Pylsur - Icelandic Hotdogs

Reykjavik pylsur                                 Although Iceland is notorious for exotic foods such as hákarl or Svið, hotdogs could very well be considered the national dish. Like most of Scandinavia, hotdogs are serious business and pylsur stands are found everywhere. I've had layovers in Reykjavik a few of times and I always have a couple pylsur while I'm walking around. I like the air in Iceland. It's crisp and fresh, and it make me hungry.

Icelandic hotdog pylsur
Next to the indoor fleamarket is Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, Icelands most famous hotdog stand. Everyone eats here, and so did I. Ordering “ein með öllu” is how it done here, but "one with everything" is the proper way to get a hotdog wherever you travel, as far as I'm concerned. In Iceland everything means ketchup, mustard, remoulade, raw onions and crispy onions. Pylsusinnep is the sweet mustard especially for hotdogs. Remoulade is the king of condiments in Scandinavia, a sweet tartar type sauce. The set up is almost the same as a ristet pølse you get at pølsevogn in Denmark. The best thing about Icelandic hotdogs are the sausages themselves. Made of lamb, pork, and beef, their meaty, slightly smokey, and have a good bite. Sláturfélag Suðurlands seems to provide the SS Pylsur to almost all of the hotdog stands in Iceland including Bæjarins Beztu, and because the condiments are all store bought, the Icelandic hotdog experience is pretty much the same no matter where you go. So if the line-up at midnight on a Saturday is to long at Bæjarins Beztu don't panic, just go down the walking street and you will find the exact same thing at another place.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
Icelandic style hotdogs are pretty good, but the condiments are too sweet, and too messy. Everything drips everywhere and soaks into the bun. Although it may upset Icelanders, Danish remoulade and Danish hotdog sennep are far superior. Thicker and tangy they cling to the hotdog and don't soggy the bun. At least Icelanders understand the concept of the bun, unlike Danes, who serve a tiny roll on the side and eat the hotdog with their fingers, dipping it in the condiments like barbarians. In Iceland the onions are placed in the bun before the hotdog. This stops them from falling all over the place. I put all the condiments on top in the lead photo to highlight them.

The Messy “ein með öllu” from Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur

icelandic hotdogs
Store Bought SS Pylsur
You can buy everything you need to make an authentic Icelandic hotdog at the airport when you leave, which is what I did. Make sure to buy a couple of packs of the SS Pylsur, even if you don't want to carry around the condiments to go with it.

Building an Icelandic Hot Dog

1. Poach SS Pylsur, or the best quality natural casing hotdogs you can find, in a bottle of hoppy beer. Yes beer.
2. Place the onions inside the bun and lay the hotdog on top. Fresh chopped as well as crispy dried. The dried shallots you find in Chinese supermarkets are as good if not better.
3. Mustard. Honey mustard is an ok equivalent to pylsusinnep, but Bavarian style Weißwurst Senf would be better.
4. Remoulade. This is hard to find outside Scandinavia. Mix English style piccalilli with Miracle Whip and blend as a substitute.
5. ketchup. I don't think Heinz is good on hotdogs. Aylmers Ketchup in Canada is much closer to the Scandinavian brands. Cheap generic brands in the USA are also better on hotdogs for some reason.


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1 comment

  1. I enjoyed this well written article. Suggesting North American equivalents for the mustard, ketchup, etcetera was a nice touch!



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