Iceland Mag

9 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

5 foods Icelanders can't get enough of in their day-to-day lives

By Matt Eliason

  • Loco for Lakkrís Icelander's love their liquorice, which can be found in a number of their candy assortment dishes. Photo from Food-info.net

1. Hot Dogs 

Long Lines Icelanders wait in line for a hot dog at one of the many "hot dog wagons." Photo/Stefán Karlsson

When I first arrived in Iceland I was not expecting to connect this Nordic country's cuisine with my native Chicago. However, the Viking nation has successfully figured out how to make a killer hot dog. A combination of "real meat" ingredients mixed with an impressive list of toppings such as "pylsur" sauce especially designed for the Nordic hot dog, puts the Reykjavík hotdog on top of my list of cities that know how to make a good hot dog.

In fact, it is tradition that any time you exit the local pools in Iceland you have no choice but to grab a hot dog at one of the many stands located around the city. Even Bill Clinton likes Icelandic hotdogs - he famously visited one of the hot dogs stands during his stay in Reykjavík.

2. Liquorice  

Nizza Candy Bar is an Icelandic treat that combines the tastes of liquorice and chocolate. 

Every Saturday around Iceland, all candy is 50% discounted at the local grocery shops. As a result, Icelanders pile into the local Bónus or Hagkaup to load up on the liquorice treats that seem to fuel these Nordic people.

Almost all treats and candy assortments seem to have some sort of liquorice theme. The unique tasting treat is often combined with the rich flavor of milk chocolate for a "lakkrís flavored candy bar." 

3. Skyr 

Reach for the Skyr Iceland's yogurt treat is both delicious and healthy. 

Iceland's version of Greek yogurt is not just a big hit domestically, but is beginning to spread in popularity abroad. Whole foods in the United States is beginning to stock Iceland's healthy treat, which is a thicker version of your typical yogurt. Praised for its healthy combination of proteins and dairy, the Icelandic treat can be served as a breakfast meal with fruit, or as a desert dish with chocolate. 

The product is made from skim milk which remains after the cream has been removed. The milk is then warmed with live cultures from previous batches of skyr and strained from the whey after it has thickened.

Traditionally skyr was served with cream and brown sugar, but nowadays it is increasingly used as a key ingredient for cheese-cakes, crème brulée (called skyr brulée) and smoothies. 

4. Horse  

Side of Horse Horses serve a number of important functions in Icelandic society, including as a main dinner course.

Ok maybe this is not a food "Icelander's eat on a daily basis." However, the Icelandic horse is a meat that appears in some Icelander's weekly diet. I see horses everywhere in Iceland, whether its during a trip out to the countryside or occasionally on my dinner plate at the local diner.

The unique breed of "tiny" horses that has been cultivated on this European Island is also served as a main course in many fancy, Icelandic restaurants, although not all Icelanders approve of eating the farm raised animal. The consumption of horse may seem odd to some foreigners, but the fact cannot be denied that the meat is rich and delicious.

5. Meat Soup  

Beef overload Icelanders really pack on the beef in their meat soup.

While soups may be an appetizer in some countries, the Icelandic soup is nothing short of a main course. The Nordic chefs pile on the lamb meat in this often loaded course that somewhat resembles beef stew of my native Chicago.

The lamb meat is complimented with some onions and carrots, and can be found at most traditional Icelandic restaurants.

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