Tastes of Iceand: the Hákarl, the tradiotional dish made of putrefied shark

Posted on April 15, 2009 by

The Hákarl is the food that the Icelanders love the most, even if it is the one that leaves a deep impression on tourists: it is indeed made of putrefied shark meat!

You must know that sharks never drain the urine throughout their whole life, but it get stored in pockets under the skin. It would be impossible to eat the meat that had been in contact with these pockets, but during the last centuries, the Icelanders found a way to make it edible: they let the meat go bad for six months underground, so that it looses the acids that soaked it.

This food, when put on the table, looks like white sugar lumps, but the smell it exhales is strong and reminds that of the ammonia. For this reason, it is stored in pots with hermetic seals, from where it is taken out step by step, right before eating it.
The taste is not one of the best you may imagine, but although what you may think, it is not disgusting.

The Hákarl is considered a deliciousness by the Icelanders, that eat it along with the Brennevín, the typical potatoes liquor.

Comments (1)


  1. Sigvaldi Eggertsson says:

    I think you have been badly misinformed. Hákarl is something that Icelanders eat very rarely and few find a good eat.
    Most of it is eaten by the tourists that, for some reason, imagine that this is a traditional Icelandic dish.

Leave a Reply