What is the Food Like in Iceland?

Many people dream of a trip to Iceland.  I can happily report, I’ve been there, and I’ve done that.  Today I’m proudly going to tell you all about it.  More importantly, I’m going to focus on the food in Iceland.  As my mouth waters, let’s get right into it.

What do People Eat in Iceland?

Iceland Food

Iceland is a cold nation, rarely seeing temperatures reaching the 50’s, even in the Summer!  If you can believe that, and also know that the country is a remote, quaint island way out in the middle of the ocean, you understand that there aren’t a lot of things available to hunt, gather, and cook. It’s a very small country, and living off of the local flora and fauna means that you are going to have many meals over and over again!

Let’s start with breakfast.  People start their morning with very fine breakfast pastries.  There is a great place on the main street of Reykjavik called the Sandholt that has fresh pastries and amazing coffee.  In addition to pastries, people consume Skyr, which is very similar to yogurt, but with a different flavor profile.

Moving on to the latter parts of the day, this is where you can get very exploratory. Lots of fish is eaten here.  Salmon, Monkfish, and mutton, and pickled herring are all common as well.  You can even eat Minke Whale, which as you can probably guess, is a bit blubbery but very tasty.

Soups are absolutely huge in Iceland.  They have choices of vegan soups, and meat soups.  The vegan soups are mostly made from potato leeks and carrots, among other things, and the meat soups can have a lamb base normally but also mix the beef and pepperoni at times as well.  Made in a hot bread bowl, this was my absolute favorite thing to eat in Iceland, and it’s especially good after a long day in the cold weather or after a long hike.

Bizzarre Foods in Iceland

They have some rare stuff that many people are shocked by.  The first one, is horse.  Yes, horse!


Horse is a very lean red meat, and I’d compare it to a ribeye steak.  It’s very tasty, tender, and muscular.  It’s not cheap, and it’s not available many places, so if you are lucky enough to find somewhere that has horse, jump at the opportunity to have it. It’s something you can’t get in many places, and it’s truly delicious.

Another Icelandic dish people eat is called Hakarl, which is fermented shark.  Fermented shark will be something you smell from a block away, as the ammonia that accompanies it is very strong.  You’ll be in shock the first time you smell it, but you do get used to it.  Usually this is served with a shot of the local Brennevin, which is akin to a Sambuca, and is considered a local moonshine type drink.

Ram’s head is sold by the bus station and is considered a delicacy in Iceland.  People even eat the eyeballs! They even eat Ram’s testicles, but I didn’t experience that one nor run into a bar or restaurant that had that for sale, otherwise my curiosity would have got the best of me and I’d probably have tried it.

Well, that’s about what I know during my trips to Iceland.  Be ready for a lot of bread, a lot of lamb, and a lot of fish. While that may be different in comparison to what you eat in your neck of the woods, it’s something that will definitely show you the culture of the lovely place called Iceland.



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