Thursday, March 30, 2006

Hotdog anyone?

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur means "the town's best hot dogs" and is the name of a hotdog stand in central Reykjavík. It is located on Pósthússtræti in Reykjavík, near Kolaportið. Almost everyone in Iceland has eaten a hot dog in Bæjarins beztu.

Among famous people who have eaten a hot dog at Bæjarins beztu are Bill Clinton, former president of the USA, and James Hetfield, singer with the popular heavy metal band Metallica.

The hot dogs at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur are often said to be the Icelandic national food.

The basics of an Icelandic hot dog:Icelandic hot dog sausages are made from a mixture of pork, lamb and beef. The fat content is quite high, as you can see if you grill or fry one. The bun is a regular hot dog bun: sweet, soft, light and white. The condiments are varied, but the most popular ones, the ones you get if you order eina með öllu (“one with the works”, or in Icelandic-English: “one with everything”) are:

Remoulade. This is an originally French sauce meant to be used with fish. The basic recipe is mayonnaise mixed with capers, mustard, herbs, anchovies, and gherkins, but I think the Icelandic version leaves out the capers and anchovies. At any rate, no one makes it at home because of all the work involved.

Ketchup. There is a sweet, locally made ketchup that contained, among other things, apple sauce, but these days it’s usually the imported, tart type.

Mustard. If it’s “one with everything”, it will be Icelandic Pylsysinnep (“hot dog mustard”), brown and not too bitter, or Danish sweet yellow hot dog mustard. In addition, you may find Dijon and hot mustard, but not on an ein með öllu.

French fried onions. These are crisp and delicious, sort of dried, deep fried brown onions (like the kind you put on good old green bean casserole) and add a good crunch to the hot dog. This is the classic ein með öllu. Purists claim that for it to be a true ein með öllu, you also need raw, chopped onions, but this is only for the brave and not recommended if you have a bad stomach or intend to kiss someone. At any rate, these are the condiments you will find everywhere they sell pylsur.

And now for the extras:

Kokkteilsósa, or cocktail sauce. An Icelandic invention and distant relative of seafood cocktail sauce. The home-made version is made from mayonnaise and ketchup. More elaborate versions add sour cream, a bit of mustard and a touch of garlic. Great with French fries (indeed, some Icelanders will not eat fries without kokkteilsósa), fried fish and roast chicken. Some also like it with hot dogs.

Salsa, chilli sauce, both hot and sweet, garlic sauce, hot dog relish and green (cucumber) relish. Relative newcomers on the hot dog scene, and quite popular with the crowd who will try anything. Last time we were in Iceland, we stopped at a gas station in Hafnarfjordur and when we asked for everything on our pylsur, we were also given potato salad on the top, sort of like a chili dog would be, only it was potato salad. It didn't taste bad, but I prefer the potato salad on the side, as it interfered with the lovely taste of the pylsur itself.

Pickled red cabbage. Especially popular in Akureyri (capital of the north), where the idea is thought to originate. As does the hotly debated (among purists) addition of French fries. I’m not referring to a hot dog with fries on the side, but a hot dog with fries stuffed in the bun. Called Akureyringur (person/thing from Akureyri) among the rest of the nation (as are hamburgers with fries in the bun). This reminded me of when I was in Tirane, Albania, and we stopped for a sandwich at a small, humble shack. We were served a very weird flat, pink, hamburger with a crisscross pattern stamped on it (anyone remember Kennel Ration dog treats?) with some kind of french fried potatos stuffed in the bun on top of the "hamburger." It didn't taste bad, but I've never before seen the fries inside of the sandwich... again I prefer them on the side.

Icelandic lamb hotdogs are the greatest food on earth... I'll easily argue that fact with anyone. When G and I came back from Iceland last time, we stuffed as many frozen pylsur into our backpacks as we could fit, along with the dried crispy onions, mustard and remoulade to accompany it. We have two lone frozen "dogs" left in the the freezer, as we have been hoarding them. I may just break down and eat them tonight. (Sorry Sweetie) :-)


Autumn Storm said...

What a great post! :-)

(Classic Danish hotdog, simialr, classic bun, red sausage, remoulade, mustard, ketchup, raw onions, fried onions and gurkin slices - variations include red cabbage and other sauces)
Would I eat one? No way lol. No argument from me though on the Icelandic Lamb hotdogs, until I've tried one :-D

did you give in to temptation??!

Hope you are having a great day, x

Becky Nelson said...

So, you went to iceland right?
You fell in love with it?
Is it where your man is from?

Where is he now?
Go ahead and eat the left over hot dogs.
Your the one who has to stay home alone.

mergrl said...

ok I'm hungry now LOL hope you have a great friday (hugs)

Jeanne said...

My stomach's growling. Urgh. We've got hotdogs in the fridge, but they don't have any lamb in them. I make a very good piccalilly from zuchini which I will eat them with, together with ketchup. It will have to do.

Mo'a said...

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!I love Baejarins Beztu. The first thing I will do when I land in Iceland is to have me one with sinep and fried onions. I am a purist, however, I was tempted one time and had one with everything.....yes the raw onions also :) But it is the lamb hotdog taste I love.
I will have onions, sinep and lamb hotdogs with me when I return to the US Mmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!

Jeanne said...

Oh, and I would definately eat them. Hotdogs that have been in the freezer too long taste bad, and that would be a waste...

ECS said...

now that you've had the hotdogs, you can go one better with my ABSOLUTE favorite fast-food in RVK, Hlölla Bátar (the website sucks, btw). They've taken the lamb to another level in their sandwiches, and contain a lot of similar ingredients as the hotdog with everything. J and I managed to replicate it at home, and it was insanely good- thinly sliced lamb, toasted onions, purple cabbage, and pítusosa ("pita sauce"- better than the cocktail sauce IMO), tomatoes. You gotta try it when you're here- it's the one place I dreamed of before I moved here.

Sherri said...

Yummy!! Ironic, I just had a hot dog for lunch today! :D

tsduff said...

Autumn, your Danish hotdogs sound almost as yummy as the Icelandic ones. Better than the US ones at any rate! And no, didn't eat them yet... tonight's the night I think :-)

Hi Becky,
Yep, went to Iceland, fell deeply in love with the little country, and my Man is an Icelander :-) Remember when you and I lived across the street? I fell in love with him when I was 14 and he was 15... he was my very first Love. He spoke Icelandic to me then, and now. Now we have been given back to each other after 33 years... who could have imagined it?

He is in Florida right now, tending to his Mom who is mourning the death of her husband (G's dad)last month, after 58 years of marriage, and he is helping her with the mountains of paperwork (SS, pension, insurance, etc).

I think I will have to eat the dogs soon.

HI TRACE! I'm hungry too, after re-reading this yummy hotdoggy post. My stomach is growling, and it's not even 10 a.m. yet! Happy Friday!

I make a very good piccalilly from zuchini which I will eat them with
Is piccalilly (piccadilly?) a relish? It sounds fabulous - what else is in it? Those lamb hot dogs are good to eat with anything, or nothing! Actually, might grab them for lunch instead of dinner tonight...

Moa, that sinep is addicting! I haven't ever tasted a mustard like it in the US - it looks like it would be hot but it is quite mild. The bottles are the cutest - I have two which are quite empty, but I keep them because I like them.

E, thanks again for the tip. Do you have an address for the Hlölla Bátar? I don't want to miss it. There are so few lamb places here in California... unless it is an osso bucco or fancy roast at a restaurant forget it. Years ago there was a place in Canoga Park, CA called The Bear Pit, which had sawdust all over the floors, and served a mountain of thinly sliced hot bbq lamb on toasted garlic bread... Man alive, my mouth is watering just remembering it. They closed it, and I've suffered ever since.

Autumn Storm said...

Happy Friday, Terry, hope you have a fabulous weekend!!!!!

volcanicsoul said...

DO NOT HESITATE,eat those dogs,just don't micro-wave them.Love You gb

tsduff said...

You said there were only two left... there are three big ones in there!!! Ummmmmmm.

tsduff said...

Hi Sherri - hotdog Friday, eh? No subway buffet with germs ala H? Hot dogs rule.

Thanks Autumn - :-)

Volcanic Soul (soulmate of mine :-) I will save one for you. But I may finish off the onions... LOVE T

sister celtic said...

terry thats awesome you write so well i'm just glued with interest.. wow..what a description kindda like flookys, der weiner snizel , cupids of the usa.. giggle

Anonymous said...

I am icelandic and just must add the useless information that some Icelanders do make remúlaði at home by blending a very unnatural remúlaðimixture one buys in the shop with mayoneese. :)

tsduff said...

anon... so glad you stopped by. I'll have to try this "Icelandic" way of having the remúlaði when we are there in June :-) I love the stuff!