Are you planning on visiting the land of ice and fire? There’s some amazing food to try in Iceland and in this post we’re going to cover it all from national dishes to tasty deserts.
How long are you planning on spending in Iceland? We’ve written the perfect three day Iceland itinerary to help you make the most of your time in the land of fire and ice.
Fermented Shark (Hakarl)
First up is the national dish of Iceland, Fermented Shark. This dish is also known as Hakarl, and consists of a sleeper shark which has been cured, fermented and hung to dry for between four to give months.
Despite being the national dish, Hakarl isn’t commonly found in Iceland nor is it often eaten by the locals.
Skyr – The Icelandic Yogurt
Perhaps the most well known Icelandic food is Skyr yoghurt. This cultured dairy product has been part of Icelandic cuisine for more than a thousand years and is still incredibly popular with the locals today.
Skyr is low in fat and high in protein. You’ll most likely find it served with milk, fruit and or berries. However, it’s also often found in smoothies, ice cream and ‘Skyrkaka’ – Iceland’s take on cheesecake.
If you enjoy Skyr during your trip to Iceland, then you’re in luck as it’s popularity has ensured that it’s now a commonly stocked product in supermarkets and grocery stores in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Icelandic sea salt is produced by evaporating seawater using geothermal power. This makes the smoked salt of Iceland the best choice for consumers looking for incredibly tasty salt made in an environmentally sustainable way.
Alongside the traditional smoked salt, you’ll also likely find salt mixed with black lava, Icelandic birch or even Arctic thyme.
Slow Roasted Lamb
The lambs of Iceland are one of the purest breeds in the world. They are not fed on grain or given growth hormones and instead wonder freely in the outdoors from Spring through to Autumn. Therefore their diet is 100% natural and consists of grass, sedge, moss campion and berries.
For this reason, the meat of Icelandic sheep is considered to be gourmet. It’s one of the finest and most often used ingredients in Icelandic dishes. In the restaurants of Iceland, you’ll most likely find slow roasted lamb on the menu.
The traditional Icelandic method of cooking lamb is geothermally using a heated pit in the ground. If you want a true Icelandic experience look for a restaurant that offers this incredible service.
Icelandic Lamb Soup – Kjötsúpa
Another traditional Icelandic lamb dish found in Iceland is lamb soup, also known as Kjötsúpa.
This soup is the perfect comfort food for those incredibly long and dark winter days. Each family has their own recipe which has been passed down through generations, however, traditional Icelandic meat soup is made from a lamb shank, potatoes, swede and carrots. It can also contain leeks, onions, dried herbs, salt, and pepper.
Rúgbrauð – Dark Rye Bread from a Hot Spring and Butter
Rúgbrauð is a traditional sweet Icelandic rye bread baked in a pot which has been buried in the ground near a hot spring. While there are a million different ways you could eat this bread, you’ll often find it served with butter, smoked salmon, smoked lamb or cheese.
This is a great Icelandic dish to try if you’re on a budget as you’ll often find it in supermarkets in Iceland or served as a side dish to the fish dish plokkfiskur in a traditional Icelandic restaurant.
If you really want to experience something magical, then head to the Laugavautn Wellness Resort and Geothermal bakery where you’ll find the bread buried 30 centimeters in the ground next to a bubbling geyser. This method of cooking the bread was made famous by the national iceon Sigurður Rafn Hilmarsson, as a result, the bread is soft (almost spongy) and tastes more like cake thanks to the added sugar he sprinkles in the dough.
If you’re down by the harbour in Reykjavík then you simply have to stop for the lobster soup at Sægreifinn.
This place is super budget-friendly, it’s not a restaurant, and instead more like a shack. However, the lobster is good, and the soup is incredible.
The people of Iceland love their coffee, as a result, you’ll find local coffee shops and cafe’s dotted all over.
We stopped at Reykjavik Roasters multiple times for a coffee and a bite to eat – not once did they disappoint!
Brennivin is a local spirit which is similar to unsweetened schnapps and vodka. The drink is famous during the Porrablot winter festival.
Icelandic Hot Dog (or pylsur)
When you think of Food to try in Iceland you probably don’t think of hot dogs. However, Icelandic hot dogs have an incredible reputation. In fact, Bill Clinton once named Icelandic hot dogs “the best hot dogs in the world”.
If you’re in the capital of Reykjavik then there’s only one place you want to be getting your hot dogs and that’s at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. This tiny stand is the most popular restaurant in Iceland and has been serving hot dogs since 1937.
Harðfiskur – Dried Fish
Many Icelandic locals favourite snack is Harðfiskur which literally translates to hard fish. While the most common fish for this dish is cod, haddock or wolffish can also be used.
That concludes our guide of food to try in Iceland. Of course, we’d love to know what food you recommend trying on a trip to Iceland – is there anything we’ve missed from our list? Let us know in the comments below.