Zzalgern0n sent me pics from his adventures across the sea. He recently tried boiled sheep’s head (svið) with his new friends in Iceland. This is intense, especially since Zzalgern0n was a vegan before he left. Most of my vegan experience has been with him (Vinnie’s pizza, Red Bamboo, Pure Luck). His whole diet changed when he went off to shoot a documentary in Africa about isolated native tribes back in March. I know how picky he could be about food, so I’m sure having to eat meat was tough but expected.

Svið, sheep’s head is prepared by burning off the hair, splitting them in half and boiling them with salt. More on that recipe here.

me: so what was the occasion of eating heads?

zzalgern0n: No occasion it’s just normal food. you can get them at a bus stop in reykjavik too. It’s normal here like hamburger almost.

Yeah. That was a really intensely surreal experience. Ate two heads, which you slice open at the mouth, peel off the skin (or optional: eat it), sliver out cheek meat, skin the tongue, carve out the eye, shave around the ears. I tried all parts…, including the eye (which is apparently considered nasty by all but the most hardcore Icelanders — my friends would not eat it). The eye was really fatty like.

The food was decent, but the little girl of the house just stared in horror at the heads. She had to eat her meat in the other room.

A pretty worthwhile experience to really face what you’re eating, acknowledge that it was honestly alive in order to pay some respect.

All photos courtesy of Zzalgern0n. http://zzalgern0n.com/

About The Author

Jason Lam

Food blogger since 2008. Hair model since 2003.

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11 Responses

  1. Melinda

    Whoa. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Andrew Zimmerman take this on.

  2. Tio Wally

    But what was it served with? Creamed turnips? Or is that a puddle of skyr? It sure ain’t grits.

    OMG: Are there Svið og Skyr stands all over Iceland?? Am I too late to register “Frændi Wally’s Svið og Skyr”? If not, would you like to buy the first Frændi Wally’s Svið og Skyr® franchise in America? I’ll grant you exclusive rights to all of Williamsburg. Ah, what the hell … ALL of greater NYC!

    Just imagine, J, you’ll be carrying on a proud family tradition of restaurateuring while cornering the Svið og Skyr market in the Capitol of the World!

    I’ll bet you’re as excited about this unique culinary opportunity as I am. Email me for details.

      • Tio Wally

        Umm … You’re not going to send me a box full of Svið as a “prize”, are you?

  3. Hatch

    Sheez that’s intense. Esp all the heads together on one plate, it’s like a whole flock! 🙂

  4. Kim Jong Il

    I saw dish in a movie somewhere. People actually order this at a drive-thru like as if its McD. This is one thing I will have to pass on. This and head cheese. There are far too many good parts of the animal to eat. Balls notwithstanding.

    • Jason Lam
      Jason Lam

      I agree. Sometimes I want to get a lengua (tongue) taco because it’s weird and different, but I know the carnitas is so much better. Why not always just get the carnitas?


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