Iceland’s putrid fish delicacy

Nature’s way of telling us not to eat something is to usually make it smell really bad. Sometimes, however, we simply ignore these warnings and eat it anyway.

If you’ve ever been to Thailand, you know what I’m talking about. The durian fruit is the most obnoxious smelling fruit on this planet. But it tastes oh, so good.

And then, of course, there’s putrefied skate – a fish related to shark.

This Icelandic delicacy, known as skata, apparently smells so bad that Icelandic apartment dwellers battle each other in search of the offending cook when the stink permeates their building.

This was one case when I listened to Mother Nature and stayed far away from this decomposing fish. However, had I read Strange-Smelling Delicacy (Iceland Review) before visiting Iceland, I might have ended up trying the nasty thing.

For example, the article points out that the fish isn’t necessarily decomposing, but rather it’s fermenting, like cheese. Hmm… that makes it sound a little better. In addition, Icelanders claim it cures all sorts of things from hangovers to seasickness.

The smell, however, is apparently unrelenting. The author shares an example of his brother getting mocked and turned down by the local girls because his clothes reeked of skata.

I never touched the stuff when I was in Iceland and I was turned down as well. So I guess I would have had nothing to lose if I smelled of fermented cheese during my time there.