2 minute read

We Icelanders are not what you would call “picky eaters” and we have some of the weirdest foods. From rotten shark to sheep testicles here are the top 3 weird things Icelanders eat.

Svið – Sheepshead (probably one of THE weirdest foods)

Svið - Icelandic roast sheepheads
Image: The Reykjavík Grapevine

If you come and visit Iceland, you’ll most definitely notice that we have lots and lots of sheep (about two per person). And Icelanders don´t like to be called wasteful. Therefore we want to eat as much as we can of the sheep, head included. Many Icelanders think of svið as a delicacy. The head is usually served halved, with tongue, cheek, and eyes. Many families fight over who gets to eat the eyes. Although it looks quite intimidating to eat you should definitely try some svið when you come to visit Iceland.

Blóðmör – Blood Haggis

Blóðmör - Icelandic blood haggis
Blóðmör on the left (Image: Iceland Mag)

We really weren’t kidding when we said the whole sheep is used in Icelandic dining. This is how the weirdest foods are born. Blóðmör consists of the liver, heart, kidneys, fat and of course the blood of a lamb all wrapped up in a part of the lamb’s stomach. People eat blóðmör with rutabaga mash or hot rice pudding. It’s somewhat similar to the Scottish haggis, but we like to think of it as our own.

Hákarl – Fermented Shark

fermented shark from Iceland
Looks innocent, but it smells

The number one thing you’ll hear about Icelandic food is how awful the fermented shark tastes. Icelanders take fresh shark and cover it with gravel and sand. There it sits fermenting for 6-12 weeks. People hang up the shark for a few weeks after. When you get it on a plate, it smells so strongly of ammonia that many first tasters gag when trying it. We recommend pinching your nose when you try it to minimize the ammonia smell and therefore get a better taste. It has become a fun challenge amongst many tourists to try hákarl and the faces you make when first tasting it is really something you can laugh at with your friends. Shoutout to the Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum in Snæfellsnes!

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