Anthony Bourdain Was Correct!

“This is probably the single worst thing I have ever put in my mouth.”
Anthony Bourdain, on Iceland’s national dish, hákarl

With an endorsement like that how could I say no to an innocuous looking bit of ‘rotten Greenland shark’ while in Iceland? My host, Chef Tyffi Tyffasson, stopped me as I lifted the sugar cube-sized bite toward my mouth, saying “Wait, you must have some Black Death to go with it!” Well, okay then.

So he poured a shot of Brenivin aka Black Death, a caraway liqueur reminiscent of Aquavit, as I popped the shark into my mouth. Hmm…chewy but so far ok. Then suddenly my eyes widened as the putridness flooded my mouth. Reflexively, I downed the Brenivin which it did its job washing away all nasty traces of the hákarl.

Hakarl 2

All over Iceland, in fine restaurants and at simple hot dog stands, the food was surprisingly good for a volcanic island with a very small agricultural industry. The hákarl was a bit of a shock as several other Icelandic oddities such lamb dung-smoked trout and herring several ways turned out to be utterly delicious.

About those hot dogs – who knew Reykjavik was known for its hot dogs? Made with lamb versus questionable scraps and topped with a melange of items including raw and cooked onions, remoulade, ketchup and mustard, the street snack is really tasty. Apparently the hot dog vendors do a land-office business late at night after the bars close.

icelandic_hotdog

 

The foods of Iceland were the bonus of the trip. It was the landscape and the sky that enchanted me. Clouds, rainbows, waterfalls, geysers and mineral-rich lagoons combined to make this vacation one of the best I’ve ever had. I love experiencing new places, new foods and meeting new people. Iceland had it all and I very much want to return!

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2017-02-27T20:07:00+00:00