Icelandic Food - From a Traveling Foodie



I just got back from a week in Iceland.  For someone who moved to Florida from New England for the sun...  This was  a different kind of vacation.  Ours was a private tour for four of us.  We were happy as we learned so much about the island and we were able to travel on paths the busses could not go.  We were in a jeep with tires taller than me!

Iceland is a gorgeous country. In fact, when the Vikings first discovered it, they named it “Iceland” to keep other settlers away. They loved the island so much that they didn’t want anyone else to find it. 

I  had the chance to see the wonderful sights and spend some time with some amazing people. But of course, we can’t forget the important stuff— the food! 

The Icelandic diet consists of a lot of fish and seafood, as well as lamb, a dark rye bread called Rúgbrauð, and dairy products like butter and cheese. 

Rúgbrauð is super dense, with a hint of sweetness. Traditionally, the pans of bread are buried near a hot spring and cooked underground. You can watch a video about how this works here 

For a traditional snack, many Icelanders choose Harðfiskur— dried fish. Back in the 18th century, dried fish was eaten in place of bread. People swear it tastes amazing slathered in butter, and it’s considered a healthy alternative to popcorn. If you ever go to Iceland, I encourage you to try it. 

Also, Icelandic fish in general is a must-try. In the water surrounding Iceland, there are about 340 different types of saltwater fish, including:  

  • Halibut 
  • Cod 
  • Catfish 
  • Mackerel 
  • Capelin 
  • Monkfish 
  • Whale


  • The Greenland Shark 

Most restaurants serve “fish of the day,” which usually means it was caught less than 24 hours ago. Amazing flavor and freshness! 

For the brave at heart, try a bite or two of Hákarl. Hákarl is Greenland Shark that has been fermented and dried to take out the toxins in the meat. (Eating Greenland Shark without fermenting it can be deadly.) 

Many people find Hákarl disgusting. It has a strong ammonia smell, so if you feel brave enough to try some, pinch your nose first! 

Then there is Puffin.  I just could not eat that cute little bird but my husband tried and and said it was good.  

Reindeer is also very popular in almost every restaurant.  We had it served as Reindeer Carpaccio.  Again it's a cultural thing for me..  I did try a tasted but it was hard to eat it and think about Rudolph!  Everyone else at our table enjoyed it very much.

You will also find hot dog stands everywhere in the city of Reykjavik.  The lines a long so have cash handy and go for the everything hot dog.  It is topped with onion strings.  

And, last but not least, we can’t forget Skyr. Skyr is a yogurt-like dish that can be found in grocery stores in Iceland, Great Britain, and even here in the US. The flavor is similar to Greek yogurt. It’s traditionally served with milk and topped with sugar and berries.  I have to admit....  It was one of  my favorites.  

The caves, volcanos, waterfalls, scenery and of course the Northern lights are all beautiful.  The local people are super nice and very helpful.  It is expensive to dine out so if you are on a budget research restaurants in advance before you arrive.  

Have you ever been to Iceland? If not, would you go if you had the chance?  It seems to be on everyones bucket list that I talk to!