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Out of the cold

By Mike Peters ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-09-11 08:05:10

Out of the cold

Whale and scallops is among signature dishes at Sarfalik restaurant in Greenland's capital, Nuuk. Photos provided to China Daily

Summer brings the Arctic to life, nowhere more so than in home and restaurant kitchens. Mike Peters hops off a cruise ship touring Greenland to sample the local bounty.

I must have been a polar bear in a previous life. I have been eating seal and whale for three days in a row.

That's just one amazing aspect of a trip to Greenland, where the population is small and indigenous, and the land is huge and largely inhospitable. Locals have hunted and eaten seal and whale for centuries. Seal fur is used to make warm clothing and shelter, though environmental groups often criticize the trade in hides abroad.

"Seal meat is the most delicious in world," says Salik, who guided our group from a Silversea cruise ship to see the sights of the capital, Nuuk. He insists that seal is hunted in a sustainable way for meat, noting that there are 3 million seals in Greenland and only about 200,000 are consumed annually.

So many Greenlanders say this, in fact, that I set aside my scruples and tried it. We stopped by a community center, where we were also offered fresh-caught shrimp - delectably like we'd find in a top sushi restaurant - and air-dried whale, the black flesh chewy like a thick slice of beef jerky or fruit leather.

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