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Iceland Cuisine


Most national Icelandic foods are based around fish, lamb and dairy products. Þorramatur is a national food consisting of many dishes and is usually consumed around the month of Þorri. Traditional dishes include skyr, cured ram scrota, cured shark, singed sheep heads and black pudding.

The modern Icelandic diet is very diverse, and includes cuisines from all over the world. Like in other Western societies, fast food restaurants are widespread.


Fish dishes in Iceland include Icelandic fish, caught in the waters of the North Atlantic, which have established a reputation for its superb quality and delicious taste world-wide. Fresh fish can be had all the year round, as can unsalted stockfish. Icelanders eat mostly haddock, plaice, halibut, herring and shrimp.


Perhaps the best is lamb meat (lambakjöt), mostly because the sheep range freely in the mountains. Iceland has strict regulations relating to meat production and the use of hormones is strictly forbidden. Poultry farming is considerable in Iceland. The most common types of bird reared are chicken, duck and turkey. Certain species of wild birds are hunted, including geese ducks and ptarmigan.

Dairy Products

Dairy products are very important to Icelanders. In fact, the average Icelander eats about 100 gallons of dairy products in one year. A wide range of cheeses and other dairy products are made in Iceland. There are over 80 types of cheese made, some of which have won international awards. Skyr (which is something between yogurt and the German "Quark") and mysa (whey) are specialities that have been made in farms through the centuries in Iceland.

Fruits & Vegetables

Even though Iceland is situated near the Arctic Circle, many garden vegetables are grown outside, including cabbage and potatoes. Some other vegetables, fruits and flowers are grown in geothermally heated greenhouses.


Iceland has a range of traditional foods, known as þorramatur, which are enjoyed seasonally from January to March. These traditional foods include smoked and salted lamb, singed sheep heads, dried fish, smoked and pickled salmon, cured shark and various other delicacies. Breads include laufabrauð (deep-fried paper-thin bread), kleinur (similar to doughnuts) and rye pancakes.

Hákarl (meaning ‘shark’ in Icelandic) is rotten shark meat. It is part of the þorramatur, the traditional seasonal Icelandic foods. It is known for its pungent taste and smell of ammonia. As such, eating hákarl is assoiciated with hardiness and strength. It is often accompanied by brennivín, a local schnapps.





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