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Things you always wanted to know about Iceland (1) maí 25, 2006

Posted by herraheri in Herra the Heri, Icelandic Culture.

Ahoy there!

After spending the final week at my workstation (a lonely cave with a veeery comfortable bed), I now am back doing nothing at all. Plenty of time. But I don’t want to beat around the bush any longer: My ingenious plan to inform you a little bit about Icelandic culture comes true with this very post. Every now and then I will bring home to you Icelandic music, books, movies and other weird stuff. I’m going to start with something really weird today, that’s to say traditional Icelandic food. Keep your barf bags ready!

Icelandic food – Þorramatur

As the variety of eatable things wasn’t really of a great range in former times, early Icelanders ate pretty much everything they could find. And well, they found some pretty disgusting things on and around their island. Today, these things are particularly eaten at the so-called Þorrablót at the end of winter. Here is a choice of really fine dishes that make the Icelandic Cuisine so extra-ordinarily delicious: To begin with some eatable things: Hangikjöt is smoked lamb, which is often snacked with Flatbrauð, a minimalist bread. Sounds normal? Well, be patient, lurent reader! Harðfiskur is stockfish, which is hard as stones, but, with butter, tastes kind of good, in fact. Lundi is the meat of the Atlantic Puffin, which is only found in Iceland. Poor bird! Being one of the most popular Icelandic emblems doesn’t save him from being eaten up.

Atlantic Puffin.jpg

To get a little more hefty, let me mention Hákarl, which is fermented shark-meat. The secret of this mouth-watering delicacy is the process of maturation and decontamination (don’t ask…it’s about urine and stuff), which lasts for months and takes place a few feet under the earth’s surface. Hákarl is served in small cubes. Lekker! In the same category, there is kæst skata, fermented ray.


Now, it’s time to tackle real challenges: Svið is a singed head of a sheep with all its tasty content. The eyes are considered to be the best part of it (I will spare you the picture, click here to enjoy the look on this great meal). And behind súrsaður Hrútspungar hide the good old ram’s testicles which are served in sour milk. Bon appétit!

But we would do the Icelanders wrong if we kept the good things secret: Skyr is some kind of curd or thickened yogurt and tastes really good with various fruit (especially blueberry). Appelsin is a really tasty sort of orange lemonade. Mixed with malt beer it’s really one of the best things you can drink on Iceland. Brennivin („The Black Death“) is Icelandic Schnapps, which is really hard to drink....too strong for tarantino
But I can imagine they needed a drink like this to forget the flavour of their meals. (Kleinu)Hringur are donuts. Well, at least they look so, but they taste a little bit different.

Not so traditional, but Iceland’s No.1 meal is pylsa. I am perhaps goint to destroy your wildest phantasies about more disgusting shit telling you that this is simply a hot dog. It’s really popular there. In Reykjavík, you stumble over a hot dog stands every five steps. So you see: Icelanders are willing to learn.


My monkeys/authors/slaves are working on the next edition of Things you always wanted to know about Iceland. So be aware!

Herra Héri