Skip to main content

The Manual may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

What’s So Great About the Icelandic Hot Dog?

Icelandic hot dog
Brian Farrell/Getty Images

Iceland is home to a great number of wonderful things. The land of fire and ice touts an incredible music scene, gorgeous scenery, a tremendous soccer team, puffins, and the northernmost winery in the world. And that’s just the tip. As relatively remote and unpopulated as the place is, Iceland punches well above its weight — especially when it comes to hot dog brands.

Leave it to the industrious Scandinavian nation to improve upon a dish we Americans know all too well: the hot dog. The Viking version is better from top to bottom, from its protein choice to its many accoutrements.

In Reykjavik, Icelanders like to cap off the runtur, or pub crawl, with a satisfying dog. The city’s most famous vendor, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, stays open well through the wee weekend hours to accommodate the buzzed and hungry masses. The outpost’s convenient location at the bottom of the main, bar-filled drag in the 101 District makes it a worthy finish line after an indulgent evening.

You may have heard of the place. The Guardian named Baejarins the best hot dog stand in all of Europe in 2006. The place has been around since 1937 and as the website proudly declares, has served the likes of Bill Clinton and Metallica members over its legendary run. Many in Iceland consider the hot dog to be a national dish of sorts.

Bæjarins Beztu Icelandic hot dog
Bæjarins Beztu/Facebook

What makes it different? For starters, the dog itself. Most places hock beef or pork dogs but Iceland focuses on something it has plenty of — lamb. Then there’s the mustard. It’s a vibrant kind, dark and sweet with a kick of vinegar and sometimes fermented onions for added flavor. The ketchup is sweet and typically incorporates apples while the remoulade, made of mayo, capers, and herbs, adds and earthy, briny element.

The bun is steamed and warm, great for thawing hands during a typically brisk Reykjavik night. In terms of toppings, there are usually raw and fried onions added to the mix, the former adding freshness while the latter provides warmth and an almost candied flavor. Those from the northern town of Akureyri are known to add red cabbage while diehards will still occasionally add some Icelandic yogurt. Follow your stomach, you can’t really go wrong.

Nothing else quite tops a weekend in the Icelandic capital, frequenting places like Kaffibarinn and 12 Tónar, before finishing at Baejarins Beztu for the real thing. But if you’re stuck stateside, you can replicate the recipe at home. Peruse the aisles of your local Scandinavian shop or browse Nordic goods online at places like Scandinavian Specialities

Per Icelandic tradition, pair the dog with a chilly Coke or refreshing boreal lager. For a more creative alignment, try a bright Pinot Noir or Gamay to play off of the dog’s gamier meat profile. A cider is also a great option, particularly something crisp and dry. Finally, the tropical kick of a good hazy IPA can also serve as a complementary match. The Phaser from Ecliptic is a great option and ready to enhance timeless grub like hot dogs.

Or, just have a celebratory shot or two of Reyka. Even if you’re not abroad, you can imagine you’re standing in line with a bunch of of fast friends, waiting for one of the best riffs on the hot dog on the planet. 

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
Watermelon, cucumber, and bourbon make for the perfect summer cocktail
Mix yourself a juicy, refreshing 52 Reasons cocktail to sip for the summer
52 reasons cocktail  1

Does anything say summer more than a great big slice of fresh, juicy watermelon? As a cool and refreshing snack, watermelon is a staple favorite for picnics and barbecues. But this fruit doesn't get used in cocktails all that often, which is a shame. While there are watermelon cocktail recipes out there, it's always a pleasure to see some more. And a new recipe from Eric LeGrand Bourbon called the 52 Reasons incorporates watermelon juice for a fruity, sippable summer delight.

The recipe calls for both watermelon juice (which is easy to make in a blender -- just blend chunks of watermelon with some water and a dash of sugar to taste) and cucumber mint simple syrup. The cucumber adds to the cool, juicy nature of the drink, and the mint adds some freshness. These balance with the spicy, sweet notes of the bourbon.

Read more
What you need to know before you bring wine to a restaurant
What is a corkage fee?
Person eating in restaurant with plate and white wine

A great meal is only as good as the wine being poured alongside it. Many restaurants tout impressive bottle and glass pour lists but sometimes you just want to bring your own special selection. Whether that wine is a favorite you've been cellaring for years or just a prized producer that's hard to find here, special bottles are often welcomed at restaurants, for a price.

Corkage fees tend to apply to higher-end wines, so while we have nothing against a good bargain wine, leave the Two Buck Chuck at home. The corkage fee alone could probably buy you a half case of that stuff. Instead, go with something great, as the whole point is to enhance the meal while still paying respect to the restaurant's wine program and use of its staff, glassware, service, and the like.
What is a corkage fee?

Read more
The incredible IPAs that belong in your shopping cart
Add these IPAs to your must-try list

At last count, more than 9,000 breweries are currently operating in the US. That’s a crazy amount of beer being produced daily. And of those 9,000-plus breweries, a large percentage makes at least one (if not many) IPA.

Even if you were to drink a few dozen every day, you’d never find the time to try even a fraction of them. That means that if you’re a fan of hoppy, dank, and piney IPAs and hazy, juicy, and fruity IPAs, you need to pinpoint the ones that you absolutely need to try.

Read more