The Time I Was So Hungry, I Ate a Whale

Before I went to Iceland I had a pretty good idea that I was going to be eating some unusual things. Everyone knows about the “national dish” of fermented shark meat known as Hakarl that all tourists must suffer though. For some reason I was much more excited over things like reindeer and puffin. Eating whale in Iceland? I just plain didn’t see it coming.

Despite my positive attitude, my brother seems a bit skeptical over the idea of eating this raw piece of whale meat

Despite my positive attitude, my brother seems a bit skeptical over the idea of eating this raw piece of whale meat

Perlan is considered one of Reykjavik’s best restaurants and occupies a massive space perched high above the city. The entire restaurant fully rotates once every two hours and allows for sweeping panoramic views of the city from every table. When the menu came and we spotted Minke Whale Carpaccio as a starter, we knew immediately we had to try it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m an animal lover but as much as I love animals I’m also a big believer of “when in Rome“. If the Icelandic are eating whales then I’m sure it would be just fine for me to have a tiny little raw sliver of one. Right?

My friend taking a big bite of Minke whale and savoring the fishy flavor

My friend taking a big bite of Minke whale and savoring the fishy flavor

Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was pleased to later find out that the conservation status of Minke whales is “least concern”  and that Iceland only resumed whaling in 2006 after completing a three year study to determine if they could be hunted sustainability. I’m just kind of assuming the outcome of their study was “yes” but I don’t think anyone knows for sure.

This is what I kind of hoped eating whale would be like, not so much

This is kind of what I hoped eating whale would be like – not so much…

The Minke whale was served raw and paper thin with wasabi flan and sweet soya. It had a mild fishy taste, but overall wasn’t too bad! Do I regret trying whale? No way! Would I try it again…probably not. I’m not sure how else whale can be prepared but in retrospect, carpaccio was a pretty bold way to try it for the first time.

Minke whale carpaccio served with wasabi flan and sweet soya sauce at Perlan restaurant in Reykjavik

Minke whale carpaccio served with wasabi flan and sweet soya sauce at Perlan restaurant in Reykjavik

What do you think? Is it wrong to eat whale even if they aren’t endangered? Would you try it if given the opportunity? Let us know in the comments.

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