In every household and gathering, expect a bowl of suaasat served on the dinner table. This very nutritious soup is regarded as a traditional dish in Greenland.
Suaasat is made from ingredients commonly found in the Arctic wastelands. Seal, whale, caribou, and even bird meat form the base of the soup. Onions, potatoes, and carrots are added to the boiling pot, with bay leaf and salt for spices. The soup is often thickened with barley groat or rice grains, when available, for heavy filling.
Greenlanders have been hunting for whales since the beginning of time. The bones of this mammal are fashioned into tools, the meat becomes food, and the blubber is burned for fuel, especially during the cold dark nights when the sun refuses to shine.
Mattak is one such food that the Greenlanders make from whales.
Mattak is whale skin with strips of blubber attached to it. The upper rubbery layer is said to taste like hazelnut, and the white fat is almost gelatinous in texture. The corklike film between the skin and the fat is generally regarded as the most difficult part to bite through.
Mattak is a good source of vitamin C.
As tradition dictates, mattak should be eaten raw.
Dried Seal and Caribou
Seal and caribou have been the staple of the Inuit since they settled on the island some 4,500 years ago.
Caribou are hunted in the fall. The liver is eaten raw, usually shortly after the beast is killed. The meat is cut into long strips, hanged, and left to dry (and sometimes even freeze) in the cold wind.
Seal is always served during a feast, and it is cooked in every way imaginable: It is added to soup base. It is roasted in an open pit. It could also be sliced and dried, like caribou meat.
Char trout spawns in abundance across Greenland. They can be fished in near-frozen rivers, in icy lakes, and along the wild and untamed coast.
The fish is caught using either net or line. A seasoned fisherman could catch the fish with his bare hands.
Char can be cooked in many ways, such as by boiling, frying, cutting, and salting.
A popular method of char preparation is by smoking. In fact, several prominent Greenlander families have their own secret recipes and methods to making the perfectly smoked char fish.
Home-Brewed Greenlandic Beer
The Vikings had a long reputation of being beer drinkers, and they brought the habit to Greenland when they decided to settle on the island. However, beer sales had been heavily restricted before 1954. For a long time, Greenland didn’t have its own large-scale brewery.
Homebrewing, therefore, became popular in this land.
Greenlandic home-brewed beer has a dark amber color and hints of pine. The herb Ledum groenlandicum, which contains medicinal properties, is sometimes added.
What sets Greenland beer apart from other beers is the water used to brew it: this water comes from ice caps, it is said to be thousands of years old, and it is pollution-free.