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Eating Out in Iceland

Iceland’s traditional specialties include a type of haggis made from sheep’s intestines, a cooked sheep’s head, pickled ram’s testicles and shark meat which must be buried in sand for six months before consumption in order to make it edible. Why bother? If none of these are tempting your taste buds, and quite frankly it would be worrying if they did, fear not. There are more than enough alternatives to keep hunger at bay during your stay.

Fish is probably the most popular type of food consumed in Iceland. The excellent fishing grounds which surround the country are its most valuable resource accounting for 70% of the country’s exports. The fish served in Icelandic restaurants are among the most natural and tasty in the world and are fresh all year round. One dish favoured by both visitors and locals is harofiskur which is wine-dried haddock or cod and the one to steer clear of is hakarl, the Icelandic term given to that shark meat mentioned in the first paragraph.

Meat is also very popular and you will find that lamb, pork, beef, horsemeat and reindeer are readily available in every restaurant. Like the country’s fish produce, Iceland’s meat is also extremely natural. The use of hormones in animals is prohibited as is the import of meat so everything you sample is one hundred per cent natural. Lamb is probably the most widely used meat thanks to the age-old tradition of sheep breeding in the country. Try hangikjot which is a type of smoked lamb and is very popular in sandwiches. And, those that you might want to pass on are svio, the sheeps head, and surmatur which is the name given to the aformentioned testicle dish.

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