Muktuk[1] is the traditional Inuit/Eskimo and Chukchi meal of frozen whale skin and blubber.

A Bowhead Whale which is most often used in muktuk

Muktuk is most often made from the skin and blubber of the bowhead whale, although the beluga and the narwhal are also used. Usually eaten raw, it is today occasionally finely diced, breaded, deep fried, and served with soy sauce. It is also sometimes pickled.[2] When chewed raw, the blubber becomes oily, with a nutty taste; if not diced, or at least serrated, the skin is quite rubbery.

Elders sharing maktaaq, 2002
A group of people eating muktuk, 1997

Muktuk has been found to be a good source of vitamin C, the epidermis containing up to 38 mg per 100 grams (3.5 oz).[3][4] Blubber is also a source of vitamin D.[5] However, it has been claimed to contain PCBs, carcinogens that damage human nervous, immune and reproductive systems, that originate from industrial sources and are concentrated in the marine food web.[6][7]


In some dialects, such as Inuinnaqtun, the word muktuk refers only to the edible parts of the whale's skin and not to the blubber.[11][15]

See also


  1. ^ "muktuk". Asuilaak Living Dictionary. 
  2. ^ "10 Weirdest Foods in the World". News.travel.aol.com. 9 September 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2013. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Geraci, Joseph R. & Smith, Thomas G. (1979). "Vitamin C in the Diet of Inuit Hunters From Holman, Northwest Territories" (PDF). Arctic. 32 (2): 135–139. doi:10.14430/arctic2611. JSTOR 40508955. 
  4. ^ Fediuk, K.; Hidiroglou, N.; Madère, R.; Kuhnlein, H. V. (2002). "Vitamin C in Inuit Traditional Food and Women's Diets". Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 15 (3): 221. doi:10.1006/jfca.2002.1053. 
  5. ^ Kuhnlein, H. V.; Barthet, V.; Farren, A.; Falahi, E.; Leggee, D.; Receveur, O.; Berti, P. (2006). "Vitamins A, D, and E in Canadian Arctic traditional food and adult diets". Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 19 (6–7): 495. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2005.02.007. 
  6. ^ "Chemical Compounds Found In Whale Blubber Are From Natural Sources, Not Industrial Contamination". 18 February 2005. 
  7. ^ "Japan warned on 'contaminated' blubber". BBC News. 24 January 2001. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "maktaaq". Asuilaak Living Dictionary. 
  9. ^ Uqaluktuat: 1980 Elders' Conference, Women's Session ISBN 1-881246-01-9
  10. ^ "maktak". Asuilaak Living Dictionary. 
  11. ^ a b Ohokak, G.; M. Kadlun; B. Harnum. Inuinnaqtun-English Dictionary (PDF). Kitikmeot Heritage Society. Retrieved 3 April 2016. 
  12. ^ "maktaq". Asuilaak Living Dictionary. 
  13. ^ "mattak". Asuilaak Living Dictionary. 
  14. ^ Jacobson, Steven A. (2012). Yup'ik Eskimo Dictionary, 2nd edition. Alaska Native Language Center.
  15. ^ "edible whale skin". Asuilaak Living Dictionary. 

External links