Missing in Iceland: A Real Deli - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Missing in Iceland: A Real Deli

Missing in Iceland: A Real Deli

Published May 18, 2017

Don’t listen to what anyone tells you: there are no delis in Iceland. Oh, you can find pizza shops or the occasional high-end grocery store calling itself a “deli.” But what you’re not going to find is a sandwich shop where you can choose from a variety of meats and cheeses for said sandwich, or buy said meats and cheeses by specific weight. Nor will you find such deli mainstays as corned beef, “Swiss” cheese, or marble rye. The fact is, Iceland doesn’t really have much of a sandwich tradition. The traditional Icelandic sandwich is toasted ham and cheese, and more recently, subs. The concept of a shop where you can buy meats and cheese by specific weight, and build sandwiches from your choice of bread, meats and cheese is fairly alien to the culture. And when it comes to getting meat or cheese by specific weights, you’ll also have your luck cut out for you, at least to the extent of variety of your typical deli. As such, you will need to search here and there for things like pastrami, marble rye or Swiss cheese, and construct your own high end sandwiches at home. If you do happen to find such individual items here and there, good for you. Tell everyone. And then pool your money together to open an actual, real and true deli—one other thing that is, to our culinary detriment, missing in Iceland.


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