That’s a Wrap: Icelandic Food Frenzy

Posted on January 30th, 2020 by

Around the Ring Road we go post leaving Siglofurþur, Iceland on our way back into the heart of Reykjavik. Along the way, these golden Gusties were able to eat their way around the country, exploring the various Icelandic delicacies and tourist-driven food stops alike!

In a course where nine out of the twenty-two of us cannot or choose not to consume meat, it can be a bit tough to navigate our way through so many Icelandic dishes that exemplify the country’s carnivorous history; an agricultural hunting and fishing nation at its heart since the settlement in 870 AD. During our initial time in Reykjavik, we heard tell of the world-famous Icelandic hot dog, a sausage layed in-bun atop a bed of white onions and pickled red onions, and doused in mayo and mustard at your own discretion.

Whilst dwelling in our hostel in Reykjavik, we also discovered the popular burgers, typically topped with arugula, bacon, and what the Icelanders refer to as “cocktail sauce”, a lightly pink sauce consisting of mayo, ketchup, and seasonings, very much resembling what we might call thousand island dressing in the states.

In addition to this, we found it hard to escape the tourist driven food scene which included delicacies to aid Reykjavik in meeting the demands of tourists who come to contribute to one of Iceland’s largest industries from all over the globe, a couple of my favorites being traditional French crepes and traditional Vietnamese Phô.

They say that one can infer a lot about a particular region of the world by paying attention with a critical eye to the popular food and drink in the area and noting where it has imbeddedbitself culturally, and Iceland, is no exception to this. The island nation’s unique connection to its settlement era and history through the sagas provides critical insight into why the food scene developed the way it has. We see this in popular areas such as Reykjavik with the influx of international food to suit the tourist industry and we see this again in the countryside with the primary focus being lamb, reindeer, and fish among others.

As we ventured out of Reykjavik to the south of Iceland, traveling to areas like Vìk and Höfn, as well as the Wilderness Center, we were greeted warmly by the prospect of getting to bring out our inner Icelanders and experience more authentic and traditional Icelandic cuisine. One of the most popular dishes we discovered during our time at the Wilderness Center was traditional Icelandic meat soup, typically consisting of lamb, potatoes, and other vegetables in a thick broth, pictured below.

Both while at the Wilderness Center, as well as in Höfn, we got to discover lamb chops and fries or potatoes, one of the most frequented family comfort meals by the Icelanders.

We were so blessed to experience the hearty nature of each dish we got to partake in along the southern half of the Ring Road, as the dishes were so robust, aromatic, and flavorful. Many of us wondered and worried as to why it can be so seemingly impossible to eat like this in the states, and many of us were quick to attribute it to the way in which our food contains many preservatives and MSG and undergoes far more significant processing, though we are still musing about what this says in terms of our cultural differences.

As we make our way back to Reykjavik for the final leg of our journey around this incredible Scandinavian nation, I am left rejoicing in delight at all of the delicacies available here, yes, including the infamous combination of Paprika Pringles and Oreo sandwich cookies, all around the ring. The Icelanders really know how to have their cake, err, um..their Skyr, and eat it too!

And, with more poet-infested coffee shops than any other national per capita, and plenty of bars to catch up for a hushed chat after a tough day’s work in the tourism or fishing industries, it is safe to say that the Icelanders like to knock back their coffees and drinks along with it.

So, as the Icelanders say Bless Bless!

Takk Fyrir! 🇮🇸



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