Sunday, December 18, 2011
A whole post on a hot dog stand? Of course, especially when Baejarins Beztu Pylsur is one of the most famous restaurants/stand in a parking lot in all of Iceland.
In my research for Icelandic cuisine, one place kept reappearing. Both locals and foreign tourists alike stop at Baejarins Beztu Pylsur ("Town's Best Hot Dog") for the 300 korna frank.
Ask for it with everything and you'll get ketchup, sweet mustard, fried onion, raw onion and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. The sauce is striking. As with much of Iceland's saucy cuisine culture, it is bold and sweet like a tangy gravy. I've mentioned before that Icelandic lamb is special. The addition of lamb to the mix of beef makes the sausage unique. There characteristic flavors of lamb shine, even through the sauce and other toppings.
Considering how expensive food, among other things, is in Iceland. Baejarins Beztu makes an excellent cheap meal. Find it near the water in the old Northwestern part of Reykjavik near the port, across from the Radisson.
Baejarins Beztu Pylsur
Tryggvagata 101, Reykjavik
Friday, December 2, 2011
The city of Reykjavik may be the Northern most capital in the world, but it's more of the character of a town than a city of almost 120,000. Icelandic cuisine may not be as famous as that of the Scandinavian countries, but Reykjavik has sufficient diversity in cuisine.
The main drag through the town's commercial district is Laugavegur, the strip of expensive boutiques, bars, and restaurants. Although much of Iceland's appeal lies in the scenery of the majestic glaciers in the winter and the mossy green fields in the summer, the capital does have its appeal as a cosmopolitan scene with a sophisticated populace. Alcohol is expensive, as is most everything; it is not uncommon for Icelanders to pre-party at home before hitting up the many bars around town.
Trying to stick to a budget, I didn't want to break the bank with any meal in Iceland. Entrees at low end restaurants average around $20-$40 USD. A cursory glance at Chowhound pointed me to famous establishments like 3 Frakkir and Einar Ben. Instead, I settled for the moderately priced Icelandic Fish and Chips.
I had heard that this restaurant provided fresh catch of the day, battered in organic spelt and barley. The result is a fried fish that doesn't weigh you down while highlighting the natural flavors of the fish. The catches of the day were haddock and cod so we ordered one each.
The "chips" are oven roasted potatoes, but we also got a side of deep fried zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower. Icelandic Fish and Chips is also famous for their skyr dipping sauces. Skyr, technically a cheese, but most closely resembling a strained yogurt is ubiquitous throughout Iceland. It is like a very thick Greek yogurt and can be eaten sweet or savory. At this restaurant, the menu offered a selection of "skyronnaise" sauces. We had to try the sampler.
The flavors were basil and garlic, coriander and lime, rosemary and green apple, ginger and wasabi, tartar, roasted peppers and chili, honey and mustard, orange and black pepper, mango chutney, and sun dried tomatoes. Honestly, having that many sauces to choose from, I lost track of which one I liked the most.
It wasn't until after the dinner that we realized this was our Thanksgiving meal. Although this may have been the first time I haven't celebrated Thanksgiving properly with a family meal, we were too content to notice.
Icelandic Fish and Chips