The Foodie Blog

Kiviak, Greenland Inuit Fermented Seal dish

5 little auk.
5 Little Auk.

Kiviak (also called kiviaq) is the name of a Greenlandic Inuit dish which consists of up to 500 small seagull/auk birds fermented whole within a suture-closed freshly disemboweled seal. Oils are applied to the skin to prevent infestation by maggots.

White Cub Greenland Seal. Also known as a Harp seal or saddleback seal.
White Cub Greenland Seal. It is also known as a Harp seal or saddleback seal.

The pelt (containing the whole seagulls/auks) is buried underneath a large, flat stone, seam-side up to prevent rupturing by the gases that evolve and contamination. The pelt is dug up about a half year later when fermentation is complete.


The sutures are then cut to reveal the fermented seagull or little auks. The fermented intestinal fluids are sucked out from the whole birds, or used as a sauce for other foods. It is said to taste similar to natto paste, or very mature cheeses.


Submitted by Lee Tantral

Take it easy eating this dish, as it killed explorer Knud Rasmussen.

Elephant Seals Laying on a Beach.
Elephant Seals Resting on the Beach.
Posted by Brad | in Disgusting Delicasies | 8 Comments »

8 Comments on “Kiviak, Greenland Inuit Fermented Seal dish”

  1. Lee Says:

    One extra note. I found out about this via an anime called Moyashimon. It’s not relaly something I’d call a reliable reference, but here’s the clip that I found about it:

    In case the comment doesn’t allow youtube embeds, here’s the link:

  2. L’Antre de la Fangirl » Les anime, ça donne faim… Says:

    […] plats (bien que ça se discute), le kiviak est une cuisine qui existe réellement et se mange au Groenland. Et pourtant je n’en avais jamais entendu parler avant de voir ça dans le premier épisode […]

  3. Peko Peko Says:

    That is really scary. I eat natto — and some pretty weird stuff here in Japan, but it still seems like food. This sounds like it crosses the line. The YouTube video was too much!

  4. SCOTT Says:


  5. jon w Says:

    I can testify to the cheesy texture and taste. Trying to make fish sauce, I chopped up whole sardines and left them out a couple weeks in salty water. The chunks get that cheesy texture, the bones get soft, and altogether a very strong but good taste. Not much fishiness.

  6. The Health Benefits of Fermented Foods | Mark's Daily Apple Says:

    […] world on a diet of bread – fermentation must be pretty effective stuff). The Inuit traditionally wrap whole seabird carcasses in seal pelts and bury them underground to ferment for months; rotting fish is another feature of their traditional diet. Fermented dairy […]

  7. Ant Says:

    When u r starving and have no way of preserving food this may b a way of having something to eat but that is about all u can say about it

  8. Alexia Says:

    I hate that baby seals are in danger. Just the thought of clubbing baby seals over the head makes me want to puke. I suggest ya’ll try something else. How would you feel if someone came and clubbed your baby over the head and butchered it?

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