Food Of Iceland: Hamburgers - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Food Of Iceland: Hamburgers

Food Of Iceland: Hamburgers

Published September 12, 2019

Valur Grettisson
Photos by
Art Bicnick

Although Icelanders consider shark meat their country’s traditional cuisine, in reality, the truly traditional Icelandic food is the old-fashioned, fat and greasy hamburger. For decades, you could not travel around the country and buy anything else than a sloppy, slightly overcooked burger. And you had to have coleslaw and kokteilsósa (Icelandic cocktail sauce) on the side if you didn’t want to be perceived as a traitor.

Icelanders embraced American culture early on, adopting the trash food culture like it was our own. Food experts say that the first hamburger was probably sold in Iceland in 1941, although some believe that the first was sold in the famous road shop Staðarskáli in Hrútafjörður in 1960.

Either way, Icelanders definitely caught burger fever in the 1960s. That much is true.

Food experts think that American soldiers taught a woman called Jakobína Ásmundardóttir to make this delicious folky traditional food when they were based here during the Second World War. If that’s the case, we salute thee, miss Jakobína, foremother of the wonderful Icelandic hamburger.

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