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If Halibut Can Have Cheeks, Cod Can Have Tongues

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

When I researched uniquely Newfoundland food, I learned about cod tongues. They are typically served battered and fried, and topped with pork scrunchions. Today I was in in St. John’s Newfoundland, so I sought out a restaurant that served them. (Image is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. Photo by August Linnman from Stockholm, Sweden.)

At first I was put off at the thought of eating cod tongues. Eating any tongue never seemed right to me. My tongue eating another tongue? There should be some sort of interspecies tongue camaraderie that would prevent that. After a bit of research, I found out that cod tongues are not actually tongues. According to Atlas Obscura:

Though this slightly rubbery snack looks like it might belong in the mouth of a monstrous cod, each “tongue” is actually a small muscle extracted from the back of the fish’s neck.

The plate of fried “tongues” that arrived in front of me looked like a pile of small bits of fried fish, each about an inch or two in length. They had the taste of cod, but were chewy. I enjoyed them with tartar sauce. The scrunchions were tiny cubes of salty, fried, pork fat, each cube about one-quarter inch per side. These were too salty for my taste, but easy to set aside.

Cod tongues aren't the only Newfoundland delicacy. Lobster is another. In the beverage realm, the Bloody Caesar claims to be Canadian. It's a Bloody Mary made with spicy Clamato. Newfoundlanders are also fond of rum, and there is quite a story behind that. Perhaps for another day!

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