Ask the guy who just ate some hakarl

I just ate two chunks of hakarl and survived. Ask away if you’re interested in this mundane feat.

Is the name onomatopoeic?

Does it really taste as if it was marinated in ammonia?
Or worse?

Ammonia-ey? Have trouble getting it down? Were you drinking?

Why did you eat it?
What does it taste like (details, we need details!)?
Would you eat it again?
What beverage(s) would you recommend to go with hakarl?

Colophon, yes, I was prepared to hakarl a.k.a. hurl.

CalMeacham, no, I didn’t taste any ammonia. It was FAR worse.

Pravnik, yes, I had some trouble getting it down, and no, I wasn’t drinking.


I ate it because I want to be able to say I have eaten hakarl and I wanted to know if it really is the worst food in the world. Also, I wanted to prove to myself and all the witnesses I’m a badass.

Hakarl tastes like rotten shark (huh). There’s nothing I can compare it to, foods-wise. It has a powerful stench that someone who has sniffed a bloated carcass in the summer heat will know. The smell is so bad and penetrative that it passes through tied-up plastic bags and makes normal people flee in disgust (no hyperbole here). Putting the stuff in your mouth takes some mental wrestling, as your brain is telling you you will die if you do it. The texture of hakarl resembles a raw snail, but it’s a bit gritty. The aftertaste is really horrendous, like someone just shat in your mouth after a week-long bender. Scavengers have it rough.

I will never, ever eat hakarl again, unless someone pays me handsomely to do it. It truly is the worst thing I have ever put in my mouth. I did have slight stomach pains a couple of hours after eating it and felt the need to brush and floss thoroughly, throw the brush and the floss away, and eat some ice cream. I still felt a bit violated. But hey, now I can say I’ve eaten hakarl!

I don’t know what beverages would go with hakarl, but I guess a big shot of moonshine is on order here. To me, eating the stuff with alcohol would’ve been cheating.

Your story reminds me of the time that I ordered and ate stinky tofu at a Shanghaiese restaurant. It wasn’t my tastebuds that were in revolt, it didn’t really taste bad at all, but my brain was horrified and just couldn’t take it.

How does it compare to surströmming?

Also, where can I purchase this, as I’ve always wanted to try some…


Haven’t had any surströmming, so can’t tell. Also, no idea how one gets hakarl short of a trip to Iceland. A friend of mine bought some there and brought it here. I’d guess someone in Iceland sells it online.

How much did this crime against nature cost you?

Waiting for Shark Sandwich to weigh in on this thread from the other side.

This only explains why you ate the first chunk.

I think the recommended beverage pairing for hakarl is Sterno.

What’s next? Balut? Huitlacoche? Casu marzu?

Only if his name is Steve.

Sorry, no experience with hakarl. I’ve had lutefisk in Minnesota, but I draw the line at eating fish that’s been described as having a strong taste of urine, and the consistency of cheese. I saw the episode where Zimmern ate it, and by his description alone I think I threw up in my mouth a little.

Judging by this post, I’m guessing if you had hakarl between two slices of bread ‘shark’ isn’t the s-word you’d be going for when you described the sandwich.

Did you just say you had a ‘Hot Carl’?

Never heard of hakarl til your post. Not surprising, as I’m not Icelandic. And reading the rest of the traditional dishes in the Eorramatur (sp?) doesn’t exactly appeal either. Go you, for eating it.

For god’s sake, why?

Every time I run across a reference to it, I spend about two weeks actively searching for it on the internet. Then I get bored and move on to other things. If I ever go to Iceland, I’m trying it.