The chosen bun: Decade-old burger’s decay livestreamed in Iceland

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A burger with a side of fries protected in a glass case, belonging to Iceland's Hjortur Smarason, is on display in the Snotra House, a hostel in Thykkvibaer, southern Iceland, on October 31, 2019. (AFP)
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A burger with a side of fries protected in a glass case, belonging to Iceland's Hjortur Smarason, is on display in the Snotra House, a hostel in Thykkvibaer, southern Iceland, on October 31, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 31 October 2019

The chosen bun: Decade-old burger’s decay livestreamed in Iceland

  • “I had heard that McDonald’s never decomposed so I just wanted to see if it was true or not.”
  • The American chain closed its only three branches in Iceland during the subarctic island’s financial crisis in 2009

REYKJAVIK: A decade after McDonald’s shut down in Iceland, thousands of online users follow the live slow decay of the last order — a seemingly indestructible burger with a side of fries protected in a glass case like a precious gem.
The American chain closed its only three branches in Iceland during the subarctic island’s financial crisis in 2009, making it one of the only Western countries without a McDonald’s.
On October 31 of that year, just before the restaurant’s closure, Hjortur Smarason bought a menu for conservation.
“I decided to buy a last meal for its historical value since McDonald’s were closing down,” Smarason, who works as a communications manager for a company specializing in space tourism, told AFP on Wednesday.
“I had heard that McDonald’s never decomposed so I just wanted to see if it was true or not.”
He first kept the meal in his garage but then lent it to the National Museum of Iceland, after which it was moved to a hotel in the capital Reykjavik for a while.
Now the burger is on display like a work of art inside a glass case at Snotra House, a hostel in Thykkvibaer in southern Iceland.
“People from around the world... come here just to visit the burger,” Sigurdur Gylfason, the owner of the establishment, told AFP.
The hotel claims it receives up to 400,000 hits daily.
Addressing claims that its burgers appeared immune to decay, the company said in 2013 that “in the right environment, our burgers, like most other foods, could decompose,” adding that “specifically moisture” was necessary.
So with sufficient desiccation, they were “unlikely to grow mold or bacteria or decompose.”
Bjorn Adalbjornsson, a senior lecturer at the University of Iceland’s faculty of food science, confirmed this to AFP on Thursday, explaining that without moisture, “food will simply dry out.”


Saudi official welcome Lionel Messi ahead of Brazil-Argentina friendly in Riyadh

Updated 1 min 1 sec ago

Saudi official welcome Lionel Messi ahead of Brazil-Argentina friendly in Riyadh

  • They met on the sidelines of the international friendly match between Brazil and Argentina

Saudi Chairman of the General Entertainment Authority Turki Al-Sheikh met with football legend Lionel Messi on the sidelines of the international friendly match between Brazil and Argentina which will be held on Friday at King Saud University Stadium.

“I am happy to be back here,” Al-Sheikh said, welcoming the Barca forward in Riyadh.

“A lot of things have changed in Saudi Arabia in the last five years since your last visit. Prince Mohammed bin Salman changed a lot and the whole world is coming to us. He is building a new Saudi,” Al-Sheikh added.

This is Messi’s second visit to Riyadh in five years. The striker will return again on Jan. 8, where his team Barcelona will participate in the Spanish Super Cup finals in Jeddah against Valencia in the semi-finals of the tournament.

The Saudi official touched on Messi’s football career. The 32-year-old’s Barcelona club contract ends in 2021.

“I hope when your contract ends, we will see you play at (UD) Almeria,” Al-Sheikh said referring to the Spanish he owns.

Al-Sheikh also talked about the Saudi national football team, saying that he hoped the team will return to its former glory days when the Kingdom won AFC Asian Cup titles in the 80s and 90s.