Food of Iceland: Harðfiskur - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Food of Iceland: Harðfiskur

Food of Iceland: Harðfiskur

Published June 7, 2019

Valur Grettisson
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Finally! Food that is not only for the brave or foolish. ‘Harðfiskur’, or dried fish, is basically superfood. Research conducted a few years ago by Matís (Iceland’s food Research, Innovation and Safety authority) found that dried fish is a very rich source of protein—it’s actually 80-85% protein! I can literally hear the joyful cries of the Keto-maniacs. Even the bodybuilders are into it.

Also, harðfiskur’s amino acids compared to the amino acids in eggs. The conclusion was that proteins in the dried fish were of high quality. This supports the marketing of dried fish in the health foods and traditional food markets.

Harðfiskur is most often made of haddock, wolffish or cod. And, despite being a traditional Icelandic food, the method of making it is not even that disgusting. They fillet the fish and hang it up outside on special trestles to dry—before they do this, they of course roll it in salt. We can’t really flee the salt-culture of Iceland. And that’s actually the only downer when it comes to the health benefits of harðfiskur; it’s too salty.

But how does it taste? Like goddamn candy. Roll that sucker in butter (imagine the butter is dip) and it will be glorious. Dried fish is the candy of north; you haven’t lived until you’ve tried it. But watch out for that healthy protein, it will make you live a healthy live forever!

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