Eating Like a Local in Iceland

Cultural Exchanges Iceland
Eating Like a Local in Iceland
Since Iceland is a remote location, Icelanders rely a lot on what they can make themselves. This means, as we mentioned in our last email, ingredients are usually pure, healthy, and often organic! While visiting, you can look forward to incredible seafood, locally sourced and freshly grown produce, and tons of tasty treats!
For the Adventurous
While in Iceland, you will have plenty of chances to try new dishes that may seem “unconventional” to us but play a significant role in the culture and history of this gorgeous country. A few unique dishes you must try if you are feeling adventurous are:
  • Svið - This traditional Icelandic fare made by boiling sheep’s head might seem odd to us, but it was created when people could not afford to let any food go to waste, so they found a way to use every single part of the animal. If you ask us, it is pretty resourceful!
  • Kæstur Hákarl - An iconic dish in Iceland, also known as Fermented Shark, is a way for the people of Iceland to stay connected to their Viking roots. It is made with the meat from a Greenlands shark - which, while fresh, is actually poisonous - and is fermented and dried in a shallow hole in the sand for six to eighteen weeks, depending on the season. Then it’s cut into pieces and hung to dry until a brown crust forms. If you aren’t a fan of strong smells, this might not be for you… but it is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
  • Horse Steak - Believe it or not, horse meat is a typical dish in Iceland. The flavor is distinct but not strong. Like the sheep in Iceland, most of the horses roam free near the mountain areas during the summer and then, in the winter, are fed hay. Because of that, their meat is considered organic.
Oh, and if a local happens to offer you Floki Icelandic Sheep dung whisky, you have to say thank you. Icelandic folk love this unique beverage made at the Eimverk Distillery in Reykjavik. Sheep dung and Icelandic barley are the main ingredients, so bottoms up!
Street Vendors and Upscale Dining
If the more unique flavors do not tempt you, that is okay! Hotdogs are also a big thing in Iceland, so you won’t go hungry! You can grab one from one of the street vendors, and food stands throughout the city. Surprisingly, ice cream is popular too - despite the cold temperatures many months of the year. You can find many shops that offer exotic flavors and classics, served up with many vegan options.
Chefs in Iceland are quite innovative, and in the main cities, you can find plenty of fine dining restaurants, including the first one to receive a Michelin star, Dill. That was back in 2017, and since then, the restaurant has continued to serve up innovative dishes combining traditional recipes with a contemporary twist.
Exploring the City
Feeling indecisive about what to try first? Take the Reykjavik Food Walk to try authentic cuisine, including local cheese, fish of the day, succulent lamb (not the brains), and homemade ice cream. On the tour, you will be dropping by at least five restaurants that locals rave about!
We recommend doing this at the beginning of your visit so that you can find your favorite dining places for the duration of your way.
If you feel a little chilly after the food walk, be sure to grab a bit of Brennivin! This is a schnapps, taken by the shot, that will surely warm you back up after a few hours of exploring Iceland’s landscape during the winter months!
Now that you have your list of must-try dishes, let’s start planning your food-filled Icelandic itinerary. Click here to schedule a call, and we will help you take care of all the details. We cannot wait to help you “Seymour” of the world with us!
Until next time,