Icelandic Hot Dogs

Endless Road Trip Iceland: The Best Hot Dogs in the World?

Icelandic Hot Dogs

When you think of Icelandic food, you probably think of fresh seafood and exotic delicacies. What you might not think about is hot dogs, but you’d be making a grave mistake. In fact, cheap hot dogs are so beloved over there that they’re often called the Icelandic National Food. I recently returned from a trip to this magical country, and while I ate tons of exciting meals (don’t worry, those will be recapped later on), one of my most memorable culinary encounters was a 2:00am street hot dog. I mean, I love unique hot dog experiences, so how I could I resist seeing what all the fuss was about?

After a night of drinking in downtown Reykjavik we ventured out into the night to find Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, Reykjavik’s most popular hot dog stand. It’s extremely well-known in these parts, named the best hot dog in Europe by the Guardian and a favorite of visiting celebs—most famously, Bill Clinton is a fan.

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PlanEat: An Education in Our Food Choices Trailer from on Vimeo.

Ed. Note: More from our resident evolutionary biologist Ph.D., EvoDiva.

The AFI Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland presented a special viewing of “PlanEat,” a documentary that broadly examines how the food choices we make affect everything around us. The title leads you to believe that it’s all about the planet, but it’s that and so much more.

We were lucky to have the young British filmmaker Shelley Lee Davis introduce her first film to us via Skype. Three years ago, she used to argue with her vegetarian boss over his dietary choice. But the more she discovered, the more urgent it seemed to get her newfound message to the masses. She quit her job and co-produced this film (with Or Shlomi) with no start-up money and no budget for marketing. Given all this, the film itself is impressive.

Of course it’s not about the killer special effects though – it’s about the content. We’ve heard morsels of much of this stuff before. The filmmakers interviewed scientists who study the relationship between food production and its impact on the environment. The wastewater from America’s breadbasket factory farms flows down the Mississippi River and creates a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico the size of New Jersey. The most striking (and frankly depressing) finding was that ovo-lacto vegetarians tend to have a worse impact on the environment than poultry eaters. This was based on the assumption that ovo-lacto vegetarians consume LOTS of cheese, and those cows really drain our resources.

Meanwhile, for those of you out there who can’t afford a new hybrid, you don’t have to get your tree-hugger card taken away: simply maintain a plant-based diet and you can have over 30% more of an impact than your flesh-eating, hybrid-driving friends.

As an evolutionary biologist and anatomy geek, I was most fascinated by the undeniable findings on the impact of animal protein on human health.

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