Icelandic Hot Dogs

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While many people might think that Iceland’s national dish is fermented shark, or sheep’s heads, or whale meat, but that’s not correct. Icelanders love grilled lamb, lobster, fresh fish, and hot dogs – they eat lots and lots of hot dogs. Unlike in the U.S., hot dogs aren’t dismissed as lowly fast food, though they are the cheapest meal in pricey Iceland. You’ll see people eating hot dogs throughout the day—for lunch, dinner, a late-morning snack, and after the clubs close at 4 a.m. on the weekends in Reykjavik.

Hot dogs are so ubiquitous in Iceland, that they’re practically the Icelandic national dish. Like in the United States, they are sold at every gas station, convenience store, inside malls, and road side hot dog stands, but the most popular place to get one is at at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur (which translates to “best hot dogs in town”) in Reykjavik . This internationally famous hot dog stand has been open since 1937 and has fed dozens of famous visitors like President Bill Clinton.

Icelandic hot dogs are made mostly from Icelandic lamb, along with a some pork and beef. The accompaniments are also quite different from those used in the U.S. Icelandic hot dogs, which have a natural casing that gives them a delightful snap when bitten into, are topped with raw white onions and crispy fried onions, ketchup, sweet brown mustard called pylsusinnep, and remoulade, a sauce made with mayo, capers, mustard, and herbs. There are variations, but you haven’t eaten a hot dog like an Icelander until you’ve had “one with everything.”

Icelandic hot dogs are served in a paper “boat” or wrapped in a piece of wax paper. Most Icelander order their dogs “ein með öllu” which means “with everything.” That means the steamed sausage will come served in a bun with all the condiments; including ketchup, sweet mustard, remoulade, crisp fried onion and raw onion.

Grab some extra napkins—eating this baby can be messy, but delicious!

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