Snapshots from Iceland: Lamb 'Boat' Sandwiches from Hlölla Bátar

I visited Iceland from April 18 to 24. Although this sparsely populated country may not be known for its cuisine, there was plenty of interesting food to report on. This week I'll share some food-related bits with you.


20090501-hlollabatar-exterior.jpgThe lamb boat (970 ISK) sub-style sandwich from Hlölla Bátar* in Ingólfstorg square, was my favorite sandwich from my trip to Iceland, besides being one of the tastiest subs I've ever eaten anywhere. The slightly chewy and soft, but substantial bun was filled with thin slices of crispy fried lamb accompanied by crunchy fried onions, pickles, lettuce, red cabbage, and plenty of special mayonnaise-based "Hlölli" sauce. After my hot dog-eating experience, it was more evidence that fried onion bits are a magical ingredient when added to things wrapped in bread.


The importance of the fried onions was most noticeable when it was missing. The lamb curry boat filled with lamb, pineapple, rice, lettuce, and Hlölli sauce had a boring, mostly mushy texture. Admittedly, even with fried onions the rice and sauce would make for a soggy sandwich. I ordered it to see what a sandwich filled with rice would taste like, never having come across one before . Answer: not so good. Burritos work, but in sandwich form the rice doesn't seem to fit. Then again, since Hlölla Bátar offers five sandwiches with rice in them, it could just be me.

* Although I think the "h" is silent, my friends and I couldn't help but yell a drawn out "HOOOOLLLLLAAAAAAAAHH" every time we walked by the stand. Which happened a lot.

Hlölla Bátar

Ingólfstorg, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland (map) +354 511 3500 For other locations in Iceland, visit