Reykjavík for the hot dog lover

Iceland Airwaves has started. In true I heart Reykjavík fashion, I’m not going to tell you all about how last night went because that’s what everyone else is doing. I’m not a music critic, I’m a just a girl with a blog, asking you to love her city (five points for those who get this reference). I also didn’t want to bother with the camera this year due to a gear inferiority complex, so I won’t be sharing any videos either. Instead, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about Icelandic hot dogs.

Icelanders are obsessed with hot dogs

First of all, don’t let anyone tell you that it’s OK to call an Icelandic hot dog pulsa. It’s pylsa. This really shows the importance of hot dogs in our culture because almost everyone has an opinion whether they are called pulsur or pylsur and I personally have engaged in heated discussions about this topic many many times. We care so much about our hot dogs that we’re willing to spend ridiculous amount of time arguing with people about hot dog terminology.

I also have a friend, around my age, who up until recently had hot dogs for dinner every Friday basically since he was old enough to eat solid foods. It was a family tradition, one that they cherished so much that they kept it going even though most of the children had already moved out and had started having their own children. Now, that’s commitment to pylsur.

Where to get them

The happy couple line up for a hot dog

Even newlyweds have to line up at Bæjarins beztu

You can get a hot dog pretty much everywhere in Reykjavík. We have hot dog drive throughs, every little corner store sells them, you can get them at gas stations and convenient stores or you can go to the hot dog mecca itsel: Bæjarins beztu. Bæjarins Beztu, short for Bæjarnis beztu pylsur, is probably Iceland’s best known restaurant. Which is weird when you think about the fact that it’s basically a shed with one thing on the menu: hot dogs.

Legend has it that the reason the pylsur at Bæjarins Beztu are the best is the fact that they boil them in water mixed with beer. There are also some conspiracy theories floating around saying that SS (I know, very unfortunate name), the hot dog manufacturer Bæjarins Beztu uses, give them special hot dogs made out of better ingredients. These theories and legends have not been confirmed by Bæjarins Beztu to my knowledge but their hot dogs are suspiciously good.

How to get them

You’ve probably heard the phrase eina meö öllu which loosely translates to one with everything. Everything includes raw onions, crispy fried onions, ketchup, special Icelandic hot dog mustard and remulade. I for one can’t stand the raw onions so I get eina með öllu nema hráum (one with everything but the raw). You can also get a Clinton, named after one Bill Clinton, which is just a plain hot dog with mustard. Then of course you either drink Coke with this or Kókómjólk (chocolate milk), depending on the mood.


Icelanders don’t just buy hot dogs on the go, you can also buy them at your local supermarket and make them at home. It’s important to find the brand you like the most because they don’t all taste the same and then you must boil them correctly. Actually, the trick is not to boil them. They come pre-cooked and all you need to do is heat them in water until they are on the brink of boiling and then you take them off the heat. Some people also say that you shouldn’t use too much water because that way they loose their taste. You can buy all the toppings at the supermarket too and for optimal experience you heat the buns a little before you put in the toppings. The onions and the ketchup go on the bottom, the mustard and remulade on top.


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3 thoughts on “Reykjavík for the hot dog lover”

  1. mm Auður says:

    This just in – the boyfriend tells me there’s no Kókómjólk at Bæjarins Beztu downtown, only at their other locations around Reykjavík. He then proceeded to calling me an amateur 🙂

  2. Danielle says:

    Hi! Just got back from Iceland (it was our honeymoon) and we used your site to plan!! Thanks so much! Do you know where we can buy pylsusinnep and have it shipped to America? We tried but the site does not seem to be working for us. Any suggestions?!?

  3. AJ says:

    Hi, I lived in Iceland, Reykjavik for about 3 months (summer) and it was one of the most interesting and amazing experiences I’ve had in my entire life. Even though I’m only 31 years old, I’ve lived all over the planet including São Paulo, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Paris, Geneva and Australia at the moment.
    I have to say that I still crave the amazing taste of the famous Pylsa. I used to go there at least twice a week and eat a couple of those hotdogs. I would love to know if it is possible to make one at home that will have the same taste (meaning the ingredients and mustard, ketchup etc) I remember they had a unique taste. The first time I tried I didn’t like it so much, but after going back a few times I just got addicted to them. I left Reykjavik in July 2008 and I still miss everything in there.
    Anyway, thanks for your time and this awesome article. Cheers!

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