Whether it’s caught by a local fisherman in a nearby bay and sold fresh at your neighborhood seafood market or it’s caught thousands of miles away in another ocean and is only consumable on another continent — near of far, seafood is one of the most universally enjoyed cuisines in the world.
Seafood connoisseurs are eager to travel the distance in order to taste the many exotic water species of the world, from fish to sea slugs and snails to seahorses, in Australia, Spain, Iceland, and beyond. Each delicacy has a unique preparation and pairing.
With two poisonous spines, the Australian flathead can be dangerous to catch and prepare. But eating the sweet fish is harmless. It’s great for battering and deep-frying and is ideal for fish ‘n chips. When whole, it can also be roasted or barbecued, and fillets can be poached, steamed, grilled, or eaten raw when fresh.
Espardenyes, sea slugs, found only on the Catalan Coast of Spain, taste better than they look. Considered a delicacy, they have an earthy flavor unlike any other, tasting somewhere between monkfish and scallops, and are very expensive. They’re commonly fried or prepared in tomato sauce.
Considered the national dish of Iceland as well as one of the world's deadliest delicacies, Hakarl translates to “fermented shark,” which is exactly what it is. Made with either Greenland shark or basking shark of the North Atlantic Ocean, the dish is foul-smelling with a very fishy and acquired taste. The shark is traditionally served in cubes on toothpicks and paired with brennivin, an Icelandic alcoholic drink.
These exotic dishes are worth trying, but some of them aren’t necessarily liked by everyone. Hakarl, for one, is generally un-liked by many of the world’s renowned chefs like Anthony Bourdain, who called the dish “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing" he had ever eaten. But don’t let that keep you from tasting this traditional Icelandic dish. Read on for more exotic seafood you have to travel to try.
Haley WIllard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @haleywillrd.
This article was originally published March 04, 2014.