Most travelers go to Iceland because of the breathtaking landscapes, the surreal auroras, or whale watching. The island isn’t really famous for the food, but it should be because its traditional cuisine is inventive and unexpected.
Iceland’s gastronomy is shaped by its geographical location. Since it’s such a remote place and so isolated from the rest of the world, Icelanders have had to learn how to get the most out of what they have. This translates into a billion ways to make lambs, a dexterous use of berries and lots of seafood. And visitors should be aware of the staples in Iceland cuisine if they want to have a taste without opening a hole in their wallets. After all, the country is already pretty expensive, and it can be worse for those who have no idea what to order.
Lamb, Lamb and Lamb
Iceland is full of free-roaming lambs, so naturally, Icelanders have spent years using them in their dishes. You can find roasted or stewed lamb, and it can be sweet or spicy, wet or dried. When it comes to lamb dishes, if you can think of it, Iceland has done it. If you can’t make up your mind, go for a popular meat soup, it will keep you warm and we can bet you’ve never tasted anything quite like it.
Dare to Try Fermented Shark
There’s a caveat when it comes to fermented shark, while it is considered a traditional Icelandic food, it isn’t really a part of the modern Icelandic diet. That is to say, it’s really expensive and some might consider it a tourist novelty. But all in all, it was a pretty big part of the Icelandic diet for a very long time, since locals had to survive pretty long winters and they could bury shark for months before consuming it. Travelers on a budget and with more of a sweet tooth might want to skip this. This emblematic dish can really cost you a pretty penny and has a pretty strong smell and taste, so if you dare to try it, be prepared. Luckily, it’s almost always served with Schnapp that will help you pass it down.
Rye Bread with Everything
Another old staple of Icelandic cuisine is the rye bread. With what? Well, pretty much everything they can get their hands on. It can be topped with cheese, butter, ice cream, lava salt, salmon, or with marinated seafood. And if you want to get super traditional, make sure you try the type of rye that is made by being buried in the ground next to a bubbling geyser, it’s supposed to be the best, cakiest, softest rye you could ever have.
Taste Skyr Yogurt
Skyr yogurt is kind of heavy like greek yogurt but it tastes lighter and creamier. It’s made with locally produced milk and it’s really low fat, as well as being the most inexpensive item you can try out of this entire list. You can have it with berry, or even with rye, but really, it’s so tasty you can just taste it on its own.