8 UNIQUE THINGS TO EAT IN ICELAND
If you are an adventurous foodie seeking a trip where you can see beautiful scenery AND channel you inner Andrew Zimmern, then Iceland is for you! I put the word unique in the title because in many cases some of these foods are a little bizarre....in an exciting kind of way. I mean, if you are visiting the only country in the world (Iceland) where you can legally eat Whale and Puffin, wouldn't you? Well, you should, because #YOLO.
Here are 8 interesting, unique, weird, and in some cases tasty things you should eat in Iceland.
Icelanders don't actually eat whale, but they are legal to eat and for the most part consumed only by tourists. You can find whale in steak, slider, or even sashimi form. I had a very tender whale slider from Grill Market Restaurant. The portion was small enough so I didn't feel too bad eating it, and it had the texture and taste of beef so two thumbs up here.
This is traditionally served smoked and sliced into thin pieces. It's a bit tough and almost tastes like beef jerky. I personally don't like beef jerky so wasn't a fan of the texture but if you are jerky fan, this will be right up your alley. You can find smoked Puffin at Tapas Barinn.
3. Skyr Yogurt
This is a rich, creamy, thick yogurt that almost tastes like a light cheese and actually isn't yogurt. Huh? It is technical a strained skim-milk cheese but called "yogurt" because it's served in individual containers and comes in many fruit flavors. If you aren't a big fan of yogurt/cheese/dairy person like me, I recommend trying it as part of a dish at a restaurant. Grill Market Restaurant in Reykjavik makes a killer Skyr and licorice dessert.
Licorice is the preferred candy of Icelanders. It exists in many forms and flavors, and most chocolate bars are actually filled with licorice. I'm not a fan of licorice but Icelandic licorice is much milder than US licorice so I actually enjoyed it. Definitely try a licorice chocolate bars!
I wasn't expecting to eat reindeer in Iceland but when I saw it on the menu at Grill Market Restaurant, I couldn't resist. I had a a reindeer steak with creamed mushrooms, apple salad, red cabbage, and chocolate lingonberry sauce that was out of this world. Tasted like a very juicy steak, but all I could see was little Bambi so felt a little guilt here.
P.S. Grill Market has changed their menu and replaced reindeer with horse. If you try the horse, please write back and let me know how it is.
I know this seems basic but it's the one thing I was told I must have in Iceland. Baejarins Beztu Pylsur is an iconic place to grab an Icelandic dog made with a blend of beef, pork, and lamb. The hot dog tasted like a regular beef dog to me except it had a distinct snap because of the natural casing. What really made it unique are the sweet, salty, and crunchy topping: ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onions, raw onions, and a remoulade sauce.
Tip: They put the toppings on the bottom so if you want a prettier picture than mine, ask for the TOPings on TOP (where they belong :)).
Iceland has more sheep than people so you will find lamb on most restaurant menus. Icelandic sheep spend Summer and Spring roaming around the outdoors, eating a raw and pure diet so tend to be healthier and happier than their cousins in other countries. The baby sheep or lambs are slaughtered when they are younger so tend to be very lean but juicy and delicious!
8. Fermented Shark
I didn't get a chance to try this while in Iceland and although I'm very curious about this dish, I'm almost glad I didn't have to try it. However, I do know people that have enjoyed it so give it a try. You can try fermented shark and other smoked fish dishes at Cafe Loki.
Until the next bite.....