Everybody knows what a hot dog is. It is such a popular and yummy food and at the same time a simple and cheap one. They are just a sausage in a bun with some toppings, but God, do we love them! Many countries, cities and regions have their own signature hot dog, so the flavor is never the same. The key element can be the sauce, maybe pickles, maybe the type of meat. Whatever the recipe of the hot dog is, be sure that this tasty treat has now become Iceland’s unofficial food. This is great, because if you’re traveling in Iceland on a budget, this yummy foodstuff will be right up your alley.

Icelandic hot dogs with brown mustard

Hots dogs have become ubiquitous all over the globe. They are easy to eat, cheap and their ingredients are tasty. The truth is, Americans really love hot dogs, so most people tend to associate hot dogs with American culture. But where exactly do these delicious treats come from? How come they ended up being so popular in Iceland? Well, those are some questions we will answer today!

The History of Hot Dogs

It’s a bit hard to know exactly who invented the hot dog or where they were invented, but we can still trace their origins. One of the most important ingredients of the hot dog is sausage. This is part of European culture and it is a staple of German cuisine. Around 1800, thousands of Europeans went across the pond and emigrated to the United States. Along with their culture, they also brought their various cuisines and favorite foods.

Some state that the frankfurter originated around 1487 although there are older references to sausage in some Greek scriptures and the Odyssey. The Germans, as well as other Europeans, kept their tradition of eating sausage in their newly adopted home, the United States. The yummy European sausages needed a good companion and that was when it met the bun. In 1871, Charles Feltman, a German baker opened the first hot dog stand on Coney Island in New York. Here, he served the “dachshund” with a bun. Dachshund translates to badger dog or sausage dog.

Icelandic Hot Dogs in the original kiosk in Reykjavik

The combination of a sausauge on a bun became so popular that it became a standard snack at baseball games and finally ended up spreading all around the globe.

Hot Dogs in Iceland

Iceland is a European country with continental European culture and background. Sausages have been around for a while as well but it was not a basic or everyday ingredient in the typical Icelandic diet. As many of you already know, Icelandic cuisine revolves around seafood and fish.

It was not until 1937 when a little kiosk opened by Reykjavik’s harbor that the yummiest hot dogs arrived in Iceland. The current owner, Guðrún Kristmundsdóttir, learned how to prepare this delicious treat from her grandfather. He was the first owner of Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, a small business that translates to “The best hot dogs in town.” It became an instant success and Icelanders loved it.

Why Hot Dogs are so Popular in Iceland

Icelandic hot dogs have a different recipe from the ones many are used to. Most hot dogs are made of beef or pork while the Icelandic one is made out of lamb. These lambs graze freely in meadows and many hot dog lovers say that this type of meat tastes better. The sausage is boiled and not grilled and you can add some extra toppings. Among the traditional ones are raw onion, sweet brown mustard, remoulade, crispy onions and ketchup made with apples instead of sugar. What a nice, healthy twist on an old classic! These new flavors also give the Icelandic hot dog a distinctly different flavor than American hot dogs.

Baejarins Beztu Pylsur is the best spot for Icelandic hot dogs

Icelandic Hot Dogs: The Country’s Unofficial Food

The flavor and simplicity and simplicity of hot dogs have made them famous and popular in Iceland. But they are also very popular among tourists. The main reason is how cheap and yummy they are. Hot dogs still cost around $3-4 USD, but that’s a bargain compared to the average restaurant price in Iceland. In 2004, Bill Clinton visited Reykjavik and had one of Iceland’s famous hot dogs. He absolutely loved it! Icelandic hot dogs were then all over the news around the globe.

The hot dog stand has not moved an inch from its original location. Locals and visitors alike queue up every day to try these amazing bites. That is why hot dogs are Iceland’s unofficial food.

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