Follow my blog with Bloglovin Rita Wanderlust: Ammonia is NOT For Eating

Friday, July 22, 2016

Ammonia is NOT For Eating

Black Sand

“Oh god, I think I’m going to throw up!” He says while gripping onto my bicep.

Reykjavik, Iceland
The most amazing church:Hallgrimskirkja
Iceland has a weekly flea market at a crowded, old warehouse where vendors sell everything from freeze dried fish to old books. Although, I decided to forego attempting something as questionable as fermented shark, which is the Icelandic delicacy, when presented to me at the market, I could hardly pass up the opportunity to be able to say that I had eaten shark in Iceland. Half an hour later, I regret this as the acrid taste of ammonia is nestled in my cheek and I am chugging down drinks as though I had just come out of a desert. Normally, it is served with a signature liquor called Brennivin, or more commonly referred to as “black death.” Fermented shark and black death is not an entirely appetizing sounding combination in my humble opinion so I was content to just try the piece of shark on its own. The vendor is holding a silver, doily-lined tray with a few very small pieces of off-white, almost gray, shark meat with toothpicks sticking out of them. In her Icelandic accent, she asks if we want to try some shark. My friend and I exchange a quick look and before I know what I’m doing, I am reaching for a piece of this notorious food. Since smell is such a huge factor in the flavor of food, I bypass taking a whiff of the meat and just pop the tiny portion in my mouth.  I chew the shark, which is an odd combination of chewy and squishy, as my friend looks on nervously, swallow, and proclaim “that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be!” This must be the encouragement that my friend is waiting for to take the plunge, but as soon as I saw him smell the shark, I knew this wouldn’t end well.

GlacierUnlike the opinion of numerous people, the bit of shark was not the most disgusting food I encountered in Iceland, but it was the one that lingered the longest. My travel companion disagreed as he gripped my arm, clearly taken aback by the overpowering taste. He was not as culinarily adventurous as I was so the fact that he attempted the shark, was shocking. Even though he did spit it out into a nearby trash can while the stall attendant laughed behind the counter. Just another tourist who couldn’t handle his hákarl. In his defense, it is one of the foulest things I’d ever eaten as well. Oddly enough, I manage to keep it down and I am proud to be able to say that I’ve eaten fermented shark and lived to tell the tale, however, I would more than likely never do it again.  Unless, of course, it was to try the black death, which I wouldn’t dream of doing without the standard accompaniment of the foul seafood.

Blue Lagoon