The Most Unforgettable Icelandic Territory of Taste (Part I)

Who knows about the blue lagoon? Thousands raise their hand.

Then, who knows what svid is? Silence is approaching.

Iceland’s magnificent landscape attracts tourists and travellers at the first place to visit the country. I have to admit, this attracted me too at the beginning. You might have known lots about the country’s beauty, but you barely heard about the unforgettable delicacies the country has. Am I right?

For a 26yo Indonesian-born traveller who have used to Indonesian savouries, I found the Icelandic cuisines seemingly weird. Completely weird. I wouldn’t have imagined myself eating rotten shark and a boiled (literally) sheep’s head served with mashed potatoes on my plate. Well, that was the very first moment my tongue met the taste and my brain tried hard to decrypt and recorded the taste.

Few days (and months. and years) after, there are things I always passionately mention every time I talk about Iceland: the Icelandic delicacies!

After 3 second, I started to feel its sensation

Thanks to Birna, my friend from Iceland, Hákarl (roughly translated as rotten shark) was the first Icelandic food I ate before coming to Iceland. I was so excited when Birna told me it was a shark meat. Come on, I never had one! The meat itself was cut into cubes and Birna prepared toothpicks to pick a chunk.

I ate a whole chunk excitedly but then after 3 seconds, I started to feel its sensation: my throat bursted into fire. I couldn’t imagine my grimace when I was chewing Hákarl. I loved the shark’s meat texture but I thought Hákarl wasn’t that friendly with my throat. After returning from Iceland, I saw an interview with Ben Stiller (who previously filmed a movie in Iceland) saying if he didn’t have the courage to try Hákarl.

:: Nabila’s Tongue Level: Extreme.

Hákarl (rotten shark)

Then, I met my all-time favourite light bite

I was so in love with the Icelandic harðfisk (translated as hard fish). This is kind of a light-bite dried fish. I often bought it at mini markets (most often at a supermarket called Bónus whose yellow plastic bag and pig logo caught everyone’s attention) to accompany me while roaming around Iceland. I just… couldn’t stop snacking harðfisk for the rest of my trip and it tasted the best when dipped into the Icelandic butter. Harðfisk’s price depends on the type of fish and brand. I didn’t know which fishes I chose since the plastic wrap didn’t mention any translation. Moreover, the cheapest one is as always the white brand one (the supermarket’s brand).

I brought several packs home to Indonesia only to sadly find my family didn’t like its strong odours. Besides, I didn’t believe my google result sayin’ if harðfisk was also used to dare some tourists. NOOOOOO.

:: Nabila’s Tongue Level: ❤ 

Harðfisk, my fav Icelandic dried fishes! ❤

This is not a Yoghurt, Nabila, It’s Skyr

It is a must try if you come to Iceland. the SKYR. It is pronounced as skeer. This yoghurt-like dairy product has been a traditional (and unique) Icelandic delicacy for more than a thousand year. Whooops, did I just say a yoghurt-like? Sorry. The Icelanders prefer not to compare Skyr to yoghurt because they persist that Skyr is not a yoghurt. For more information about Skyr and how it was made, please find it here.

I have no choice but to compare Skyr with yoghurt to describe how it is. For me, Skyr feels thicker than any common yoghurt or let’s take one comparison: it’s thicker than the Greek yoghurt. It also tastes less sour than any yoghurt. Skyr is a surprisingly non-fat dairy product despite its thickness. Many references (and also Birna) said that Skyr has more proteins than other dairy products.

:: Nabila’s Tongue Level: comme ci, comme ça *) I prefer its drink version called drykkur.

Skyr

These Soft Drinks Tasted So….Good!

I am no fan of soft drinks. But when Siggi told me this soft drink non-alcoholic beer is a traditional one from Iceland, I was eager to try. Why is it called a “beer”? Because Maltextrakt is brewed like how to produce a beer (source).

Meanwhile, Appelsin is Iceland’s orange soda. It is sweeter than any orange soda I have ever drank. Psst, never compare it with an orange Fanta :p At least in front of an Icelander. Both Maltextrakt and Appelsin were produced by the same company called Egill Skallagrímsson Brewery (Icelandic: Ölgerðin Egils Skallagrímssonar). Maltextrakt is the oldest while Appelsin is the best-selling product. The best way to drink either Maltextrakt or Appelsin? Mix them together! OMG! I wanted to cry because Maltextrakt-Appelsin mix tasted super super good. The Icelanders usually mix both for a classic Christmas drink.

“A little tip:  Mix the drinks alphabetically, first Appelsín and then Malt.  To prevent a large foam head.” – Source

:: Nabila’s Tongue Level: either Maltextrakt or Appelsin (comme ci, comme ça); mix (❤).

 

It will be a never ending post talking about the unforgettable Icelandic territory of taste. This post is to be continued to the second part and we are gonna talk about more extreme level delicacies!

To be continued…

Cheers,

*) French. English translation: so-so.

nabilaasad

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