Putrefied shark meat. Sheep heads and testicles. Some of Iceland's traditional delicacies might challenge a few palates, but if you're looking for a little edible adventure, eating like a Viking just might be the way to go.
Long before the days of 24-hour diners and fast-food chains, the people of Iceland couldn't just run to the convenience store or make a 3 a.m. pit stop at Taco Bell.
Food options were limited in the long, cold winter, so they were eating very old food and trying to stretch it as far as they could through curing and drying. This led to some very...interesting items on the menu.
There's one fruit that everyone associates with New Zealand, and that's the kiwifruit - that green-meated, furry-skinned fruit that makes up half of the strawberry-kiwi dynamic duo.
Also known as the Chinese Gooseberry, they originally were grown in China but are now possibly New Zealand's best-known export, other than, say, Crowded House and Flight of the Conchords. It's named after the kiwi, the country's symbolic flightless bird.
iReporter Tab Hauser of Flower Hill, New York, was delighted that upon arriving in New Zealand in July 2010 for a visit with his family, he could find not only the standard green variety that we get in grocery stores, but also a golden yellow kiwifruit that was "a little juicier," as he described it.
Neal Piper picks up a big spoonful of a white, pasty substance and places it to his lips. He swallows it confidently, and smiles as he announces the taste is "not bad."
But the subtitle on the video explains what he was actually thinking: "This stuff tasted horrible." The whitish substance is actually a porridge of cooked soft maize mixed with milk that's been left to sour for a few days.
"My only comparison is sour chunky milk," Piper said.
Carefully sliced meats are tenderized and cooked over flames. Simmering vegetables intermingle in appetizing combinations as they prepare to accompany comforting foods like steak and potatoes. Pastries form eye-catching designs, as if they were placed there to serve as centerpieces.
Photographer and iReporter Sean Blake's account of his visit to The Butcher Shop & Grill is told through still images, plus a bit of glowing praise.
"I would like to unofficially change the name of this place to 'The Immaculate, Super Fresh, Awesome, Never Go Home Hungry, Definitely Will Go Back, Butcher Shop & Grill,'" he writes.