P roblems getting people to leave after your party? Try opening a bag of dried Icelandic fish and you´ll be alone before you can say aloha.
Well, that is pretty much what you will be told by friends visiting Iceland and trying this weird looking stuff locals call harðfisk. It literally means hard fish and there is good reason for you to try it
First off, if you do like it, and there is actually 50/50 chance you will, you will snack on dried fish for the rest of your trip and dream of dried fish long after you´ve gone. This we guarantee.
Secondly, yes the smell is noyt very nice and will likely never be tapped on Chanel bottles. But how often have you been surprised by that taste of things that did not look or smell good? If you have traveled much you know how things taste and how things look and smell are two different things.
Thirdly, there are different flavors available and even the difference between same brand can be substantial.
And last but not least; dried fish is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids considered by many as vital for the human body. Indeed, you won´t find many „fancy” and expensive lifestyle products anywhere without maxing your credit card the next six months to buy a bag.
There are mostly two types of fish used to make dried fish. The most popular is haddock with its delicate flavor and catfish is also pretty popular. The catfish taste is much stronger and ditto: so is the smell.
But why the hell, you may well ask, do Icelanders actually take the trouble of drying perfectly good fresh fish for months on end, then hammer it to smithereens and much later eat it like candy. Icelanders even get offered dry fish at very special occasions like the locally famed Þorrablót pagan festival.
It has to do with tradition. Long time ago when there was no way to keep and save the catch the fishermen brought home there was but one way to preserve the catch; hang it up to dry for months on end and maybe, just maybe, you had something to eat in the deepest wintertime.
Making good dryfish is not at all easy. Dry it too long and it looses all taste. Dry it too little and oil and water will make it absolutely disgusting. And the job is not done after drying either. By then the fish is hard as rock and now one has to hammer it to smithereens until the meat gets soft and mellow. This is really hard work.
But that hard work is worth it many months later when you grab a piece, dip it into some fat butter and violá! Rightly done dryfish will literally melt in your mouth and fill your stomach with abundance of necessary stuff. Or is there any other product out there with absolutely no additives and 98% protein?
Dryfish is sold in most supermarkets and convenience stores in the country. It is, not surprisingly, very expensive . A typical bag will set you back around 12$ / 10€ at the minimum. Take note that dried fish is also sold in pieces. This is known as bitafiskur, literally piecefish, and is often less tasty and less smelly than the fillet type. But this type is even more expensive.
» We could help out if you´re interested in trying or have become hooked on the taste. Send us a message totaliceland[@]totaliceland.com and we´ll see if we cannot ship some bags your way.
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