Are you ready to experience the best of Icelandic cuisine?!
While most tourists flock to Iceland for its natural wonders, trying traditional food in Iceland is a wonderful way to experience the local culture.
From fermented shark to smoked lamb, Icelandic cuisine can be an acquired taste for some. But for those who are willing to step outside their culinary comfort zone, there are plenty of delicious surprises to be found.
In this post, I’ll explore five typical Icelandic foods that are worth trying, no matter how adventurous your palate is.
Let’s dive in!
Must-Try Iceland Food: Skyr
Skyr is a dairy product that’s very similar to greek yogurt. Not only is it nutritious and loaded with protein and calcium, but it’s also DELICIOUS and comes in so many yummy flavors! My favorite thing about Skyr is that it comes with a mini fold-up spoon so you can eat it on the go.
This is one of the best snacks if you’re camping in Iceland or heading out on an Icelandic road trip!
Where to find: Anywhere! Gas stations, grocery stores, cafes…it will probably be the first thing you notice when you walk off the plane. Iceland is pretty well-known for its Skyr.
The DELICIOUS Icelandic Hot dog
This wouldn’t be a proper Iceland food recommendation list without mentioning the famous hot dog. Icelanders LOVE their hot dogs, and they’ve even made a special hot dog sauce to go with it. Toppings include raw onions, crispy fried onions, ketchup, special Icelandic hot dog mustard, and remoulade. If you want to blend in with the locals, ask for it “eina meö öllu” which means one with everything. This is one of the easiest, cheapest and most delicious Iceland meals!!
Where to find: Bæjarins Beztu is the most famous Iceland hot dog stand at Tryggvatagata 1 in downtown Reykjavik. Most gas stations also have them.
Mouth-Watering Icelandic Lamb
If I have one piece of advice for you when you’re trying local Icelandic cuisine, it’s this:
Order the lamb everywhere you go!!
Icelandic lamb roam free in the countryside, eat grass, and are never given hormones – this is the perfect meat! Every time we went to a restaurant, I would order the fish and Bobby would get the lamb so we could try both. We were never disappointed.
Also, another typical food in Iceland you should definitely try is the meat soup which is prepared with lamb meat. It’s an Icelandic staple, and so wonderful to warm you up on a cold day!
Where to find: I would say Icelandic lamb is a staple on most restaurant menus. Don’t try to be adventurous and make your own at home… it’s worth tasting from the experts!
Fresh Iceland Fish
There’s truly nothing like Icelandic fish. It’s caught fresh daily from the mountain streams or cold Atlantic waters. I guarantee you, this is probably some of the most delicious and freshest fish you’ve ever tasted! Fish in Iceland is always perfectly prepared, never overcooked, and full of amazing flavors.
Pro tip: my go-to recommendations are to try the salmon in Iceland (lax) I recommend and the salted cod.
Where to find: Pretty much every single restaurant will have fish on their menu! There are also plenty of restaurants that specialize in seafood in Iceland.
Scrumptious Iceland Ice Cream
As someone who’s Iceland-obsessed, I’ve tried Icecream ALL over the world, and I have to tell you…nothing beats Iceland’s ice cream.
Iceland’s naturally grass-fed dairy and full-fat goodness make for amazing ice cream. Trust me, this isn’t your average ice cream.
Icelanders LOVE their ice cream, rain or shine.
The most popular variety?
Where to buy: I’m a fan of good ol’ gas station soft serve with dark chocolate dip! Sometimes I’ll get crazy and have them sprinkle some coconut flakes on it.
There are plenty of specialty ice cream shops that make unique flavors that are all delicious as well. Even the ice cream in grocery stores is amazing. Basically, you can’t go wrong!
Ísbúð Vesturbæjar (Vesturbær Ice Cream Shop) is an institution in Reyjavik. Serving classic ice cream cones with soft-serve ice cream, they’ve been operating since 1971. They’re a local favorite, so be sure to grab yourself a cone and see what all the hype is about!
Hákarl (Fermented Shark) + Brennivín
One of my most famous traditional foods in Iceland is Hakarl, otherwise known as fermented shark meat. This is often paired with Brennivín, an Icelandic schnapps.
Before visiting Iceland, everybody told us that hákarl (shark) was the worst thing they had ever tried, but that we should still try it anyway.
When my husband and I tried it, we were surprised at our reactions!
As someone who LOVES fermented foods, I was expecting that I would like it, and Bobby would hate it.
But in fact, the exact opposite happened. I couldn’t stand the stuff!
On the first bite, I thought, “Hmm…ok…this is different”.
But the more I chewed, the warmer my mouth got – and I slowly started tasting a bleach-like flavor. To top it off, a shot of brennivín was offered, a potent Icelandic schnapps that is meant to warm you up on cold winter nights.
But in all honesty, in this case, I think I’d rather endure the cold!
(P.s. I still think everyone should try it!)
Where to find: hotel restaurants, tourist shops, kolaportid
So there you have it, the top 5 must-try foods in Iceland. I hope you take a moment to experience the local culture by trying Iceland’s traditional foods! From savory lamb dishes to sweet, creamy ice cream, Icelandic cuisine has something for everyone.
And while some items like the infamous fermented shark and Icelandic schnapps might be an acquired taste, trying new things is what makes traveling so exciting. So be sure to keep an open mind and a hungry stomach on your next trip to Iceland 😉
P.S. Are you a foodie who can’t wait to dive into all-things Iceland cuisine?
Then be sure to book your Reykjavik Food Tour!
From fish, to lamb, to the most famous hot dogs and ice cream, you’ll be able to experience it all!
And with the code ICEVIEW, you’ll get an exclusive 10% off the tour price.
Question: Are you brave enough to try the hákarl?