Monday, March 19, 2012
My trip to Iceland was not all about eating elaborately prepared food in dream-like restaurants. Even though I was there for the Food & Fun festival (which brings some of the best chefs from around the world to cook with Icelandic ingredients) I managed to fit in some more down-to-earth meals.
And if by down-to-earth you think I am referring to hot dogs, why, yes I am. But these are not just any old hot dogs. These are Icelandic hotdogs, which are more or less one of the national dishes. And I’m going to stop calling hot dogs right now and start calling them by their rightful name: lamb dogs. Ok, they are not 100% lamb, but a mixture of pork, beef and lamb. But since there are no cows in Iceland, few pigs, but more sheep than humans, I’m betting the lamb content is what makes these weenies so special.
The self-proclaimed best place to enjoy the national dish is at Baejarins Beztu Pylsur. (translation: Best Hot Dogs in Town). This tiny red and white shack is located right in the center of Reykjavik, near the harbour (across from the new Harpa Opera hall). It’s been there since 1937, is more or less in the middle of a parking lot, and serves one thing and one thing only: lamb dogs.
It seems to be open pretty much all the time. I stopped by at 10:00 am, for a post-breakfast snack, and I was not alone.
Served in a bun, I had mine with all three sauces: ketchup, a special lightly spiced mustard and a slightly sweet mayo flecked with gherkins. The dog was meaty and juicy, with a real snap to the skin. And the sauces blended together with each bite in a sort of salty, tangy and slightly sweet mix.
Although I only had one, I wanted another immediately. And realized I was not the only one to multi-dog: the wooden picnic table has a built-in, carved out stand to hold your dog-in-waiting while you scarfed down the first. Genius, right?
My only regret is that I didn't realize I should have asked for onions too: both raw and cooked. Evidently that is the way real aficionados order theirs.
Which is reason enough for a return trip to Iceland, don’t you think?
Bæjarins beztu pylsur
Sunday - Thursday 10am- 12:30am
Friday - Saturday 10am - 4:30 am