Iceland 101 – Part 4: Eating & Drinking
It can get really pricey when eating out in Iceland but a few tips to save some money is to eat fancy during lunch vs. dinner. The prices for the same meal items are generally 1/2 the cost of the dinner prices. I mean, once in a while, its good to splurge but if you spend a few extra days in Reykjavik, this might come in handy.
Hotdogs – Icelanders LOVE their lamb hotdogs. Most popular restaurant in Iceland is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. Its a hotdog stand near the marina and theres usually line ups. Now the first time I’ve had this hotdog, there really wasn’t much to it until our second trip to Iceland and we had bought a pack of it as our camping staple. Along with that oddly brown mustard / curried remoulade and fried onions, its pretty damn good. A hotdog can cost you about 390kr. Dont buy it from those places in the center of the city where they also sell doner kebobs.. frequenting Europe, you learn to distrust those guys IMO.
If you’d like to stock up on cheap snacks for the road before heading out on your tour, we recommend visiting one of Iceland’s budget grocery chains: Bónus or Krónan. These stores are typically open from 10:00 to 18:00 although weekend and holiday hours vary. Bónus has two locations in downtown Reykjavík at Laugarvegur 59 and at the corner of Hallveigarstígur and Ingólfsstræti. Krónan is located just past the old harbour in the shopping centre at Fiskislóð 15-21.
In small towns and villages in rural areas, the most common grocery chain is Samkaup. Most major gas stations around the country such as N1 also include convenience stores with basic food items and small cafeterias serving hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, etc.
When travelling in Iceland you may notice a “rotten egg” smell when running hot water in a sink or shower—that is simply a naturally occurring smell from the geothermal water source, and it poses no health risks. As for drinking water, it is perfectly safe to drink cold water from the tap in Iceland.
Aside from bars, restaurants and some hotels, alcohol is only sold at state liquor stores called Vínbúð throughout towns and villages in Iceland. Most locations are open between the hours of 11:00 and 18:00 Monday – Saturday with no service on Sundays or holidays. Cheapest place to purchase alcohol is actually at the duty free shop at the airport. You can purchase on your way out (don’t worry, the duty free is AFTER customs) and stock up… if you guys want an “open bar” per sé
Skyr – Like yogurt but its actually a soft cheese. You could eat like for breakfast or whenever really. Also used for desserts. Very yummy
Minke Whale – Iceland’s whaling has been a long standing tradition, I feel that most places that do serve this only serve it for tourists.
Brennevin – Icelandic schnapps. Most of you have been over for our dinners and I’ve probably served this at some point. Served super frozen and usually used as a chaser after eating
Hákarl – Apparently a national dish. Fermented Greenland Shark cured for about 6 months underground. Smells gross. Tastes gross.
Pylsur (hotdogs) – see above re: hotdogs
Harðfiskur – Dried fish (cod?) snacks. Can be found in most convenience stores and groceries
Hangikjöt – Smoked lamb. Too smokey for both of us to enjoy.
Puffin – We’ve only tried this once. The one we’ve tried was smoked – too smokey for our taste</p>
Rúgbrauð – Traditional rye bread
Hverabrau – Rye bread but baked underground using geothermal heat. Very dense and yummy. Better than above.