NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 16: Gordon Ramsey attends the 26th Annual Webby Awards on May 16, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for The Webby Awards)
The Traditional Icelandic Dish Gordon Ramsay Couldn't Handle
By Brian Boone
Iceland's cuisine is unlike any other, as it's built around seafood and prepared in ways to help survive its harsh climate. The heavily textured and fermented shark-meat-based hákarl is an excellent example of a dish unique to Iceland that even food television host Gordon Ramsay couldn't swallow.
Hákarl is made from the meat of large sharks that can't be eaten fresh or prepared traditionally because it's poisonous; instead, the dish is prepared from a 1,000-year-old Viking process that cuts the meat into large chunks, places it under rocks, and buries it in dirt for many weeks before being hung to age. This removes the toxins but leaves an ammonia-type smell and aftertaste reminiscent of urine.
Gordon Ramsay came face-to-face with hákarl in a 2021 episode of his "Uncharted" series and was duty-bound to sample the infamously pungent dish. Unfortunately, the small piece of hákarl was only on his tongue for a second or so (and helped with a shot glass of an alcoholic spirit) before he immediately spat it out, proving that this cultural dish isn't for everyone.