In the UK we have a concept known as the “kebangover.” This describes the horrific feeling you get when your already horrendous hangover is accompanied by the stale, fake-meat, heart-burning aftertaste of Britain’s imitation doner kebab. It’s a food that can literally only be ingested when taste buds have been numbed by alcohol, and all you need is a salty, fatty, carb-loaded mess in a polystyrene box. If you’re lucky, you’ll vomit it up straight after. If you manage to keep it down, then I’m afraid the kebangover awaits you. I would not wish this on anybody.
From one binge drinking culture to another, I was interested to see what Iceland’s post-bar cuisine was like. So, for the sake of investigative journalism, I did several shots of vodka, then headed to Lækjartorg, where the finest food trucks in Reykjavík assemble, ready to serve the drunken masses.
The main smell that permeates the area comes from the waffle and doughnut stands, which at any other time would be heavenly. But who wants to be reminded of sugar when they’ve had ten vodka and Cokes? That brings us to the savoury stands—namely the trucks selling either lobster or burgers. I’m a pescetarian, and the only option from the burger van that wasn’t mammal-derived was the fries. As much as I love fries, the classy gal in me wanted lobster.
The lobster truck serves lobster in the form of soup and rolls. I had nightmarish images of a creamy soup curdling with the vodka in my stomach, so I went for the carbalicious lobster roll instead. A word of quite obvious advice: when the person who works at the food truck seems surprised at your choice, that’s not good. The woman gave me a look that seemed to say, “You sure about that?” and, because I’m an idiot, I responded with a look that said, “Yeah I’m sure, don’t tell me how to live my life, give me lobster goddammit.”
If you’ve been to New England and tried the famous lobster rolls in Maine and Boston, you’ll recall the delicious, creamy, melt-in-the-mouth crustacean experience. This was not that. The worryingly lukewarm roll was crunchy and soft in all the wrong places. And tasted like dust. Some of the lobster fell onto the ground, and I was relieved. My boyfriend got a bag of fries and I stared at them enviously. There is no pain greater than drunken food envy.
Actually, there is. It’s the feeling you get when you wake up the morning after having washed down six shots of vodka with lobster bought off the side of a road. I’m going to call this the “lobster rollover,” the fishy cousin of the kebangover, and I would not wish this on anybody either. The good news is: I did not get food poisoning. The bad news is: I ate something that I was like 97% sure would give me food poisoning.
The moral of this story is—when in doubt, just get fries. Trust me.