich Stilton cheese, like, hits the back of your tongue. I guess you just have to try! Ju: Yeah. Now the shark is left to dry for about 6-18 weeks depending on the season in which this course is taken. This period can last a few months and during this time the strips will develop a brown crust. © Copyright 2020. So 400 years ago, probably accidentally, they discovered the process to use the meat. Guðjón: Yeah, and this one is then from, I would guess, 4 meters. 3. They are, the texture is fine. Do you ever get over that? 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. 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. Just like we are marinating the shark. I would encourage (and challenge!) Guðjón: I've been eating the shark since before I got teeth. And this is his lower jaw. Because, if the matter is dissociated, the scent is what really makes it such a challenge to swallow. He does not have a fat layer. And it's been done by one family in this area for hundreds of years. And according to them, the shark is the healthiest food that is made in Iceland. And then death after that. And then I'll have one also. But I recommend to everybody, at least give it a try. That was before refrigerators and modern technology. Right. 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. Founded in 1998 as mail order shop and online since 2001 nammi.is has long enabled online shoppers to shop Icelandic items online. 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. The meat ferments for six to nine weeks in the wooden boxes, then it's hung outside for six months to fully dry out. Due to its rich ammonia concentration, eating its fresh meat could even lead to death. Spending time traveling you often spend much of your money of food especially when traveling to Iceland. Today, this is eaten like a snack for special occasions. And it's just at the sides of your tongue. It's named after the milk product, skyr. Ju: What happens to the ammonia when it drains? I don't think that's ever gonna go away, maybe, but. 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. We could drink it. The Top Tourist Attractions in Iceland . And in Iceland and isolated areas, this was a big waste. This jaw here, here you go. Ju: So what exactly does it take to make it safe to eat? Hákarl, or fermented shark meat, is one such dish. We're here to find out what it tastes like. 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. Guðjón: What's also good is to have a piece of the shark and piece of the rye bread, the Icelandic rye bread. For me, I kind of, I sort of miss it. Guðjón: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's preserved. [both laugh] Great, I will not be taking a bite of that. Now it changes a little bit to maybe a little like a licorice flavor. Ju: It's, um, I dye my hair, and it's literally like bleach. Ju: What would happen if I took a bite of that now? 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. Guðjón Hildibrandsson: The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. They couldn't use it. Ju: Oh, yeah, yeah. Guðjón: Yeah. You're gonna inhale. Ju: Wow. 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. Is it that they grow up in open fields? Or maybe its friendly demeanor? And we call that glerhákarl. It's like eating bread to you now? The thinner pieces, after the process, the meat becomes sort of red or brown. But how do the locals feel when they have been away from the land of ice and fire for a while? All rights reserved. So there was big waste of meat. Most Icelandic restaurants will have it on the menu all year round for travelers and locals to try. First, people didn't know this was a chemical process. 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. We traveled to Bjarnarhöfn, Iceland where one family has been curing Greenland sharks for hundreds of years. He used to catch sharks and other fishes in this boat. We don't want it too hard, and not too mushy. It was an accident. And he changes his teeth around every three weeks. Let's find out! Update, June 2018, after Bourdain's untimely death: When Anthony Bourdain visited Iceland to eat the worst food he'd ever taste Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. Ju: And I just, you know when you have a really strong shot of alcohol, and you get that kind of, like, burning. And they could feel when the shark was testing the bait. And under here we have the fillet. And airplane food. One way to know if you are being offered a fermented shark … But my family used to catch them and hunt them. One shark will give from 30 to 40 pieces of fillet. This here, this is from my grandfather's shark-fishing set. Water, there is a lot of water in the meat. Especially not if you have a shot of Brennivín liquor to wash down with it! And how did they used to catch it then? Guðjón: Everything you feel is probably 10 times more than what I feel. 2. This one is not stiff enough. The shark does have a reputation internationally. And the Greenland shark is, usually he's from 3 meters till maybe 5 meters long. You can taste the smell of it. So, would you recommend eat it before smelling it? But here in the west of Iceland, it is a regional delicacy. 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. 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. Due to its rich ammonia concentration, eating its fresh meat could even lead to death. You should. At first it was just like chewing a piece of ham. Even if you never become a fan the Icelandic Hákarl is something you will want to try when in Iceland. Heading to the market by the old harbour in Reykjavik (the capital), I prepared myself. Is this your, I mean, this isn't your personal supply bottle. So there is never nothing added to this meat in the process. Hakarl was first carefully prepared by the Vikings, who knew that the meat of the Greenlandic shark is poisonous to humans without careful preparation. I do actually, it's the texture now. It's the best. Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. So these are the thinner pieces. Guðjón: Today this is called Brennivín, which would be translated in English like a burning wine. 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. Anthropologist, social media guru, Icelandic nature and food enthusiast. The Greenland shark is the most toxic shark in the world. And no, I'm not talking about that sheep's face. Guðjón: Here we have a piece of the fillet. Ju: And these, I mean, would these hurt humans, or...? Showcasing how little the development of sharks has been over the last 300 million years. When the chef here says that he specializes in Icelandic specialties, he means it. In an interview with Time Magazine Anthony was asked what foods he would never again taste. And then he had been working on this boat at least since he was 14. chef Gordon Ramsay challenged James May to sample three “delicacies” one of which was the Icelandic Hákarl. Either you like it, or you don't. Isolated in the North Atlantic, Iceland evolved unique culinary traditions since the time of the Viking colonizers. 18 views. And it's been done by one family in this area for hundreds of years. 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. 26 Write a comment. It is hard to say beforehand about which group you will find yourself in. Please be informed the office will be closed on December 24th - 27th, 31st and 1st of January 2021 due to Holiday season. Ju: Yeah. 3 Write a comment. So, in these boxes, the meat loses about around 30%. We've sent you an email to confirm your subscription. Guðjón: So, the Greenland shark, he lives so deep that he's not in our swimming waters. Find out all about it! We met with Guðjón Hildibrandsson. 3. And they used usually a seal meat or a seal fat for a bait for the hook. Add more chili pepper if interested. Now this is a chemical process and we are, there are a lot of interesting things that we are even still discovering. So it's ammonia. So, this is just, like, all my life. But before, this was eaten, like, with a meal, like, for something extra. FERMENTED ROTTEN SHARK. Ju: No. So they start to tease him until the shark swallows the bait. The meat is first fermented in cold storage rooms, like this one. And also for oxygen to get in, because the meat, it needs to breathe. I'm a shark convert. So, this part of the process, is this the most important part to get the taste of it, or the curing? In Iceland, that dish is hakarl, or fermented shark meat. We love skyr. The preparation of “kæstur hákarl” is a time-consuming process as what follows after this curing period is the drying period. USD, Jet Boat up Gullfoss Canyon & Taste Local Craft Beer, 126 Guðjón: And then you can also - this is like - it does not smell as intense as when we walked in. 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… And here the meat is ready to eat. So, here we have the thinner pieces. 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. What do Icelanders miss when they are away? Then it's doing what we want it to do. Fermented shark, Hákarl, or rotten shark as people often refer to it is quite possibly the most famous dish in Iceland. . [both laugh] But yeah, this is really rough. 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. Guðjón made me try some fermented shark cubes dipped in Icelandic schnapps. And this is so healthy that you can't eat too much. And it also works like, gives him a little bit more insulation in a cold ocean. Ju: What is that doing in the scientific process of it? After this, you can eat it. An Iceland Backpacking Trip: Best Tips and Tricks. And we want it strong. The now cleaned cavity is then rested on a small mound of sand and the shark later covered with sand and gravel. At first it was the smell, then the taste. The Greenland shark, he has much more water in him than other fishes, or other sharks. 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 then death after that. I've been doing the curing process probably since I was 10. And we make these handles in the skin for grabbing them, lifting them up, hanging them up. Guðjón: I'll have another one also. Guðjón: So, they used hooks. The boat's name is Síldin, which is "herring" in English. Especially not if you have a shot of Brennivín liquor to wash down with it! When the earliest Icelandic residents settled on … Arctic Adventures. Ju: Do you know what it is? Getting that post-Iceland blues is a common thing. You can stroke the skin one way, but it's harder to stroke it the other. Guðjón: This is my grandfather's shark-fishing boat. It's like, you know when these people have really terrible, like, 1970s walls, where they, yeah. Yeah, like hair dye. Then a little bit more, you could probably go blind. The shark basically releases urine through its bloodstream and tissues which is considered a very primitive way to dispense. For centuries Icelanders had to find ways to store food during long and cold winters. 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. 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! However, some still consider it a delicacy and will go through real lengths in order to get their hands on some proper good “hákarl”. Ju: Want it even stronger? But I know good shark from a bad one. And then you take this here. 17 Write a comment. Fresh meat, you will get very sick. Just shark, shark, shark. Account active Ju: Oh, wow. Hákarl: Iceland's Buried, Rotten, Fermented & Dried Delicacy - WorldAtlas Guðjón: We are working with similar bacterias, like when you're doing cheese. Shark bodies are hung up for months to ferment, and then cut up into little bits and served without cooking. 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! [Ju laughs] And then you're gonna explain the smell you feel. The different depth and what chemicals are high or low in. So it's easier for him to swim and to get faster. Ju: I can taste the ammonia kind of smell now. This is not for everybody. since. Guðjón: Next, I'm gonna open it up, and you're going to put your head in it. It's Greenland shark that's been laboriously fermented, dried, and cured. 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. The shark is at this point cut into pieces and hung to dry. Guðjón: And so these points, they grow down with his body. 'Cause it's poisonous when it's fresh? 2. So when he swims, he gets this sort of thin layer of air around him. So it loses a lot of weight here. And then we have the fillet. And the meat is, it's more chewy and salty. While attempting to eat it, Ramsay spat it out, but May was able to keep his down and even offered to eat it again. It's Greenland shark that's been laboriously fermented, dried, and cured. The fillet we call skyrhákarl. Guðjón: It is strong. 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. And then, if I... you see how smoothly it cuts. And this is his skin. So that's why they don't taste the same. He has white meat. In terms of flavour, it tends to be described with all the very worst words you can use for something edible. So total use of meat is around 8%. Ju Shardlow: Look up the list of the most misunderstood foods in the world, and fermented shark is probably on it. 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. So, oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Just go for it! So he needs more time, but these here are ready. The shark meat is fermented for 9 weeks before it is ready to eat and is traditionally eaten uncooked in little chunks. But you see here, when I slice it open, that he still has this beautiful white color at the inside. USD. Ju: Yeah. And then it's actually, like, stinging my tongue, stinging the back of my tongue. And the Greenland shark is a deep-ocean, cold-ocean shark. 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Still discovering unique culinary traditions since the Vikings brought them airline food he lists Icelandic fermented shark wash down his! Is dissociated, the shark later covered with sand and the Greenland shark, Hákarl, or sharks... Really isn ’ t that bad, probably accidentally, they discovered process. The aftertaste is kicking in now, yeah process together tongue, stinging my tongue media!

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