Best Icelandic Food

Luckily people in Icelandic do not really eat þorramatur so much, except at þorrablót parties or as an act of bravado. Also a lot of stuff described as "Icelandic food" I would just call "food" - for example, you often see "traditional Icelandic pancakes" advertised in cafés. These are just pancakes, almost exactly the same as the ones in Britain or France. Yes, they are different from what the Americans call pancakes, but I don't see anything specifically Icelandic about them. You would be familiar with about ninety percent of the contents of an Icelandic supermarket - most of the food is imported anyway, from the USA or mainland Europe. However, there are some things that do fall under the category of genuine Icelandic food, and some are really good and they should get them in other countries. Here are the best ones:

1. Lifrarpylsa 
The only slátur worth bothering with, in my opinion. This is a boiled liver sausage, sort of greyish brown in colour with dots of pure white fat. I know, sounds amazing, right? But it actually is. I would describe the taste as livery, but then again although I don't especially like liver I do find lifrarpylsa delicious, so there must be something else involved. Traditionally Icelanders eat this in rice pudding (with cinnamon sugar and raisins no less), but that's obviously mental so I don't do that. I keep it in the fridge as a cold meat for lunch and snacks. It is very cheap, which also appeals to me. 

2. Skyr
This is technically a sort of cheese, but it looks and is used like a yoghurt. It is made of skimmed milk and rennet and is very high in protein / low in fat. You can get all sorts of flavoured skyr but I tend to just get the plain one. It tastes somewhat similar to Greek yoghurt, sour and creamy, and I eat it with muesli for breakfast, although it is also a good snack with fruit or sugar. It's a bit much to eat it by itself I find, although the flavoured ones are obviously fine.

3. Flatkökur
These are amazing! I'm not even sure what they are made of, but they are a sort of stone-baked flat bread. They taste great with butter and are better than normal bread. I try to limit my consumption to two a day, but I could happily eat way more than that. They have somewhat replaced toast for me. Once I found two in my cupboard that I had forgotten about and they had literally turned to dust, which was weird. There are only four in a packet, though, so it is usually easy to finish them in a couple of days. Or like fifteen minutes.

4. Harðfiskur
Delicious dried fish, usually haddock but occasionally you see catfish as well. I have brought this to people in Britain that haven't enjoyed it, and I have no idea why because it is incredible. Especially spread with butter like a sort of fishy biscuit. It just tastes of fish, basically, but a more concentrated flavour - just like the difference between fresh and dried fruit. The texture is flaky and chewy and harðfiskur has a tendency to create a lot of fishy powder, which on no account should you allow to spread itself around a car, for example, because the smell is potent. I would eat this a lot more often, but it is quite expensive so I have it only occasionally.

1 comment:

  1. Harðfiskur... Yum! I bring it back from Iceland and can't get any one to even try it! Oh well more for me (I'm in Iceland now, so I can have all I want!)