The Blue Lagoon may conjure images of water massages and white mud faces, but it was here where I first tasted whale.
My mission was to try three Icelandic meats: shark, horse, and whale. We went to a restaurant in Reykjavik and I asked for the shark meat. The waitress gave me a look, as if questioning my sanity. A few moments later, she brought out Hákarl.
"It's disgusting," she warned me.
I took the small block of fermented shark and quickly put it in my mouth. I bit down once. Suddenly, a feeling of nausea overcame me. I wanted to immediately regurgitate it. My mother-in-law saw the look in my face.
"Just take it out," she said.
I shook my head in defiance. I was here to try a new dish and, by golly, I would. I bit down again. The second bite was worse than the first. My body was rejecting this morsel, which made sense. There has to be a defense mechanism against taking in ammonia. Needless to say, my shark meat wasn't swallowed and the tasting was a flop.
The horse meat went much better. A local in Akureyri invited us to his home and he made horse stew. While the taste of the horse was a little gamy, the seasonings in the stew made the meal delicious.
We come now to my final tasting. After a rejuvenating day in the Blue Lagoon, we went to its restaurant, called Lava. Whale sashimi caught my attention on the menu and I ordered it. It was really fresh because the taste was neutral. With some ginger, wasabi, and wine, it went down well, unlike the shark.