Wondering what to eat in Iceland? The Icelandic cuisine is full of surprises and most tourists don’t dare to try the local delicacies like shark meat and sheep’s head. But no one goes to Iceland for the food. Surely there are much more amazing places to explore than meals to try, but the isolated country also has few traditional and delicious foods to offer. Just remember that even if you don’t like the food, you can always go for the booze. The Icelandic alcohol is one of the purest in the world as it is produced from organic ingredients and clear spring water.
Here are Iceland’s best and worst foods you should know (starting from the best):
Top 5 Best Foods To Try:
1. Hangikjöt (Smoked Lamb)
It’s a smoked lamb meat made by an old tradition and is considered to be one of the most delicious smoked products. Hangikjöt is usually served with cooked potatoes, béchamel sauce, peas and pickled red cabbage and Icelanders love to eat it on special occasions like Christmas.
The Icelandic yogurt Skyr is made of a strained, skim-milk cheese and some people think it’s even better than the Greek yogurt. It’s highly valued for it’s protein content (12%) and it’s naturally fat-free. Served with Icelandic blueberries, Skyr is the perfect nourishing food for breakfast or as dessert.
3. Icelandic fish
You almost can’t go wrong with fish – pickled, dried, smoked, it just taste amazing. And how could it not! Thanks to its pure waters Iceland has one of the best seafood in the world. You can enjoy plenty of different types of fish including cod, haddock, monkfish, herring, skate, lobster, and salmon, but we recommend you to try the traditional Harðfiskur með smjöri which is Icelandic dried fish with butter.
4. Kjötsúpa (Lamb soup)
Usually described as “Iceland in a bowl”, this soup is made with lamb and vegetables and is one of Icelanders’ favorite dishes in winter. It’s often eaten as a cure for colds and depressions.
5. Pylsur (Icelandic Hot Dog)
If you’re not tempted by the fish and lamb meals that Iceland has to offer, then you should go for the famous Icelandic hot dog ‘pylsur‘. Locals like to eat it with ketchup, mustard, raw onions, fried onions, and remoulade (mayonnaise and relish sauce).
If you want to challenge yourself and eat like a real Viking, here are the Top 5 Worst Foods in Iceland:
1. Svið (Sheep’s Head)
This ancient traditional food is still popular in Iceland and despite looking not so appetizing, some people find it delicious. Most travelers won’t dare to eat Svið, but if you like challenges, give it a try. Icelanders boil it with herbs and serve it with mashed turnips and potatoes.
2. Hrútspungar (Pickled Ram’s Testicles)
Yep, that’s right. It may sound weird to you, but in Iceland ram’s testicles are a delicacy. The tradition to eat them dates back to the times when Iceland was poor and farmers used all parts of the animals for food, so nothing was wasted.
3. Horse meat
Icelanders do eat horse meat and you can see it often on the menu of many local restaurants. You don’t have to eat it, but it if you’re brave culinary enthusiast you can try it.
4. Hákarl (Fermented Shark)
Some tourists say it’s the best meat they’ve ever eaten, while others name it the most disgusting food in the world. The fermented shark meat is another popular delicacy in Iceland, so If you want to eat like a real Viking, don’t miss it!
5. Skate (Skata)
Fermented or rotten stingray (skate) is another iconic Icelandic dish that is an inseparable part of the Christmas dinner. The bad thing about skate is that it stinks so bad, as it has to ferment for several months underground. It could be a little bit harder to swallow, but once you get used to the smell, you may even start liking it!