Almost everything you eat in the Faroe Islands comes from the sea, except for lamb. Dry meat, sausages, and fresh fish are the main ingredients of the cuisine of the archipelago. Almost everything is dried, fermented or goes through a smoking process before it is consumed.
On the islands, vegetables are scarce, as are cattle, which is why the traditional cuisine consists of what nature gives it: meat from cetaceans and fish. Sheep are another of the main foods of the Faroese. In fact, lamb enjoys great popularity among locals.
Let's see what the typical dishes to eat in the Faroe Islands are which you can try during your visit.
The tradition of drying meat in the air is very popular among the inhabitants of the islands. In this case, lamb meat is used, which is subjected to a drying process of about a year. The result is a kind of raw sausage, very similar to Iberian ham in its form.
The meat is dried in the hjallur, a shed built for this purpose which allows the passage of wind to facilitate the drying of the meat. Before it becomes Skerpikjøt, the lamb goes through two other stages, visnaður and ræstur, which describe the speed of curing and fermentation and are important in determining its final taste. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity at any stage can alter the taste of the meat by stimulating or inhibiting the process.
Continuing with lamb meat, the second of the typical dishes to eat in the Faroe Islands is this recipe made with meat from organs. Large oval pieces are prepared and dried outdoors.
This local product is usually cut into slices, and fried in a pan with plenty of fat. With the resulting fat, a sauce is also made which is served on dried and fermented fish. As you can see, the food in the Faroe Islands is very caloric.
This other culinary specialty which you can eat in the Faroe Islands is native to Iceland. It is a sheep's head, which is cut in half and then the brains are extracted, dried and then boiled. It is usually served with simple mashed potatoes or turnips. It is a traditional dish of the Nordic countries; it also has its counterpart in Norway, but under another name.
In addition to these three typical dishes of the gastronomy of the Faroe Islands, along with lamb, sausages and black pudding are also prepared. In many restaurants you can try very tasty lamb soups.
Grind og Spik
We leave meat aside to focus on the products of the sea. In this case, the pilot whale, a cetacean which is very abundant in the waters of the islands, with whose meat this speciality which is typical of the region is prepared.
The Faroese traditionally consume meat from pilot whales and dolphins, something which may not be viewed particularly well in the rest of the world. Remember that the hunting of pilot whales has always caused a lot of controversy.
Other well-known seafood products in international cuisine are herring, cod and salmon. All of them are plentiful in the archipelago, so it's not surprising that this is one of the most popular things to eat in the Faroe Islands. There are also other species which are typical of the area such as halibut, plaice or haddock, although lesser-known species are also part of the gastronomy of the islands.
Generally, in the archipelago, as in many Nordic countries, the fish also dries and undergoes curing processes, to then be eaten raw. For this reason, they have a strong flavour so not everyone will like them.
Among the various varieties of seafood, lobsters and shrimp are the two which are most commonly used. You can try them in the seafood restaurants of the capital, where they range from the most modern and elaborate dishes to the simplest ones. The ways in which they are prepared to depend on the restaurant you go to, but you will usually find them in soups, or steamed.
To end this culinary journey through the typical dishes which you can eat in the Faroe Islands, it must be said that, with the progressive increase in tourism, the cuisine has modernized. So much so that the capital has a restaurant with a Michelin star. The famous KOKS restaurant uses exclusively local ingredients to create unique dishes.
To summarise, we could say that smoking, salting, fermentation, and drying are the main culinary techniques of the cuisine of these little-known islands.