Weird Story

Rotten Shark: Iceland's Favorite Food Is Not For The Faint Of Heart

rotten shark: iceland’s favorite food is not for the faint of heart
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Although Iceland is a small country, it has a big history. That partly explains why the country has a lot of unique dishes, including the famous rotten shark meat.

Other foods tourists sample while visiting this country include smoked lamb, rye bread, and wild mushrooms.

However, the most unusual dish you will meet while visiting the country is what the locals call kí¦stur hákarl, or rotten shark meat.

Just as its name suggests, this dish tastes like rotten meat. It also smells like cleaning products.

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What's stranger is that this is the country's national food, and many locals take a lot of pride in it.

However, most visitors to the country don't share in these sentiments.

When celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain had a taste of this dish he said it was "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing."

rotten shark: iceland's favorite food is not for the faint of heart
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For the locals, this seemingly gross dish is a favorite. In fact, they have enjoyed it for more than a thousand years.

In that time, they have clearly gotten used to the meal's strange taste and smell.

The history of rotten shark meat began several centuries ago when Vikings moved to the island. The place had lots of 20-foot long Greenland sharks close by.

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The bad news is that these sharks are toxic, and to eat them, it took lots of work to make them safe for human consumption.

rotten shark: iceland's favorite food is not for the faint of heart

This process begins by burying the shark in sand and rocks. The purpose of this process is to draw out the poison present in the shark's skin.

After that, the meat has to be dried. From there, natives with the skill to tell when the meal is ready just by smelling it ship it to stores where people can buy the meat.

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Even though it might seem that only visitors cannot handle the taste of this meal, a lot of Icelanders can't either. However, most people encourage visitors to give the gross meal a try.

At the moment, you can't get your hands on rotten shark meat in the US. It's entirely possible many people don't consider that an injustice.

While the shark meat is left to rot to get rid of the poison in the meat, eating rotten food can also cause another form of food poisoning.

So, for now, you are better off waiting until you get to Iceland to dig your teeth into this weird and gross local delicacy. Be warned though: hákarl is not for the weak of heart, it takes guts to swallow a mouthful of rotten shark meat with unbearable odor.