|These babies are topped with mustard and a remoulade sauce with fried onions on the bottom|
|My husband Johnathon savors the yummy Icelandic delicacy known as the hot dog :)|
Other than hot dogs, there is another traditional Icelandic "delicacy" that most people read about before traveling to Iceland that I refused to try and that was the rotten shark. Yes, you read that right. Rotten shark, otherwise known as Hakarl. The meat is toxic if you eat it before fermenting it, which apparently drains all the toxins. Traditionally you eat Hakarl and then do a shot of brennivin, which is an 80-proof liquor made from caraway seed, but we just decided to do the shot of bennivin, sans putrefied shark:
I also tried some Icelandic beer, which was also pretty tasty. This blond beer had a hint of orange in its flavor. It reminded me a bit of oberon ale.
Moving from the traditional to non-traditional, believe it or not, the best meal we had the entire time we were in Iceland was at an Indian restaurant in Reykjavik:
Vij's in Vancouver.
I ordered the Kozhi Mappas, which is a chicken dish with garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and coconut milk. The sauce was the perfect combination of savory and sweet and had the most pleasing viscosity of any Indian sauce-based dish I have ever eaten.
Xoco in Chicago.
On our second trip to Austur Indiafjelagid (yes, we ate there twice), my husband ordered a tandoori dish (which is not a sauce-based dish, but comes out in a sizzling cast-iron skillet on a bed of onions very similar to Mexican fajitas. But this is way better than fajitas). His dish was called Margh Rajasthani and it was also a chicken dish that is marinated in ginger, garlic, cardamom, cumin, cloves, white pepper, and I'm going out a limb to say turmeric even though that wasn't listed on the menu because I can't imagine what else would give this dish its golden hue:
For dessert, we shared the pistachio kulfi, which is pistachio ice cream flavored with saffron
And as you can see by the look on my face and the empty plates on the table, I am one happy diner:
Another memorable meal we had was in a tiny village about 50 kilometers west of Skaftafell National Park called Kirkjubaejarklaustur (try saying that 5 times really fast). What was so memorable about this meal is that (1) the restaurant was very modern and had a fantastic menu for such a small village and (2) the menu had a nice variety of dishes but was still sophisticated and small. This is no easy task in a big city let alone a tiny village. The restaurant was called Systrakaffi and I will make sure to recommend it to anyone traveling to Skaftafell on their trip to Iceland.
My husband ordered the pan fried Arctic char and for someone (me) who doesn't like seafood, I found myself actually wishing I had ordered this dish because it was so meaty yet had a delicate flavor. You could absolutely tell it was fresh and had been fished in nearby waters.