While in Iceland last summer, I was fortunate to be able to try some new and interesting foods. Here is the list of strange and wonderful foods to try in Iceland and how I made out with the list in the two weeks I was there. This is part 2.
Fishburgers – They never tell you what the fish is, apparently it changes all the time, and it’s usually ground meat, so who knows? I ate it anyways. Served with fish soup.
Rhubarb jam – rabarbarasulta or ‘Icelandic jam’. It grows everywhere. They put it in meatballs, cake filling and on waffles and bread. Delicious!
Rot-cured skate – Another stinky one! Apparently smells like urine and makes your eyes water. Traditional at Christmas. Good grief. Thank goodness I missed Christmas there.
Sheep head – burned and boiled. Half a singed head with turnip and potatoes. Yes, I ate it. Good thing for the turnip and potatoes as there is not enough edible in a head to make a meal! Though Icelanders wouldn’t agree, they eat more parts than I was willing to.
Chocolate eggs – eaten in large quantities at Easter. Missed it. My hips say thank you.
Organic veggies – a short growing season but 24 hour sun results in some large tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers. No pesticides because they are no insects. Very tasty.
Kleinur – Icelandic doughnuts. A twisted doughnut which some say resembles female genitalia. Weird. But they are yummy.
Brennivin – the national drink. A spirit made from potatoes and cumin. Also known as Black Death. I drank it to wash down the rotten shark!
Icelandic water – the champagne of the north. Considered the purest in the world. You won’t find any bottled water here, just drink from a stream or the tap, it’s fantastic!
Eggs of the Viking hen – small eggs with a dark yolk and a strong taste. They’re good.
Iceland moss – they put it in tea, soup, bread. Apparently the fungus has medicinal powers. I passed. I think.
Puffin – cute and tasty! Roasted ‘lundi’ is really good. A wild gamey taste with a hint of fishiness. Served without beak.
Porrablot – This is the name for an Icelandic buffet. Everything is either smoked, pickled or dried, washed down with Brennivin. Held in winter months. Missed it.
Bolludagur – means ‘Bun Day’. Held around Lent, parents spank their kids ‘buns’ and reward them with cream-filled dough balls. Weird, glad I missed it. I might have reported abuse.
Skyr – I loved skyr! Similar to yogurt, only thicker and made with skimmed milk. Fat free and high in calcium and protein. Eaten many times during the day. Some nightclubs have erotic skyr wrestling and when the Icelanders protest the government, they throw it at the politicians. Interesting.
Wild Salmon – It was good, but living in BC, didn’t find it anything special.
Dulse – seaweed. Harvested and dried into salty snacks. I’m a Maritimer, so I’ve had this before, and I like it.
Surir hrutspungar – a fancy name for ram testicles. Boiled balls. Yum. No, I didn’t!
Icelandic bananas – grown in greenhouses with geothermal heat, these are big and bold in flavour.
Icelandic horse – Even though Icelanders love their noble companions, they love the special flavour of the meat more! You’ll find filly on the menu, and steak and sausage in the grocery store. I couldn’t do it.
Hardfiskur – dried fish snacks. Chewy and fishy, mainly catfish, haddock or cod. Too stinky for me.
Svida lappir – singed sheep feet. Nibble on boiled skin or suck on if pickled. Yech. The poor sheep, they don’t leave much uneaten. I ate the head, he can have his feet.
Icelandic flowers – natural essences from flowers are mixed into powerful health foods to encourage creativity, joy and laughter. That’s what they told me. I passed.
Arctic tern eggs – a delicacy that Icelanders steal from the nests of screeching birds every spring. I missed this event.
Christmas buffet – Icelanders love to eat and celebrations are great excuses for a buffet of seasonal delicacies. Classic Christmas foods include smoked lamb, ham and leaf-cut bread, gravlax, herring, reindeer pate, and crab salad . This one I’m sorry I missed!
Well, that’s all 50 foods! My taste count is 13 from this batch. My taste tally 26/50. Anyone out there can beat my count? Let me know, and good on ya! I count ‘hakarl’ (rotten shark) and ‘boiled sheep head’ as the worst of the best!
For more information on Iceland, contact Carla Nelson, Branch Manager, Maritime Travel, 250.489.4788.