The Icelandic Hot Dog – Dip Your Taste Buds in Pylsa


A hot dog is the most commonly sold food worldwide. Iceland is known for its picturesque locales but did you know that it is also known for hot dogs? Pylsa or Pulsa, as the people of Iceland call it, is a kind of hot dog unique to the country. It is called Pulsa in the influence of the Danish language while Pylsa is more of an Icelandic term. Travelers from across the world visit Iceland not just for its natural magnificence but also for its street food. There are specific tours that you can choose to experience the mouth-watering dishes in Iceland. The Reykjavik Food Tour is one of the most famous food trips for explorers. There are also some other food and heritage walks too that you can take into consideration while planning your itinerary to Iceland, for example the Ultimate Night in Reykjavik tour. 

Icelandic hot dog

What’s so Special about these Hot Dogs?

Pylsa hot dogs are most loved by the locals. Whether it is a newly opened Icelandic hot dog stand or a famous one, they all are mostly crowded even if the temperatures outside are on a record-breaking low. These hot dogs are traditional and they are being relished for more than half a century. Although no expert can point out where the origins of this hot dog lie, they are lip-smacking. Mostly, hot dogs are cooked using pork or beef around the world. Icelandic hot dogs are made from lamb meat. This adds to the charm of these hot dogs. When initially the hot dog stalls were constructed, the buildings around were not there. Gradually Iceland flourished and developed, but hot dog stalls still stand at their places. This gives you an idea of the loyal hot dog fans in Iceland, who do not allow these stalls to move due to any developmental activity.

Only Organic Ingredients

Hot dogs in Iceland enjoy special attention majorly because of the ingredients used to make them. Icelandic lamb is a key ingredient used along with pork and beef. Interestingly, most tourists tend to think that fermented shark is the most loved food in Iceland. The reason for this notion is that fermented shark is officially declared national food of Iceland. This notion is false though as not many locals eat shark and the hot dogs are most loved and most enjoyed food all over Iceland.

The lamb, pork, or beef used for making hot dogs are not ordinary. They are not chemical or artificially raised stock. These animals are organic, free-range, grass-fed, hormone-free stock used for your food dishes. The sheep in Iceland graze over lush green fields, in a pollution-free, clean environment. The supplementary diet of these animals is various kinds of berries and leaves. Livestock is raised in pristine environments all over Iceland. Pylsa hot dogs are prepared using these organically raised lambs. The secret for the taste of hot dogs is also considered their boiling process. Chefs dispose of the pieces which are held for too long in the water. This is why they all taste so good.

It is the Magic of Spicy Sauces

These special Icelandic hot dogs are served piping hot, peppered with the topping of raw white onions and crispy fried onions. Just like the hot dogs, the way of serving is also unique to the Icelanders. The sauces are specially cooked to garnish Pylsa hot dogs. Served on a warm steamed bun the hot dogs have a spicy taste with a dash of mild sweetness. The sweet brown mustard called pylsusinnep is the main condiment used, apart from this tomato ketchup and remoulade are spread over the hot dog to make it tastier than ever. Remoulade is a sauce made with mayo, capers, mustard, and herbs. Many people do not like the taste of raw onions and if you want you can eliminate that from your hot dog but Icelandic taste experts advise against eliminating anything. They believe that it is best to have Pylsa the way most Icelanders have- with all the above-mentioned condiments. Although it truly depends upon you whether you want to have it plain or garnish it with sauces.

Icelandic hot dog

The Special Way to Order it

Like everything else about this extraordinary hot dog, there is also a special way to order it. After patiently waiting in a long queue over a hot dog stall, when your turn comes, all you need to say is ‘ein með öllu’. It is roughly pronounced as ‘ane meth alt’. After this phrase, the chef will prepare your hot dog using all the sauces and spices. This special hot dog has other ways of preparation too. Skyr, which is similar to Greek Yogurt, can also be used to make hot dogs. As a matter of fact, Skyr was used as a sauce before mustard made its way to Icelandic culture. Mustard is least liked by many Icelanders simply because it is not a native crop. But adding it to the hot dog delightfully enhances its flavor.

Another interesting part is that chefs and even locals in Iceland like to keep the recipe of Pylsa hot dog a secret. So whenever you ask them what is the secret for this delicious dish, you will never get a satisfying answer.

Where can you try it?

You can find these hot dogs stands in almost every city, town, or village in Iceland. Every few meters there is a local small shop or stand available to treat your taste buds with hot dogs. If you are in a hurry for a trip, you can have these hot dogs on the go too. They are available at every gas station and convenience store. So you do not have to especially stand and wait, you can grab a hot dog from anywhere in Iceland.

Interesting Fact: Although the secret of these savoring hot dogs is always hidden, some Icelanders believe that the chefs add beer while frying the Pylsur. Whether they do this or not, you can try the trick if you like experimenting with your food recipes.

Icelandic hot dog
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