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Kiviak facts for kids

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Kiviak
Alternative names Kiviaq
Region or state Greenland
Main ingredients Little auk

Kiviak or kiviaq is a traditional wintertime Inuit food from Greenland that is made of little auks (Alle alle) fermented in a seal skin.

Up to 500 whole auks are packed into the seal skin, beaks and feathers included. As much air as possible is removed from the seal skin before it is sewn up and sealed with seal fat, which repels flies. It is then hidden in a heap of stones, with a large rock placed on top to keep the air out. Over the course of three months, the birds ferment, and are then eaten during the arctic winter, particularly on birthdays and weddings.

The process was featured in the third episode of BBC's Human Planet in 2011.

In August 2013 several people died in Siorapaluk from eating kiviak that was made from eider rather than auk. Eider does not ferment as well as auk, and gave those who ate it botulism.

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