Hakarl (or fermented Shark) –Try it in Iceland


Whilst most head to Iceland to visit the beautiful waterfalls, the Blue Lagoon and to see the Northern Lights, you might also like to sample some of their traditional foods. Hakarl is fermented shark; a dish created long ago by the Vikings. Once upon a time, they discovered that basking shark meat was poisonous to eat; and through laborious trialling, and to the loss of many a poisoned Viking, they found out that once the shark meat had been fermented (buried underground for months then hung in the air for a few months more) it was edible. The taste has been described as cheese slathered in Ammonia… yum!

I think I’d sooner try their more favoured Hot Spring Rye Bread. It’s made from a very dark rye loaf that’s cooked in special wooden casks, buried underground close to the hot springs. It’s said to be delicious served with hangikjot (a type of hung and smoked lamb).


Crocodile Paw – Try it in Singapore


When Singapore noodles don’t quite cut it, why not chomp on a good ol’ crocodile foot? Whilst slightly less popular than other parts of the croc, this delicacy is widely available in Hong Kong and Singapore. Its taste is said to be similar to the sea cucumber. What? You haven’t tried that either? Neither have we. We’ll give the Singaporeans the benefit of the doubt with this one. One source online even said that eating crocodile has health benefits – including boosting the libido! We’ll let you make your own minds up on this one.



Bird’s Nest Soup – Try it in Southeast Asia


Have you ever looked up into a tree, and thought: “I’d love to have a chomp on that nest up there?” No, neither have we, but the Chinese have been eating bird’s nests for over 400 years; and they believe it comes with a host of health benefits. The bird’s nests are the handy work of the swallow, and consist of solidified saliva which they use as a building tool – no twigs required here!


Each year during breeding season, these little birds choose their building grounds on the inside walls of caves, or on the faces of cliffs and make a nest using their super-sticky saliva. The nests take the form of little cups that stick to their building surface of choice. It’s said that harvesting this delicacy is fatal work, with many people dying every year from falls whilst collecting them. So what do they do with them? The most common way to use bird’s nests is adding it to a soup. The nests are broken down and dissolved in water, making a gelatinous liquid.  It’s very expensive, said to taste rubbery and probably not worth the money – if the reviews online are anything to go by!


Jellied Moose Nose – Try it in Alaska


What’s wrong with eating wild salmon and the famous Alaskan crab? Goodness ‘nose’ why you’d want to eat the snout of a moose. Curious about how you could make your own jellied moose nose? Check out the recipe below (not for the feint hearted!):


  • To prepare the moose head, cut the upper jaw bone just underneath the eyes
  • Boil for 45 minutes
  • Pluck out the hairs (this should be easier now the nose has been cooked)
  • Add vinegar, garlic and spices and boil again
  • Cool overnight in the garlicy nose-broth
  • Remove the cartilage and the fiddly bones and slice the ‘meat’
  • Add to a loaf pan, cover in the re-boiled broth
  • Let it set into a jelly
  • Slice and enjoy.




Sanguinaccio Dolce (a dessert made with pig blood) – Try it in Southern Italy


This (apparently delicious!) dessert is traditionally eaten the day before Ash Wednesday during carnival. It’s made from cream, chocolate, and (wait for it…) the warm blood of a freshly slaughtered pig. It’s a rich chocolate pudding that can be used as a dip for cookies or cake, or with fruit thrown into it. Its flavour is said to be sweet, salty, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. I think I’ll stick to Tiramisu please!



Gulas od Puha (or Dormouse goulash) – Try it in Croatia


You always wanted to know how to say ‘dormouse’ in Croatian, didn’t you? well it’s ‘Puha’; Easy huh?  But how about eating one? I don’t think I’ll ever look at a mouse in the same way. Eaten during the autumn when they’re at their fattest before hibernation, Croatian cities host festivals where locals and tourists alike go about catching, cooking and eating dormice. Once caught, they’re skinned, added to a stew and eaten with pasta, gnocchi or polenta… yummy! The eating of dormice dates right back to the ancient Romans when they’d devour them on their own as a snack. A couple of people have reported the dormouse being quite tasty… Fancy it?




What are you having for dinner tonight? Have you tried any of these yourself? Tell us in the comments below.