5 Things You Need to Know About…Icelandic Food

By Anne Roderique Jones  |  August 23, 2013

Introducing our new column, 5 Things. This quick tidbit of timely information is the perfect way to start your weekend. 

In honor of the opening of Skal, the Northern-Icelandic restaurant on the Lower East Side, we’re talking about all-things Iceland. Fresh, seasonal dishes that are heavy on seafood are a main focus of this county’s food, but there are a few quirks, too. You may not see them at Skal, but here are five things you need to know about Icelandic cuisine.

1. Skyr: it’s everywhere. This yogurt-like concoction is used in everything from desserts to sauces. Its rich, creamy texture one-ups Greek yogurt.
2. Iceland is hot dog obsessed. Its dogs are made with lamb, pork and beef and have serious snap.
3. This county pushes the boundaries of your meat comfort zone. Think whale, reindeer, sheep’s head and shark.
4. Speaking of shark, you may have heard of hakari, aka fermented shark. Anthony Bourdain once said it was the worst thing he’s ever tasted.
5. Brennivin, or “black death,” is Iceland’s national drink. This country loves the sharp taste of black licorice, and this beverage pays homage with a pungent schnapps.