I’m sorry for the absence on my blog for the past week or two, but I have a very good excuse. I was on holiday. To make up for it I’ve written up a post on the item with probably my highest Fear Factor to date. I gave this one a nine, so obviously it can’t get much higher than that. The item is the famous, or rather infamous, fermented shark known as “hakarl” from Iceland that has put fears in the eyes of viewers of Anthony Bourdain shows worldwide. I believe he thought it was the worst thing he ever tasted. Yikes!
I’ve been writing about my experience in Iceland over the past few weeks, so you might have seen me mention a food tour of Reykjavik that I did. This particular company was the only one to include hakarl, so naturally I booked my tour with them. The shark was served as one small cube in a mini paper cup as that’s probably all anyone ever eats. The flesh was pure white and it actually didn’t smell that strong at all unless you put your nose right over it.
There were four of us there, my friend and I and a mother and teenage son from America, and we each reacted completely differently. My friend had hated it when she tried it before (she lives in Iceland), but this time found it slightly less revolting, the teenage son found it quite edible, the mom damn nearly puked and has a video that I can only assume must be floating around YouTube, and then there was me.
I took a deep breath, dug in, was surprised at the taste and texture, chewed, swallowed and was left thinking: “Was that it?” I seriously can’t see what all the fuss is about. It certainly didn’t taste rotten to me. It was even a little sweet. I would go as far as saying I actually enjoyed it. I guess the myth has been busted, at least as far as I’m concerned. Although later I did hear that there are different varieties with different strengths, but I’m choosing to ignore that and stick to my victory.
Fear Factor – 9 / Taste Test – 7