Sunday, 26 August 2018

Polar Bear Steak

In a blog post last year, I questioned whether the meat of the polar bear was especially edible. Well, travel is educational and I got some kind of an answer on my recent visit to the Westfjords of Iceland. The very splendid Westfjords Heritage Museum in Ísafjörður had a small display about the shooting of a polar bear up at Hornvík in the far northwest of the region in June 1963 by some egg-hunters from Ísafjörður. It made the front page of the national newspaper and what struck me was the description of how the bear was eaten. According to the article, they cooked the meat and found it delicious, not unlike beef. They also ate the heart and gave the liver to guests. They managed to bring back 250 kg of meat which they sold at 30 kr./kg., along with the 3000 guillemot eggs they had collected during their week-long trip. So there you have it. Not sure I'd fancy polar bear myself, but apparently it is perfectly edible.


  1. I have known for many years that you can eat polar bear:) When my children were small I read aloud for them from a very charming little children's book from my husband's childhood in the sixties called "Den lille Eskimodreng" (The little Eskimo boy). It was a picture book with lovely illustrations by Leonard Weisgard, and the story was written by Peter Freuchen, Danish writer and polar explorer, who lived with Eskimoes for many years. It tells about the everyday life of a small boy and his parents and their preparations for the coming winter. They do not have enough food for the winter, so his father goes hunting when they have arrived at their winter settlement. He catches snow hares and other small animals, but luckily he stumbles upon and shoots a large fat polar bear which he brings home till their small community. Now they have enough food for the rest of the winter, and they can also invite all the neighbours for a large feast, where they eat lots of meat, sing songs and tell lots of stories. I think that the story may have been published first in English. It says on the last page that the book was published by arrangement with Simon and Schuster, New York.

    1. Thanks for this Kirsten. I guess I never doubted that it would be possible to eat polar bear, only that it might not be very nice... :)

  2. That's interesting--polar bear liver is (usually) quite toxic due to the massive amount of vitamin A that it contains.

  3. Yes, I remember reading that about toxic liver a long time ago. Always believed it.