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3 Hardcore Icelandic Food Tourists Must Try

Travelers Today       By    TravelersToday Staff Reporter

Updated: Dec 18, 2013 02:21 PM EST

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Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock Iceland every year. Considering how magical this ethereal country is, it's no wonder it's one of the top places adventurous travelers go to.

Between the weekend pub crawl and the hot springs, another experience guest should indulge in while in Iceland is their traditional food.

While the locals may be crazy over sub standard hot dogs being sold in the country's most popular restaurant, they give very high regard and are very proud of their homegrown dishes.

Here are a few Traditional Icelandic foods tourists should sink their into while in town.

1. Svið

Svið, otherwise known as a sheep's head is a true delicacy on a plate. It's made of a sheep's head split open in half with the fur and brain removed. It's typically prepared by shedding off the sheep's hair first, sawing the head in half and cooked between 60-90 minutes, served with some mashed potato and mashed turnip.

The sheep's eye is what the locals consider the best part while they believe the ears shouldn't be eaten, as it is taboo for them.

The dish came about during the time when people couldn't afford to put any part of the sheep to waste. Now, svið is being served in different restaurants, one of which is the Fljótt og Got near the BSI bus terminal in Reykjavík.

2. Hákarl

Hákarl, which is also known as rotten Greenlandshark, is an acquired taste that even the world's strongest, most experienced palates have been challenged with. Famed chef and travel host Anthony Bourdain called it "the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" and restaurant tycoon Gordon Ramsey spitting it out.

Typically served in cubes or in toothpicks, hákarl could either be the chewy part of the shark's belly or the soft one found in the shark's body. Its smell is mainly associated with ammonia, which is why locals advise tourists to cover their nose the first time they put the meat into their mouths.

The process begins by covering the shark in sand for up to 12 weeks, chopped into pieces, hung and left to be dried for months. The drying process allows the removal of poisonous content from the shark when the meat is fresh. Only when it is rotten that it becomes edible.

3. Súrsaðir hrútspungar

Testicles are a delicacy the world over but heading over to try súrsaðir hrútspungar in Iceland is another story.

These ram testicles are weighed down to be formed into cubes, boiled and treated with lactic acid, which leave them tasting sour and spongy in texture. Others would opt to make it as a jam or a pate.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

Tags
iceland, delicacy, food, locals, tourists, icelandic food
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