Tell me about eating whale
July 20, 2004 11:00 AM   Subscribe

With all of the hullaballoo regarding the International Whaling Commission's meetings in Italy, it got me wondering, for those that do eat whale, how is it prepared? And, more importantly, what does it taste like? (Please avoid the political discussion, as I've really no desire to stab or eat a whale and I've been reading quite a bit about the controversial aspect already, thank you).
posted by Ufez Jones to Food & Drink (14 answers total)
When I ate whale (Beluga), it was served raw with A-1 sauce. As a result, it mostly tasted like A-1 sauce. Beyond that, it was the blubber of the whale, muktuk if I recall my Inuit, and tasted about like you'd expect fat and skin to taste like. I was a bit underwhelmed.

I also ate, or rather chewed, some of the dorsal fin. That tastes like cartilige. Flavorless and tough.

The preparation was pretty simple. The whales were kept underground in a cellar dug in the permafrost for that purpose. The skin and blubber were sliced off and diced and served raw.

I assume the balance of the whale was eaten at some point, but I was not in attendence for that.
posted by stet at 11:19 AM on July 20, 2004

I saw whale blubber sushi on a menu when I was in Iceland, but didn't try it.
posted by drobot at 12:24 PM on July 20, 2004

and tasted about like you'd expect fat and skin to taste like

You mean, awesome?
posted by kenko at 2:02 PM on July 20, 2004

I'm very ashamed to admit this, but I actually participated in a whale meat commercial once. I was young and needed the money! Actually, I was young, about 7, and I had no idea about any of the moral and political issues. It was also in Norway, where they still eat whale (though much less than they used to). Anyway, I have no idea how they prepared it, but I remember it being absolutely yummy. It almost tasted like chocolate steak, if you can imagine that.

Hmmm - I wonder what I was actually eating?...
posted by widdershins at 2:11 PM on July 20, 2004

I tasted the whale sushi in Iceland at Humarhúsið (the Lobster House), and it was just OK. It was fatty, but not as rich as Toro.
posted by sixpack at 2:38 PM on July 20, 2004

And of course, detailed descriptions on whales and the flesh thereof can be found here and here.
posted by Gortuk at 3:24 PM on July 20, 2004

and tasted about like you'd expect fat and skin to taste like

You mean, awesome?

No, like raw fat and skin so there wasn't any of the fried goodness and salty deliciousness that one expects of fat and skin. More bland and smooth. Sort of like a very firm, fishy flan.

(Metafilter: Sort of like a firm, fishy flan.)
posted by stet at 3:54 PM on July 20, 2004

There was a story in the Granta Food issue years & years ago in which the narrator described his eating whale (and puffin). It was a really good story. Can't remember the details but if you can track it down it's a good (and short) read.
posted by kenko at 6:55 PM on July 20, 2004

Now puffin is just nasty. It's like eating cottontail that's been soaked in fish oil. Gamey and fishy.
posted by stet at 7:06 PM on July 20, 2004

There is an interesting piece in Slate that talks about the author's experience with eating whale. Worth a read.
posted by phyrewerx at 11:26 PM on July 20, 2004

Inuit usually eat whale skin and blubber (called muktuk) either raw, boiled or dried. They get it frozen in pieces that are no larger than the size of 8 1/2" x 11" paper, cut up fresh from the whale. You take it out of the freezer and let it thaw on the table for half an hour and then cut it into smaller pieces, usually no bigger than 1" x 1". To make it easier to chew through the cartilage, you'd take your ulu, a crescent-shaped knife, to cut a grid pattern through the blubber into the cartilage but not down to the skin. The cartilage is very tough, the skin is chewy and the smell stays on your hands despite multiple washings. Some Inuit like to dip it into soya sauce or seal oil. You can also eat it boiled which softens the cartilage and tones downs the smell. I've eaten beluga, narwhal and bowhead and my favourite is raw narwhal dipped in soya sauce.
posted by KathyK at 6:01 AM on July 21, 2004

Oh yeah, I had raw whale meat in a restaurant in Norway and it was not very tasty - dark, smelly and thick. I didn't like it and it made my stomach queasy.
posted by KathyK at 6:05 AM on July 21, 2004

For the high-brow opinion, there is an episode of the MTV show Wild Boyz in which Chris and Steve-o sample Alaskan delicacies, I think it was pieces of whale and walrus.
posted by milovoo at 8:00 AM on July 21, 2004

There's a section in Moby-Dick called "The Whale as a Dish", which contains the sum of my knowledge about eating whale. Actually, Moby-Dick is the main reason I know anything about whales.
posted by dagnyscott at 11:49 AM on July 21, 2004

« Older Why are local gas prices so similar?   |   Advice on hotel room reservations. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.