December 24th, 2012
01:30 PM ET
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In Iceland, Christmas is observed the evening of December 24. The day before that, there is a pre-Christmas tradition that some daring folks observe: Eating rotten fish.

One day a year, folks get together and eat putrid skate, accompanied by bread, potatoes and little else.

Throughout the country, wives, husbands and even entire apartment buildings forbid the practice. Few restaurants cook it.

“They say that if you cook it in a house, then you will have to paint the house afterward - or move to another house to get rid of the smell,” said iReporter Halldor Sigurdsson.

This is not the only off-beat culinary tradition in Iceland. Sigurdsson previously reported on the country’s midwinter feasting festival of Thorrablot, when Icelanders eat traditional Viking foods like sheep testicles and putrefied shark.

Sigurdsson is the only one in his house who appreciates the fetid fish ritual.

“The wife got a veto vote and, on this, she used it and said, 'No!' That is why I go like a refugee to the garage in a small town just north of Reykjavik to get my rotten fish.”

The owners of an automotive garage, in the town called Mosfellsbaer, cook the rancid fish - and every willing body is welcome.

“Many do not come - and will not, cannot and will never be - close to this fish,” Sigurdsson said.

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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Bite • Buzz • Christmas • Holidays • iReport • Think • Travel • Video


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  3. Berk Demirbulaki

    I can eat this no problem. I'm used to stinky tuna.

    January 9, 2013 at 10:32 am |
  4. Gunnar

    Bob King: goats are very uncommon here and seldom eaten, I've never heard of anyone roasting their heads, I suspect what you had was "svið" which is a roasted sheep's head and is quite common during certain times of the year. You can even get the heads as a take-away at a drive-through :D

    December 26, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  5. Lee Radtke

    Okay, Icelanders must never take over the world.

    December 25, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  6. Jimmy Haddon

    It's a common delicacy here in South Korea.

    December 25, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  7. Bob King

    When I was stationed there I was invited to a thanksgiving dinner we had roasted goat's head, and since I was the guest of honor I got the eyeballs ...

    December 25, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  8. Truth™

    Thanks, but I had an apple on the train...

    December 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
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