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What food should you try in Iceland? What are the typical local dishes and how do Icelanders normally eat?

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Icelandic cuisine

Like other Scandinavian cuisines, Icelandic cuisine doesn't use much spices and herbs. The local cuisine is not known for its strong flavours. In recent years, however, it has received more and more attention.

The foods you will encounter most often will be various types of fish and seafood, lamb, potatoes and skyr (a fermented milk product).

Fish and seafood are prepared in myriad ways in Iceland. For example, you may find dried fish meat. Iceland is also infamous for its national dish 'hákarl', or fermented shark meat, which is washed down with cumin brandy. If you dare to try it, expect a very specific smell and taste of this dish.

In addition to fish, it is common to see lamb in restaurants and also whale meat, specifically minke whale, which has caused much controversy.

As for dairy products, skyr, a sour milk product similar to yoghurt, is definitely worth a try. Like yoghurt, it is consumed in Iceland in unflavoured form (white) or with various fruit flavours. Recently, it has also found its way onto the shelves of Czech supermarkets.

How to eat like a local

A very popular and especially cheap way of eating is the already mentioned hot dogs or "pylsur". You can find stands selling them in the centre of Reykjavik and at the petrol station on the outskirts of the city. You can choose from a variety of fillings. The best way to get your fill is to order an 'eina með öllu', which means 'one with everything'. Be prepared to pay approximately 3 eur for one hot dog.

There are also plenty of fast food joints and bistros in Iceland where you can eat well for a relatively low price. You can choose between burgers, Asian cuisine or a "Viking" kebab.

An Icelander without coffee is like a salmon without water. In the towns you will find many cosy cafés where, in addition to good coffee, you can try Icelandic pastries or have a small bite to eat while watching the rain outside the window.

Usual prices in restaurants

In Iceland, many places operate as a café during the day, a restaurant in the evening and a bar in the later hours, so you can easily spend the whole day in one place. You may find lower prices in such establishments. However, eating in traditional restaurants can be very expensive. You can usually pay between 3 000 isk and 4 000 isk for a main course in a restaurant.

Expect to pay around 7 eur for a beer in a restaurant or bar , and even more for a glass of wine. Hotels and guesthouses usually offer breakfast, but this is often not included in the price of the accommodation. You can usually pay extra for breakfast 9 eur - 11 eur.

There are plenty of restaurants in Reykjavik where you can really enjoy meals made with local food. Worth mentioning are restaurants such as Dill, Kex, Icelandic Fish and Chips and Fiskfelagid.

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