Icelanders are nearly fanatical about their hot dogs, and once you taste one, it’s easy to see why. The hot dogs are made mostly with lamb (and sometimes with a little pork) and traditionally topped with mustard, ketchup, fried onion, raw onion and remolaði, a mayonnaise-based sauce with sweet relish. And in a country known for being exorbitantly expensive, they are a delightfully low cost way to fill up and try a local specialty.
The Icelandic hot dog is available all over the country, at hot dog stands, convenience stores and even gas stations. In Reykjavik, the best hot dog stand is generally believed to be found at Bæjarins beztu pylsur (pylsur is the Icelandic word for hot dog), which has been around for over 60 years. The stand is located down by the harbor on Tryggvagata. There’s no address, but you can’t miss it. Just look for the little red building, and the crowd gathered around it. There’s nearly always a line (which can be quite long after the bars let out on weekends) but service is quick. If one want one with everything, just ask for it “eina með öllu”.
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Part of the appeal of Bæjarins beztu is its famous clientele. Bill Clinton ate his Icelandic hot dog here. Here opted for mustard-only; ask for a “Clinton” and you’ll get the same. Two members of Metallica also got their hot dog fix here – they liked them so much they reportedly shared 7! And in 2006, the British newspaper The Guardian selected Bæjarins beztu as the best hot dog stand in Europe.
A hot dog costs 280 ISK, which is just over US$2, and believe me, you’ll want two.
Photo by jayneandd