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Hákarl – Icelandic Fermented Shark!


Hákarl or kæstur hákarl (Icelandic for “fermented shark”) is a food from Iceland. It is a Greenland or basking shark which has been cured with a particular fermentation process and hung to dry for 4-5 months. Hákarl has a very particular ammonia-rich smell and taste, similar to very strong cheese. It is an acquired taste and many Icelanders never eat it.

Hákarl is served as part of a Þorramatur, a selection of traditional Icelandic food served at Þorrablót in midwinter. Hákarl is, however, readily available in Icelandic stores all year round and is eaten in all seasons.

Enlarged image here.

Submitted by A. Joshi

Posted by Brad | in Disgusting Delicasies | 2 Comments »

2 Comments on “Hákarl – Icelandic Fermented Shark!”

  1. John Says:

    I’ve had this, on a trip to Iceland.
    It was served pre-cut into small cubes, which I skewered and ate with a toothpick.

    The ammonia type smell, is very strong. But it did not remind me of any cheese. Instead, I was assaulted with the memory of changing nappies (diapers) on my newborn baby sister. Incredibly pungent.

    The meat was soft, and a greyish white. It didn’t taste bad at all. If you have no sense of smell, or a really heavy cold, you’d be fine with this.

  2. Mabel Says:

    It smells loads worse than it tastes. Imagine Jewish deli whitefish soaked in Windex. If you like strong fish and you can get past the ammoniated smell it’s actually not that bad.

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