There are a few foods that might be considered staple foods in Iceland,
most notably skyr (description below), but none are common enough to constitute
being a staple food. In addition to skyr, fish or lamb is found in nearly
Regional Variations & Specialties
Þorramatur: a dish with shark meat soaked in ammonia; more traditional
Hangikjot: smoked lamb or mutton boiled and sliced; generally served
with potatoes and peas in a dairy sauce
Kleina: deep fried dough
Plokkfiskur: cod, halibut, or haddock mashed with potatoes, onions,
butter, flour, and milk, then topped with bearnaise or hollandaise sauce
Skyr: a cheese that looks and tastes like yogurt
Although Iceland is known as an expensive country, they
are a very informal country whose dining rules are based on family dining rather
than on formal receptions or events. Being invited into a local's home (particularly
for business) is somewhat common, but you are expected then to follow their protocol.
This begins with a nice bottle of foreign wine as a gift, followed by removing your
shoes at the door.
Whether in a home or at a restaurant, you will be considered a guest and their lax
dining rules will be given even more flexibility for you as a foreigner, but do
try to follow suit. Generally speaking, dining is similar to other Nordic countries
and Europe. Eat in the continental style (knife in the right hand, fork in the left),
keep your hands visible by resting your wrists on the table, and finish all the
food on your plate. If there are shared dishes, don't take the last of the food
from a plate unless you first ask and are granted permission.