Pylsur (Icelandic Hot Dogs)
Why does everyone obsess over Icelandic hot dogs? Aren't they just hot dogs? Well, they're made with lamb in addition to the usual pork and beef parts. The lamb presence deepens its flavor, and even under a deluge of condiments, you can taste the slight lamby funk at the end. Order it "eina með öllu" (one with everything) for the works: a sweeter brown mustard ("pylsusinnep"), ketchup, raw onions, crunchy deep-fried onions, and a mildly tangy remoulade.
Pylsusinnep, aka Icelandic hot dog mustard, is sweet and brown, and how awesome is that scampering, toque-wearing hot dog dude?
Those deep-fried onion crunchies that come on hot dogs are for sale at the grocery store if you want to bring some home! "They make everything taste 500% better—maybe even 550%," said Robyn, who bought a tub and proceeded to put them on rice, vegetables, and just about every other meal she could.
Icelanders will tell you their lamb is better than any other lamb in the world, and it is really, really good. Probably because they let their sheep merrily roam free in the highlands and valleys to much on grass and herbs before being corralled in the winter. The result of such a luxurious life is very tender meat with a gently gamey flavor. Here is some grilled lamb tenderloin we enjoyed in the Eldhus.
Skyr has a wonderfully creamy, spoonable texture and tastes somewhere between tart Greek yogurt, creme fraiche, and soft-serve. Icelanders eat skyr everyday, anytime: for breakfast, as a snack, for dessert with berries. It's made of pasteurized skimmed milk and a bacteria culture similar to yogurt. [Note: it's technically not yogurt, it's a soft cheese.]
Icelanders love skyr so much, they even use it as a creamy base for flavored dipping sauces.
Singed and de-brained then boiled, the sheep's head ("svið" in Icelandic) comes with scoops of mashed potato and mashed turnip at Fljótt og Gott, the cafeteria at the BSI Bus Terminal in Reykjavik known for its sheep's head. If you're going to eat sheep's head in Iceland—including the tongue, eyeballs and ears—it should be Fljótt og Gott.
The taste of minke whale is somewhere between tuna and beef. Here it is in kebab form at Saegreifinn, or "Sea Baron," a fish shack in Reykjavik with many kebab options (the less controversial fish and scallops in addition to minke whale and puffin).
Icelanders like to snack on harðfiskur, what's basically fish jerky. The wind-dried haddock comes in various forms: as thin chips, feathery-soft strips, or brittle crunchy pieces. Icelanders usually spread butter on top.
Those aren't potato chips—they're haddock chips!
Icelanders eat a lot of fish, and how could they not being surrounded by bountiful waters of cod, arctic char, haddock, monkfish, herring, skate, and salmon. You'll find fish on menus everywhere, and in our experience, it was usually caught that morning.
Fish and potatoes
Fish and potatoes are at the core of many hearty Icelandic meals. This fish had a nice peppery crust, and that's probably a dollop of skyr on top.
Doritos Cool American
So this isn't a traditional Icelandic food, but we spotted it at a petrol station and had to snap a photo. Icelanders think Americans are cool!
Many flavored spreadables for sale at the grocery market.