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After night of culture and class at Reykjavík’s brand spanking new Harpa Concert Hall listening to the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra, I thought it only fitting that I conclude the evening with a snack from the most popular (I have very reliable sources) place to eat in the country…
The Bæjarins beztu pylsur hot dog stand.
What better way to bring an otherwise highbrow evening back down to earth.
Of the huge selection of Icelandic food, a hot dog would not generally be my first choice, but then neither would puffin. Or raw reindeer meat. Or dried fish. *quietly gagging*
And I have tried my hand/stomach at all of those because, well…when in Iceland…
Both of which are Icelandic delicacies that I am certain my stomach would handle just fine, probably even enjoy. Minke whale in particular is supposed to be delightful!
Give it time though and I may just come around. Because, as you know, Iceland has won me over in a serious way and I will be back here again before too long. And Icelandic food has proven to be wonderful so I will try for a different mindset for next time.
Puffins are not only the cutest birds in history but good lord, they are delicious!
(Just close your eyes and think of England. Definitely don’t think about how cute they are – you’ll be fine, I promise!)
Puffin tastes a little like chicken: sort of. Actually not at all.
It is usually served smoked which helps to reduce the fishy taste of the meat, and the dish I tried was also cured in Guinness.
I guess eating puffins is a little controversial and I spent about a lot of time (3 seconds) feeling guilty about the fact that I thought puffin was completely yum!
As part of my gourmet meal at the restaurant at Hótel Rangá in South Iceland, I was served a tasting plate of:
smoked Lundi (puffin);
wild Icelandic salmon; and
Hreindýr carpaccio (thinly sliced raw reindeer meat) with truffle oil.
But then came the lamb.
Icelandic lamb is like none you’ve ever tasted. It is incredibly lean and literally melts in your mouth. Why does it taste so darn good?
Iceland has been one of the leaders of sustainability for some time. The pristine environment and geographical isolation of Iceland means there is no need to use any harmful chemicals, pesticides, antibiotics or hormones on their livestock.
They are definitely doing something very right because the lamb I had was easily the best I’ve ever eaten. And as if it couldn’t be any better…the dish I had was served with lobster tail. Oh yeah.
So that’s the gourmet side of things, but wait…there is more!
Iceland is an island so it is a given that there is an abundance of seafood. No post about Icelandic food would be complete without a good dose of seafood.
In the next post I will tell you about some of my good, bad and ugly experiences with a few typical seafood ‘delights’ in Iceland.
Think dried fish and rotten shark meat…ugh.
If you are interested in reading Part Two follow this link: Icelandic Food: Culinary Delights and Disasters Part II
My culinary experience was made possible thanks to Hótel Rangá in South Iceland. All opinions and suggestions are of course, my own.