From Iceland — One Woman's Quest for the Best Hummus in Reykjavík

One Woman’s Quest for the Best Hummus in Reykjavík

Published May 30, 2018

Juliana Iluminata Wilczynski
Photo by
Art Bicnick
Juliana Iluminata Wilczynski

Hummus is the elixir of life, especially for us vegans and vegetarians. This simple food made of chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic has conquered the world, and there’s a lot of it around on this cold lava rock in the North. And so it was, I went off into Reykjavík to find the best damn hummus money can buy.

My quest began at Salka Valka, Fish & More. Although Salka Valka takes a traditional approach flavour-wise, they have perfected it. I was also told that one of the chefs sometimes makes a mutant hummus with crunchy peanut butter substituted for the usual tahini, but I haven’t tried it yet.

Breaking up with Sómi

Next, I bravely ventured to Fiskislóð during a classic Icelandic summer rainstorm, arriving home in a pseudo-hypothermic state, drenched from head to toe. It was worth it because I got to experience the deliciousness of Dagný og Co. The chilli and garlic flavour features a hint of chilli with a garlic aftertaste. The avocado jalapeño hummus is tangy, but smooth and creamy because of the delicate blend of each ingredient. Dagný og Co is revolutionising the supermarket aisles of Reykjavík one hummus tub at a time, so that we don’t have to subject ourselves to the pitiful Sómi hummus. Sómi, we see you trying with your new flavours and all—but let’s work on it, okay?

Late-night hummus

Well, dear hummus fans, I’m here to settle a time-honoured debate, once and for all. Which one has the best hummus—Ali Baba, or Mandi? Of course, it’s Mandi. This isn’t even a controversial opinion. After consulting with my dedicated Instagram followers on where their favourite hummus in Reykjavík is, almost 90% of them said Mandi. While it isn’t my number one, I agree that it’s strides ahead of Ali Baba.

While Ali Baba’s hummus is spiced well, and for the most part tastes okay, it isn’t creamy enough, and it’s about 100 ISK more expensive than Mandi. Mandi is currently closed for renovations, but we can’t wait to buy more of their oily, spicy hummus.

No takeaway allowed

Sümac Grill on Laugavegur specialises in gourmet middle-eastern flavours with an Icelandic twist. However, unlike the middle-eastern eateries we have come to know and love—usually when drunk, or nursing a nasty hangover—there is no takeaway option. I felt practically insulted by this, and by the fact that I was forced to sit down to be allowed to even try their hummus. I also had to pay extra—almost three times the price of the hummus—to have something to dip into the hummus. This resulted in a steep 1,380 ISK for their hummus and flatbread. I guess the extra is for sitting down in a nice restaurant with pretty lighting, faux-leather menus, and lovely fabric napkins.

However, their hummus is excellent. The presentation is lovely, and it comes with a pool of quality olive oil, which is, surprisingly, made in-house. There was fresh parsley sprinkled on top, with a few pan-fried spicy chickpeas.

A solid option

Gló’s hummus is slightly more sour than the traditional recipe, as they add more lemon juice than most. You can take away a portion that’s enough for two or three slices of bread for only 100 ISK. You can buy a more generous portion of the same hummus at Brauð & Co.

And the winner is…

Overall, the best late night hummus is from Reykjavík’s post-club pride and joy: Mandi. The best fancy non-take-away hummus is at bougie Sümac. The best supermarket hummus is Dagný og Co, hands down.

I’ve now had more than enough hummus to fulfil all of my hummus needs for the next six months. As a vegan, that is significant. It’s safe to say, I’m hummused out.

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