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4 Icelandic Delicacies You Must Try
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May 4, 2019
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Jessica Scott
Jessica A. Scott has been a novelist and freelance writer for over 10 years. She loves travel and divides her time between her original hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, and Saronno, Italy.
europe

If you are a foodie, you are going to want to try every food you can in the countries you travel to. While Iceland isn't always associated with delicious dishes like some of the other countries in Europe, it has a lot of interesting and surprisingly good food to offer. Here is a list of four Icelandic delicacies you must try - even if some of them sound a bit strange!

Hakarl

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Hakarl is the national dish of Iceland, which means that you have to try it. So just what exactly is Hakarl, then? Brace yourself for two words that don't sound like they should go together: fermented shark. This dish is a difficult one to get down, especially for tourists, but when it is made well, it is quite a delicacy. This dish goes back hundreds of years, to a time when Icelanders didn't have much else to eat. So, they caught a huge shark. The problem was, shark skin is toxic to people, so they buried the shark's body in the sand, where it fermented in the fluids from its own body and became safe to ingest. Then it was cut into strips and hung up to dry for three to four months. When its smell has just the right hint of rancidity, it is ready to eat.

Plokkfiskur

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If the fermented shark scared you away from Icelandic seafood, this fish stew will bring you back. Plokkfiskur is one of the most tourist-friendly dishes in Iceland, because it is much simpler (and less full of toxic shark skin) than other foods you might come across. Made with boiled haddock or cod and potatoes that have been either boiled, mashed, or scrambled, this dish was once a clever way to reuse leftovers. Nowadays, though, it is somewhat of a delicacy, with every house and restaurant having their own unique way of making it.

Kjötsupa

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If you prefer meat to fish, Kjötsupa is the dish for you. This traditional lamb stew is made with vegetables like rutabagas, carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage, and it is a staple of Iceland's winter menu. Typically made with the tougher bits of lamb that might not get used otherwise, this stew was once a way to stretch supplies when food was scarce. Now, it is just a delicious, thick, hearty soup that can warm even the iciest of hearts in Iceland.

Skyr

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No matter what you think about the other items on this list, this last dish is one that can pretty much please anyone. Skyr has been described as a "marriage between yogurt and cottage cheese." What makes it interesting is that it has been eaten in Iceland for more than a thousand years. You can be a part of this long history by eating this dairy product - made with pasteurized skim milk and a live bacteria culture - with cream, sugar, and/or berries, but locals usually like to eat it as-is.