When you think of Iceland, you probably focus on its well-known landscape featuring amazing geysers, hot springs, and volcanoes. You probably don’t think about what you might eat there. Visit Iceland and you’ll find cuisine that is always fresh and delightfully unique.
PYSLUR (REYKJAVIK HOT DOG)
Occasionally known as the unofficial national dish of Iceland, the Reykjavik hot dog is very popular not only with locals but with tourist too. A combination of lamb, beef, and pork, pylsurs are a tasty and affordable meal option. So where do you find these hot dogs? One place is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, which means “The Best in Town” and has been in Reykjavik since 1937. Be sure to ask for yours “eina með öllu”, or “with everything” to make the most of this authentic experience.
HÅKARI (FERMENTED SHARK)
You may have read this heading and decided to pass on by! But when in Iceland, you should consider trying it at least once. Oddly enough though, hákarl is not really all that popular with the locals, despite being the official national dish of Iceland. Traditionally, hákarl is eaten in small pieces, and then followed by a shot of Brennevin, a clear unsweetened schnapps.
HARŌFISKUR (DRIED FISH)
When considering something for a snack, dried fish may not be at the top of your list. But in Iceland, you’ll find Harðfiskur, a type of dried fish, is very popular at snack time. This type of fish jerky is typically made from fresh cod, haddock, or Atlantic wolfish that is then hung to dry in the salty cold North Atlantic air. It has a delicious savory taste and is packed with vitamins and protein. You’ll find this treat pretty much anywhere you go in Iceland and it’s best enjoyed with salted butter.
Looking for a breakfast option? It’s a great time to try Skyr, a high protein, low fat cultured dairy dish. Although it’s considered a soft cheese, its consistency is closer to that of greek yogurt. Try it like the locals eat it - served with cold milk and topped with sugar. Make it even better with fresh fruit or berries, and don’t forget this also makes for a delicious snack any time of the day.
PLOKKFISKUR (ICELANDIC FISH STEW)
An extremely popular dish among both tourists and locals, Plokkfiskur is made with boiled fresh cod or haddock filets that are mashed together with boiled potatoes and a roux based white sauce. This simple dish was originally created as a way to use up leftover fish and eventually turned into one of the most popular comfort foods in Iceland. Locals love to serve it with warm Rúgbrauð(rye bread) and butter.
Lamb is extremely popular in Iceland and is enjoyed in a variety of ways. With the large population of Icelandic sheep that roam the country freely, all lamb dishes are guaranteed to be fresh and delicious. Two of the most popular options are smoked lamb known as hangikjöt and warm bowls of icelandic lamb soup better known as kjötsúpa.
RÚGBRAUŌ (RYE BREAD FROM A HOT SPRING)
Rúgbrauð, or rye bread, is a very traditional Icelandic food. It’s crustless, dark brown, and dense. The traditional baking method is to put the dough in a pot and then bury the pot near a hot spring and let the geothermal heat do the cooking. When that option isn’t available, the pot is placed in the dying embers of a fire. However it’s made, once you slather on some fresh butter, you’re in for one tasty treat.