The traditional cuisine of Iceland
In the 9th Century, Norse Viking Warriors came to Iceland with one intention. The intention was to settle in the Scandinavian country. Cold harsh weather had habitants scavenging for food from anywhere they could get. Iceland is basically surrounded by the extremely cold Atlantic ocean, therefore the extreme harsh cold weather also surrounds it completely. With having an ocean right alongside its coast, local dwellers started fishing for food in the ocean due to the scarcity of animals on the Icelandic surface. The Atlantic Ocean is a large habitat to different species of fish, which made it possible for individuals living in Iceland to have food. This is the reason that most of the cuisine found in Iceland is made up of fish.
A Culmination of Extravagant and Delicious Ingredients:
Fish has also been helping Icelanders economically in the aftermath of the 2008 Financial crisis. Since then fish has been a huge part of the economy as it has become the most exported material from Iceland driving its economy to a better future ahead. Even in Iceland’s capital Reykjavik alone, fish is being consumed in a shipful of quantity, which means in thousands if not millions. Different species are cooked to perfection or according to customer’s preference in a restaurant. Many high-class restaurants in Iceland are based on the seafood alone, specifically fish.
Why do People like it?
Fish is almost universally liked by everybody and Iceland, a country whose whole cuisine is predominantly based on fish is no exception. Since settling in the country known for its natural landscape, residents have been devouring fish just to survive the harsh weather. But along the way, as the fish transformed into food course and at times a delicacy, now everybody in Iceland love fish. They have developed a taste for it and the fish is also very much culturally attached to individuals.
This was the food that was available in multitudes of numbers and helped with the survival of ancestors of the residents. They say that individuals who eat fish in Iceland do it is a way to celebrate the culture of their ancestors who were the early settlers of Iceland. This historical and cultural significance of fish has led to a huge increase in the popularity of it as a food in Iceland. Even the national food/dish of Iceland is a fish (more of a shark than a fish). This does not at all means that residents do not love it as a food itself as you will find many different ranges of dish that has something relating to a fish or the seafood. Now let’s get into some of the most famous and traditional fish from Iceland:
Hakarl – Fermented Shark:
Most tourists in Iceland are suggested to eat this at the advice of the locals (because of their fondness with it). Although most tourists do not like it for the ammonia taste it has, so, therefore, tourists end up saying that this is the worst food they have eaten in their lives.
Reykjavik Outventure offers 2 tours that offers the tasting of fermented shark. Reykjanes Peninsula food & drinks.
Also Guided Reykjavik museum food & drink walking tour.
The Black Death:
It is a schnapp made from fermenting grain or mashed potato with a little bit of caraway thrown in for flavor. One of the other reasons its called Black Death is because it makes the drinker wild. It also makes the drinker also forgetful most of the times.
In Iceland, it is now considered more than a leftover of food. Many cafes and restaurants serve this dish to visitors. Most makers of this dish have disagreements over the true ingredients of the dish. Some people like to leave the ingredients in the fridge for overnight. Others present the dish with a fish as fresh from the ocean it can possibly be. It is considered to be the favorite dish of the current president of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson. Johannesson’s mother says that he always likes a serving of homemade stew whenever he visits her.
Hardfiskur – Dried Fish Jerky:
We warn a prospective eater that one the pack is open, smell spreads like wildfire. It is a common occurrence in many of the households in Iceland. The Icelandic version of butter goes very well with this delicacy so do not forget to pack this too. A hardfiskur can have its creation from a dry haddock, cod or a flounder. Once dried to perfection these fish become like beef jerky that is popular in the United States of America.