by Aimee Heckel for USA TODAY 10Best

Black Death and rotten shark? Try these 10 unique foods in Iceland

The best way to get a taste of Iceland? Trying these only-in-Iceland flavors – from “Geysir bread” baked underground by hot springs, to a potato liquor with an ominous name, to fermented shark.

Brown Geysir bread (rúgbrauð)

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Locals call it "bread in a bucket" because the dough is placed in buckets, buried underground and heat from the nearby hot springs does the rest. This bread is chewy and dense, best served with a monstrous slab of butter.

Icelandic hot dog (Pylsa or Pulsa)

In Iceland, sausage is a mixture of pork, lamb and beef, smothered with raw white onions, fried onions, a sugary brown mustard (pylsusinnep) and remuladi sauce, made with capers, herbs, mustard and mayo.

Fermented shark

Think you can stomach a bite of fermented shark? It's cured and dried for months. Tip: Don’t smell it.

Smoked trout

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Try the trout smoked for 10 months. As the story goes, they forgot fish in the smokehouse, but when they recovered it, they found it was extra flavorful. Now, they consider it a delicacy.

Black Death (Brennivín)

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Black Death is schnapps made out of fermented potato mash, flavored with caraway. This alcohol is only made in Iceland and only in one distillery. It’s traditional to drink your Brennivín neat and frozen.

Tomato soup

Iceland has perfected greenhouses, thanks to ample water for irrigation and inexpensive power, so it’s easy to find fresh, local produce grown year-round. The tomato soup is amazing.

Glacier water

Forget bottled water. The water’s so pure in Iceland that you can drink it straight out of the river, or hold up your water bottle under a waterfall and fill ’er up.

Pure whey

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Sample a fresh, concentrated shot of whey. Forget processed protein powders that fitness folks swear by. Icelanders drink it pure. They claim it’s good for kidney stones and an excellent thirst-quencher, not to mention high in protein.

Icelandic donuts (kleinur/kleina)

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Traditional Icelandic donuts are small, plain, twisted and fried, typically glaze-free and flavored with lemon zest and cardamom, sometimes nutmeg. They’re crunchy on the outside, soft inside.

Cod liver oil

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Start the day like a Viking with a shot of cod liver oil. It’ll leave a fishy taste with you for the rest of the day, but it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins A, D and E.

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