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Iceland Mag

Food & Drink

Adventures in mistranslation: Care for some delicious "Reindeer Choking"?

By Staff

  • What is that even?! Delicious reindeer choking? Photo/Maja Siska, Facebook

A traveller passing through Keflavík Airport stopped at one of the airport restaurants for a quick bite, but was shocked to discovered the restaurant offered something called Hreindýrakæfa or "Reindeer choking". 

"Reindeer choking" is a strange Google-translate error. Hreindýr is Icelandic for reindeer, and hreindýrakæfa is reindeer pate. However, if you enter hreindýrakæfa into Google-translate you get "reindeer choking". The reason: Kæfa is both a noun and a verb. The noun kæfa is pate, but the verb að kæfa means to choke or suffocate.

So: Next time you are at a restaurant and you are offered "reindeer choking" you shouldn't freak out: you are not being asked to participate in some bizarre or macabre ritual practice. Icelanders don't choke reindeer for fun and amusement, but some Icelanders seem to have trouble operating "the Google machine" properly!

Bonus tip: No, you shouldn't wash your hair with soup!

Read more: Local pool confuses foreign visitors with sign encouraging bathers to wash with "soup"

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