Icelandic Food: Fish Balls In A Tin - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Food: Fish Balls In A Tin

Icelandic Food: Fish Balls In A Tin

Valur Grettisson
Photos by
ora.is

Nobody goes through life without asking themselves some vital questions. Like, is there life after death? Is there life on other planets? What is the difference between RNA and DNA? And finally, are there any round fish in the ocean that we can catch, preserve in a tin, and sell as fish balls?

Surprisingly, there is a hot market for fish balls in Iceland. All kids born before 1985 remember these weird looking, sweet, but at the same time sour, snow-white fish balls, that have no resemblance whatsoever to fish. I am not really sure if this is fish or just wheatballs canned in cod liver oil with sour and sweet sauce. And to be honest, it wouldn’t even surprise me that Icelanders would bathe some food in fish oil.

Fish balls were the core of food resources—in the 80s at least—and are probably part of why the Icelandic national football team is so defiant. Imagine the fight that parents had to wage against their children, trying to convince them to eat this honest, hard-working food? You don’t need to be Hannes Þór Halldórsson to block that fish ball. Even if Messi was trying to force feed you.


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