As my plane descended into the mystical city of Reykjavík, I couldn’t help but wonder what this trip was going to bring. I booked my ticket last minute on a whim, knowing very little about this small country, and doing very little research beforehand.
I knew it was going to be beautiful but I couldn’t shake my father’s voice out of my head saying, “Iceland? What are you going to eat there?”
I racked my brain thinking of the possibilities and I started to get worried when the only thing I could come up with was putrefied shark and puffin.
The moss-covered lava rocks dotted the landscape in the distance, along with breathtaking waterfalls and the fluffiest little sheep you’ve ever seen, on our way to the colorful city center where I was going to be staying the next week.
A sense of euphoria fell upon me as I walked around the chilly streets, gazing into the windows of all the restaurants that line the street.
I decided upon a famous unpretentious little place located by the harbor in an old fisherman’s hut that is known for their lobster soup. Taking my first sip of the soup felt like a spiritual awakening — my eyes had been opened to the Icelandic cuisine.
It was rich and creamy with a slight sweetness from the Icelandic lobster and a finishing touch of brandy. It was perfection and I instantly wanted more.
My days consisted of hiking on hundred year-old glaciers, diving the crystal clear glacial waters of the continental divide, exploring waterfall filled parks, soaking in the warm blue lagoon, and eating as much as I could.
While there I was lucky enough to meet a well-known chef that insisted that I eat at his restaurant, to which I respectfully obliged.
That night I was treated to eight courses of pure heaven: fresh Icelandic langoustines, beautifully sweet cod, wild succulent Icelandic lamb, and so much more. Every bite left me speechless and my appetite more insatiable.
One chilly afternoon I was treated to an Icelandic favorite: a pylsur. A pylsur is a mouthwatering lamb, pork, and beef hot dog sinfully smothered in ketchup, sweet mustard, remoulade, crispy fried onions and raw onions.
I had one bite and instantly went back to the stand to order the next one for when I was finished devouring the first.
The hot dog itself has a slight game flavor from the lamb, with the perfect amount of fattiness from the pork and richness from the beef. It was the perfect combination of meats to be topped with the most delicious sauce and crunchy fried onions.
The flavor of every ingredient I tasted while in Iceland tasted unaltered; it tasted like it should. The seafood tasted sweeter, the meat tasted richer, and the dairy had an immense amount of flavor that will forever consume my mind.
Leaving Iceland, I not only left one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen, but one of the most unexpectedly tasty food destinations, and it left me hungry for more.
**This post originally appeared in the NY Daily News**
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