Think about the idea of typical Icelandic food and what comes to your mind? Fermented shark? Whale? Roasted sheep’s head? Well funnily enough, those aren’t as commonplace as you might imagine – which can only be a good thing if you ask me – and you’re far more likely to see Icelanders eating a good old-fashioned hot dog.
Hot dogs can be found all over Iceland from food vans, gas stations, and even the airport – they’re like Iceland’s answer to our fish and chips! The most famous of all of Iceland’s hot dog vendors is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, open since 1937 and still in the same location which happens to be a car park just around the corner from the Harpa concert hall.
What sets Icelandic hot dogs apart from their American cousins is that the hot dog itself is made from local, fresh, Icelandic lamb, with the addition of some pork and beef as well. This makes their flavour really unique – and that’s before you’ve even got to the toppings. Of course, these hot dogs are tricky to get hold of outside of Iceland, which makes my recipe completely unauthentic, one reason why I’ve called them Iceland-style rather than Icelandic!
Ordering an Icelandic hot dog “ein með öllu” (roughly pronounced: ane meth alt) “One with everything” will get you a hot dog topped with raw white onions, crispy fried onions, a sweet mustard sauce called pylsusinnep, and remoulade, a mayonnaise-based sauce with pickles, herbs, and a hint of mustard.
Let me be clear – I don’t like raw onion and I avoid it wherever possible, but when I visited Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur I was keen to try the authentic experience and had a hunch that this might somehow be different.
It’s difficult to recreate an authentic Icelandic Hot Dog without the lamb-based hot dogs and pylsusinnep sauce, but it’s simple enough to make a fairly close and enjoyable approximation! My recipe is one you can make at home without flying to Iceland to buy sausages.
- 6 Hot dog sausages
- 6 Hot dog buns
- Crispy fried onions
- 1 chopped raw onion
- Chopped chives or parsley
For the remoulade
- 3 tbsp mayo
- 3-4 chopped Cornichons
- 2 tsp tarragon
- 1 tsp capers
- Mustard powder to taste
For the mustard sauce
- 3 tbsp American mustard
- 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
- Mix together the ingredients for the remoulade and set aside. Do the same for the mustard sauce.
- Cook the hot dogs and warm the buns.
- Assemble each of the hot dogs in a bun and top with the sauces, crispy and raw onion, and herbs. Enjoy immediately!