What is Icelandic food all about?
To start off, yes Food in Iceland really is expensive. I was prepared for it because I did a bit of research beforehand but it doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt my wallet. Iceland is an incredible country though, with amazing food so I still really wanted to make the most of it and try as much of the food as I can (afford…).
So If you ever wondered “what kind of food is there in Iceland?”, this is what I learned.
Whale steak (minke)
Let’s start off with the most controversial.
Now, whale steak isn’t a traditional Iceland dish and it’s mostly eaten by tourists- as the internet will tell you. Although we only found out about whale steaks through locals who recommended it to us.
In the restaurant itself we were told that the government sets numbers for whale hunting and that restaurants are only allowed to buy and sell a certain amount a year.
How does whale meat taste like?
I tried whale steak and vowed it would only be this one time- regardless of it being the best steak I ever had.
The meat itself is completely red and really fibre-y. I actually expected it to be under cooked or chewy but really it was neither. Once I put the first piece into my mouth it just melted away. The taste was slightly similar to beef but a bit more buttery? It’s not easy to explain really, but it was really delicious. Surprisingly the whale steak also ended up being one of the cheaper dishes we tried.
Where? Gamla Vinhusid Restaurant, Vesturgata 4, Hafnarfjordur, Iceland
How much? I think for the steak we paid around 20 pound per steak.
A very traditional Icelandic yogurt like yogurt (for lack of a better synonym here) that you can easily find in shops around Europe lately.
I tried Skyr for the first time in Iceland and loved it as it reminded me a lot of German Quark (which is similar to yogurt but has a much thicker consistency just like Skyr).
I also love the name.
Fish fish fish… Icelandic food at it’s best
I don’t know what restaurant this was. Somewhere close to Hard Rock Cafe in Rejkjavik. We were walking around town trying to find a reasonable priced restaurant for dinner and at some point we gave up and went into a not-so-reasonably-priced one…
I love making vegetable chowder and when I saw fish chowder on the menu I had to go for it. The dish was very traditional and came with some sort of sweet rye bread. I expected the chowder to be more of a soup but it actually was closer to a bake? Regardless I loved it. I think you can never go wrong with ordering fish dishes in Iceland.
My boyfriend went for the salmon burger which was also amazing. Definitely something to look out for.
And don’t forget the fish and chips!
Now, living in the U.K for 4 years I had my fair share of great Fish and Chips so I wasn’t too keen on trying the U.Ks secret national dish in Iceland… But we found out about a very popular (and fairly cheap!) fish and chips restaurant in Rejkjavik and my boyfriend really wanted to try it.
My tip, if you go there try to stay away from the typical cod and get one of the more fancy sounding fishes. They have different fishes every day depending on the catch and I really tasted a difference (I choose a random fish I had never heard of). My boyfriend who just had cod was a bit underwhelmed… It was a nice place to visit. Very busy, quick service and cheap prices (for Iceland).
Where? Icelandic Fish and Chips, Tryggvagata 11, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
How much? Around 25 pounds for the dish, sauces cost extra!
The icelandic hot dog
Another thing my boyfriend wanted to try. It’s definitely cheap and quite famous Icelandic food. The pylsa hot dog is a very iconic and typical food in Iceland. Made with lamb and special sauces (ketchup, sweet mustard, remoulade (similar to mayonnaise/relish) and of course onions.
We read so many good things about it that I think our expectation
were just to high. To me, it tasted just like a normal hot dog. It’s a nice and cheap snack though.
Where? Ingolfstorg Square, Reykjavik 101, Iceland
How much? Around 4-5 pounds, add-ons cost extra