From Iceland — The Anatomy Of An Icelandic Hotdog

The Anatomy Of An Icelandic Hotdog

Published October 10, 2016

The Anatomy Of An Icelandic Hotdog
Signe Smala
Photo by
Art Bicnick

It’s well known that the more time you spend in a certain culture, the more it breaks into you, shifting the delicate notions and beliefs of your mind and heart. For example, after only a month in Iceland, I am having second thoughts about my crusade against liqorice in chocolate, and now realise it’s just an acquired taste. So, for the sake of globalisation studies, I decided to see what Iceland has done with that trusted comrade of broke students, that consolation for workers in a hurry, and the reason for occasional regrets and meat sweats: the hot dog.

In order to fulfill this quest, I went out into the world in search of answers to the age-old question:

“What do you get on your Icelandic hot dog?”

Possible options:




Fried onion

Raw onion

Information on about 22 varieties of hot dog prepared and eaten in Reykjavík was obtained. This extensive research led us to the amazing discovery that each of the ingredients were present in 86% of these bread-embraced sausage snacks. None of the toppings were favoured over others or discriminated against—or, to look at it another way, all toppings were favoured and discriminated against to the same extent.  The most peaceful country in the world is also the land of justice, I’d say.

The only exception is lamb. All of the hot dogs contained traces of lamb meat. They do not give you the freedom to decide if you want to have the taste of this happy herbivore sitting on your tongue for the rest of the day. Because this is Iceland. Get used to it or go home.

One hot dog with happy meat and everything, please!”

In order to continue the task with this high level of scientific rigour, I next decided to carry out a survey, and to compare the answers of two groups: the lovely people on the streets of Reykjavík, and the staff of the Grapevine. From this robust sample size, we were able to conclude that the general public (those within 50 feet of our office, standing adjacent to the hot dog stand), 90% of the time, live their life to the fullest by taking the option of having everything on their hot dog. The Grapevine, on the other hand, are a bunch of picky pickers, who frown upon such things as ketchup and remoulade, and rarely dare to mash all of the presented variables together. But that’s okay. All hot dog eaters are beautiful.

So now you know: the true icelandic hot dog has it all. Lamb meat included. Find your apple ketchup, break out the mayo-cousin remoulade and go for it. Do not try to shy away from the distinctive taste of the moor-roaming animals by adding two layers of that sweet, brown mustard. Embrace it, be brave, and maybe you’ll move a step closer to finding your inner Icelander.  

*If you’ve read through all of the above, I congratulate you and thank you for your heartwarming loyalty, dear reader. And now—to the hot dog stand!

The Results

In the Grapevine office:

Everything: 5

In various combinations

Ketchup: 8

Mustard: 9

Remoulade: 8

Fried onion: 9

Raw onion: 9

*The obvious winners among the condiments were mustard, fried onion and raw onion, which were used on nine separate hot dogs. Only five people went for hot dogs with everything.

Outside the Grapevine office:

Everything: 10

Ketchup, remoulade : 1

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