I am a huge proponent of traveling through culinary experiences. What people eat and how they eat can really speak to a place’s culture and can bring you, the traveler, closer to understanding the place you are visiting. Navigating local food experiences is definitely a priority when I travel. And eating tons is a basic expectation of my trips.
What I did not expect, on my trip to Reykjavik, Iceland, is to experience the alleged “Greatest Hot Dog in the World”. When I think of Iceland I may think of a lot of things, like cold, northern lights, puffins, thermal baths, tectonic plates, volcanoes, fish, etc…. But certainly not HOT DOGS?!?!
Once in the small capital city (pop. just over 100k), any conversation with a local circled back to this “amazing” “world-best” hot dog. Obviously, I had to try.
This infamous, if only with the locals, hot dog was housed in a small, unassuming shack by the harbour and flea market. And on this wet, foggy day I found a considerable line comprised mainly of locals. Once I reached the front of the line, I did not even attempt to pronounce it by its Icelandic name, pylsur. “One,please!” the man behind the window shook his head, “coke?” He asked. Sure, why not?
The day before I had learned that Icelanders also LOVE their coca cola. And to my surprise, I began to notice a considerable amount of people walking around with 1.5L bottles of coke in tow.
Hot dogs and coke? Where was I?!?
I believe they may have asked me which sauces I wanted. To which I just nodded, all of them! It was what everyone else was doing. So on my extra long steamed frankfurter went this white sauce (mayo, I assumed) and a honey brown sauce that looked like honey mustard.
The finished product:
What did it taste like? Well kinda what you would expect a steamed hot dog with two mystery sauces to taste like. There was something particularly potent in one of the sauces that tasted a bit like goat cheese (which, I hate). But also, I found out it contained sheep meat, which is also on my avoid list. So all in all, I wasn’t particularly a fan.Then again, I like my hot dogs barbecued, toasted bun, with ketchup and relish. This was not that.
So no, FOR ME not the greatest hot dog in the world. Maybe Bill Clinton, who’s photo was posted outside the shop wall, would disagree.
And he wouldn’t be alone either. Icelanders are PROUD of their hot dog, very proud.
While I was trying to navigate my way to this hot dog shack, I struck up a conversation with a 28 year old local outside the flea market:
Me: “Are they really the best hot dogs in the world?”
Him: “Yes, absolutely, they are,” proud grin included.
Me: “But have you tried all the other hot dogs in the world”
I mean lets be real, to say something is the best in the world is basically an impossible claim.
Him: “No, I don’t like hot dogs.” He proclaims with a mischievous smirk.
Me: “Wait, what? You don’t even like hot dogs? But you like this one?”
Him: “Yes! It is the best in the world! I don’t even like hot dogs and I love this one”
Well that settled it then. My comprehensive study was over. I had found the best hot dog in the world, I was just unable to realize it. Here is another scientific study on this, so called, best hot dog in the world. While the methodology was the same, the results here were different.
Oh well, back to the drawing board….