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Iceland Food and Drink

Icelandic cuisine owes much to Scandinavian and European influences. As New Nordic cuisine has risen in prominence in recent years, so too has the profile of Iceland’s food with many experimental chefs cooking up a storm in Reykjavík’s restaurants. Fresh fish can be had all year round - Icelanders eat mostly haddock, cod, plaice, halibut, herring and shrimp, but Icelandic salmon, lobster and Arctic char are also very good. The lamb, which is reared locally, is free range, organic and extremely tasty.

Vegetarians are catered for but be aware that much of the greenery is imported into the country – it doesn’t grow well here. Home-grown vegetables are typically reared in greenhouses heated by the natural steam from geysers. It’s one reason why food can be more expensive than you would expect.

Specialities

Pylsur: Hot dogs made from lamb, beef and pork with optional accompaniments of onions, mustard and tomato ketchup.
Harðfiskur: A dried fish snack, often cod, haddock or ocean catfish, is usually dipped in salted butter.
Kjötsúpa: A lamb soup made with cabbage, root vegetables and occasionally a handful of oats or rice.
Skyr: A smooth and creamy kind of yoghurt made from pasteurised skimmed milk.
Hangikjot: Smoked lamb typically served with béchamel sauce at Christmas.
Svið: A sheep’s head cut in half, singed (to remove the hair), de-brained and boiled.
Pönnukökur: Thin pancakes rolled up with jam, powdered sugar and/or cream.
Rúgbrauð: A moist and slightly sweet rye bread.
Brennivin: A potent variation of aquavit made from potatoes.

Things to know

Apart from most hotels, restaurants and bars, alcohol is sold in state liquor stores throughout Iceland and is not available in supermarkets.

Tipping

Service charges are included in most bills and extra tips are not expected.

Drinking age

20.

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