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 Photo – Magnus Biilmann Trolle, Visit Nuuk

Oh yes, mattak! (pronounced ‘muktuk’).

What is mattak? Mattak is a traditional Greenlandic food and a delicacy that many locals enjoy on special occasions or just as a special treat. Derived from whale skin and blubber provided by subsistence hunters, mattak Greenland delicacy includes various types including beluga, narwhal, and finback whale.

Photo – Magnus Biilmann Trolle, Visit Nuuk

Photo – Magnus Biilmann Trolle, Visit Nuuk

It comes in different colors.

Mattak comes in different colors. For example, it can have a white color if it is from a beluga, a grayish-striped white color if it is from a narwhal, or it can have a black color if it is from a finback whale. Those who experience the taste of mattak describe it as having a satisfying initial bite as your teeth meet the outer texture, but it becomes chewy once your teeth connect with the lower skin layer. The blubber itself does not have much taste and feels greasy, similar to touching fat, while the skin has a slightly salty flavor, akin to salty meat with a hint of umami. Traditionally, mattak is served raw, freshly thawed from the freezer, and then cut into small sliced cubes, typically served with soy sauce. Some also pair mattak with a bright yellow salt spice called ‘Aromat.’ However, mattak can be served in various ways and has been incorporated into different household recipes, such as curries and soups.

Photo – Magnus Biilmann Trolle, Visit Nuuk

If you are interested in tasting mattak,

If you are interested in tasting mattak in Nuuk, you can find it in local supermarkets like Brugseni in the city center. Alternatively, if you get invited to a kaffemik, you may also get a chance to taste mattak. Another spot to explore Greenlandic cuisine mattak is at the local fish market, Kalaaliaraq. Here, fishermen may have mattak available, and if you are curious and ask nicely, they might just give you a taste. For those wondering where to eat Mattak in Nuuk, visiting Kalaaliaraq offers an authentic experience, as it’s a place where you can both purchase and taste Mattak directly from the providers.

A tip: For those keen on purchasing mattak, you can haggle at places like Kalaaliaraq to find an agreeable price, ensuring both parties are satisfied with the transaction. To explore Nuuk further and discover where these treats can be found, consider using a walking map of Nuuk to navigate the city efficiently.



Arctic studies student, Avalak community member