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Eat like an Icelander: 9 Icelandic food to try

It’s yummy time again! In this post, I’m gonna introduce you delicious Icelandic food that I tried during my trip. Iceland is famous for being extremely expensive, but it cannot stop us from trying its specialties, right? Let’s see what I discovered!

 

1.Skyr

I first knew about the name “Skyr” while I was on the plane to Iceland. It was a long 3.5 hours fly from Copenhagen to Keflavík, so I started reading the magazine that WOW air provided. (Note: WOW air provides cheapest flights to Iceland, read more at: How to find cheap flights?)

Skyr first caught my eyes with its appealing flavors with different choices from plain, strawberry, blueberry, mango, etc., as well as its amazing benefit. Not only contains high protein, Skyr is FAT-FREE!

How does it taste?

Skyr tastes quite similar to yogurt, but it has a thicker form. I prefer the one with mix flavor of blueberry and raspberry! It’s super tasty and healthy.

How can we eat Skyr?

Skyr is often served with milk, but trying it alone is also tasty. Skyr is popular in Nordic countries, so you can buy one in Danish supermarkets as well. You can read more about Skyr here.

Skyr – a healthy product from Iceland

2. Dried fish – Harðfiskur

During my road trip in Iceland, I noticed that dried fish is sold every where. You can either find it at the supermarket, or souvenir shop, or fish markets.

I tried it once at the flea market, and still remember the taste until now. I could feel the freshness of the sea with a bit salty, and I totally enjoyed the tastiness from different types of fish. Not only rich omega-3, dried fish products have lot vitamins and protein. You can surely buy it as a perfect souvenir thanks to its healthiness, lightweight and long-shelf-life.

This is at the flea market – Kolaportid. Credit: Ásta Karen Ólafs

Do you want to try it? – Credit: Ásta Karen Ólafs

3. Icelandic meat soup – Kjötsúpa

Having a hot bowl of soup when it’s cold outside is the best, isn’t it? Meat soup is one of the traditional dishes of Iceland, and every restaurant offers this meal. With the tasty flavor from the broth made of the root veggies – potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, and lamb, Kjötsúpa comforted and warmed me up.

4. Smoked lamb – Hangikjöt

Don’t forget to try smoked lamb when you visit Iceland. Although smoked lamb is a traditional Icelandic dish which is usually severed on Christmas day, you can still find it in many restaurants.

5. Flatbread – Flatkökur

Yet another food to try on this list is flatbread, which is made of the mixture of rye flour and whole wheat flour. It is usually served with some butter and a slice of smoked lamb, or smoked salmon. I tried the one with smoked lamb, and that combination was totally delicious!

A nice Icelandic meal with smoked lamb on flatbread and meat soup.

I had this meal at Loki café, which is a nice restaurant served Icelandic traditional food with a beautiful view. The decoration was very unique and the service was good too! I totally recommend this place.

It is located opposite the cathedral

A nice view from the café

Stunning decoration at Loki café

6. Icelandic hot dog

There is a very famous hot dog chain in the heart of Iceland, Reykjavik named Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, which means “The best in town”. It has operated since 1937, and famous for its lamb sausages. Many famous people have visited this stand, including Bill Clinton (2004). This place is selected as the best hot dog stand in Europe as well.

 

7. Icelandic bakery (Kleina)

Have you ever wondered how people have breakfast in Iceland? It’s very common to get some bread (Kleina), and drink cocoa milk! This was what I had with my friend in Iceland 🙂

A delicious breakfast!

8. Liquorice candy

Liquorice candy is so popular in Nordic countries, and Iceland is not an exception. There are various candy stores in Reykjavik, Iceland with different flavors. I think the taste is quite weird, but many people love it, so try it!

There are so many flavors to choose!

9. Shark meat

When I was walking around the flea market, one seller offered me to try shark meat. It was quite salty, and the taste stayed long inside my throat. Although I don’t support or encourage eating shark, trying it was one way to understand more about Icelandic food and culture.

This is also at Kolaportid, Reykjavik – Credit: Ásta Karen Ólafs

Do you dare to try? – Credit: Ásta Karen Ólafs

Do you want to try any of these? Let me know your ideas in the comment!


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Eat like a local: Top 10 Japanese foods to try!

Lived in Japan for 2 years and worked in Japanese hospitality and tourism industry, I’m in love with Japanese cuisine and culture. Japanese culinary is not only special for its delicious dishes but also for the decoration and service. In this article, I will introduce 10 Japanese foods that you cannot miss.

 

1. Sushi(寿司)

Sushi is probably the first dish that people will mention about Japanese foods. It has become a symbol of Japanese cuisine, and you can find sushi restaurants in many places around the world.

Trying sushi in Japan is by far the most delicious place in my perspective. In Japan, you can try sushi from different prices, from Running sushi stores with 100 Yen, to expensive sushi dishes in luxury restaurants. If you have a chance to visit Fish Market in Tokyo, you should try the freshest sushi with the ingredients taken directly from the market.

100 Yen Running Sushi – Each dish is from 100 Yen (0.9$)

 

2. Ramen(ラーメン)

Ramen is a familiar dish to the ones who love Japanese culinary. It presents the beauty of Japanese cuisines and culture because it requires the patience in cooking, and also presents the beauty of each region.

Ramen and Gyoza

a) Ramen noodles

Ramen noodles are made of wheat flour, water, salt and salt water (Kansui). 

b) Ramen soup

Ramen soup is not only sophisticated but also varied according to the creativity of the region. Salt, water (shio ramen), tunnel boned pork (tonkotsu ramen), Japanese soy sauce (shouyu ramen) and miso (miso ramen) are important ingredients to make a delicious ramen broth. 
A ramen bowl will always contain vegetables (green onion, bean sprout), Chashu pork, dried bamboo (Menma) and Japanese Marinated Soft Boiled Egg (Ajitsuke tamago)

c) Ramen in different regions

You can try different Ramen style in each part of Japan: Sapporo Ramen, Hakata Ramen from Fukuoka, Hiroshima Ramen, Kitakata Ramen from Fukushima, and Toyama Ramen.

d) Service

You can try a different way of ordering Ramen in Fukuoka. There are some machines placed outside the restaurants, and you can choose the dish and pay there. Then you just wait at the table for the waiter to bring a delicious ramen.
There’s a ramen theme park in Japan named Aqua City Odaiba. You can try different ramen in booth stands there.

 

3. Udon(うどん)

With the Udon noodles, Japanese cook can make different types of Udon. The most popular Udon is Cold Udon, Udon and Yaki Udon.

a) Cold Udon

With Cold Udon, Udon is put in cold water first and then put into a bowl, served with sauce and chopped scallions. You can choose the topping to make your dish more delicious. 

b) Udon

The simplest form of Udon (Kake Udon) is served hot with Udon noodles and broth (Kake Udon), with thinly chopped scallions. You can choose different toppings to eat with, such as Tempura or meat. 

It’s normal to order udon with rice as a set 

c) Yaki Udon

Yaki Udon, or Fried Udon, is stir fried with vegetables, sauces, and different ingredients according to your choices (meat, eggs, etc.)

 

4. Okonomiyaki(お好み焼き)

Another Japanese food that you should try is Okonomiyaki. It’s a Japanese style of pancake and made of eggs, water, flour, cabbage, and meat. You can choose the topping as your preferences but commonly are dried fish and okonomiyaki sauce.

 

5. Yakiniku(焼肉)

Yakiniku, which is a combination of 2 words: Yaki (Grilled) and Niku (Meat),  is generally used for grilled meat in Japan. 

If you visit Japan, you can try Yakiniku buffet, where you pay for the buffet according to the amount of time such as 1 hour, 1.5 hours or 2 hours. Also, you can choose your favorite meats and vegetables based on your favorite choices. Sometimes in Yakiniku buffet, there are sushi, udon, ramen, soba, and free drinks as well. Eating the hot delicious Yakiniku in cold weather is one of the best experience in the winter in Japan.

 

6. Soba (そば)

Soba noodles can have yellow colors, or gray or green (if it’s made from broccoli). You can eat soba with some toppings or try Yakisoba (Fried soba). Ingredients for Yakisoba are usually Soba noodles, cabbage, meat (chicken, pork or beef), and sauce. Although it’s so easy to make Yakisoba, its taste is amazing.

 

7. Takoyaki(たこ焼き)

Takoyaki is Japanese octopus cake. You can make your own Takoyaki with Takoyaki machine, by mixing Takoyaki flour, eggs, water, and octopus. Furthermore, you can add green onion and cheese according to your preferences. Takoyaki is normally served with fried fish, Takoyaki sauce and chopped green onion.
On the other hand, you can just simply buy Takoyaki in Japanese restaurants. In Japan, you can find Takoyaki stands many places in the festival.

 My homemade version of Takoyaki

 

8. Fried food

a) Karaage(からあげ)

Karaaage is a Japanese version of fried chicken. There are various types of Karaage with different ways of cooking, but commonly is marinated and then coated in potato starch. Biting a piece of karaage, you can feel the crispiness outside and soft, juicy and yummy chicken inside.

Crispy and juicy chicken

b) Tempura(天ぷら)

Tempura is a common name for Japanese fried dishes of seafood or vegetables, and you can try it alone or with udon.

 

9. Japanese rice

With the same base, you can try different Japanese rice dishes such as Curry Rice, Tamago Rice (Rice with Egg), Takikomi Gohan (Japanese mixed rice), etc.
Japanese curry tastes amazing. When I first visited Japan, I loved this dish so much that I ate it every day. Takikomi Gohan is made of Japanese rice dish, dashi (Japanese fish stock), soy sauce. You can try with different vegetables, meat or fish.

You can also order a rice set like this

 

10. Japanese Bakery

a) Japanese Cheesecake

You can find cheesecake in every supermarket, restaurant or souvenir shop. Japanese cotton cheesecake is so soft that you can feel it melted in your tongue in your first bite.

b) Mochi(餅)

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake which is not only delicious but also cute. There are various types of Mochi such as strawberry mochi, matcha mochi, mochi ice-cream, but the most popular ones are with red bean.

c) Matcha related products(抹茶)

As a healthy and delicious green tea powder, Matcha is used in various products in Japan, especially in baking industry. There are matcha tea, matcha ice-cream, matcha cake, matcha caramel, matcha mochi, etc.

 

There are other Japanese dishes such as Gyoza (Japanese dumplings), Tonkatsu (Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet) as well, but I focus on introducing most popular Japanese foods in this article. If you have a chance, let’s try all those yummy Japanese foods!

You can also read more about Japan here!



 


What are your favorite Japanese foods? Please share with me in the comment 🙂

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Milk Bars: A cultural experience in Poland

A visit to “Milk bars” is a compulsory activity if you have a chance to set your foot in Poland. Milk bars, or bar mleczny, were opened during Communist era to provide cheap but nourishing food. Milk bars were initially created to provide all people with cheap meals which were subsidized by the state. Now, milk bars have become one of the cultural experiences to any visitors in Poland. Eating at milk bars, you can enjoy a taste of Communist-era Polish cookery, and experience the warm feeling with the cafeteria style. In this article, I will introduce 2 famous milk bars in Warsaw and Kraków that I visited during my trip.

Note: I have no affiliation to these place, just my reviews after eating here 🙂

 

1.Prasowy in Warsaw

Arrived at Warsaw Chopin Airport in the early morning of February, I was welcomed with a heavy rain. I decided to start my journey in the capital of Poland by stopping at a milk bar because it was so rainy outside. After checking carefully on the Internet, I decided to pay a visit to Prasowy.

Prasowy was one of the top milk bars appeared in my search, along with lots of good reviews. It was also near my hostel, and easy to reach by bus from the airport, along with a short walk. The location was really good in my perspective. Also, there is a park next to it, you can just come by after eating.

Before entering the milk bar, I tried to learn some basic Polish words such as saying “Yes” and how to point at the food. However, the waitress could understand English so it was easy to order food.

 

Design and atmosphere

I found the restaurant very cute and friendly itself. It has some cool words and decoration on the wall. Entering the door, I found some pink tables on the right, and blue chairs with white table on the left. The place was clean with cafeteria style, and of course with the irresistible food aroma.

Menu

The menu is in Polish, but you can ask the waitress to help you to translate. There is an A4 paper menu, also wall-menu as well. Prasowy serves a breakfast menu with scramble eggs and bun. However, I chose to try a meat dish with rice and vegetable instead.

 

Food

After paying at the cashier, I received a receipt and waited at the middle of the restaurant to receive my food. The portion came bigger than I expected for the cheap price (17 zolty for all). It also tasted delicious and gave me “home-made” feeling.

 

Although feeling full already after the main dish, I wanted to try the dessert and drink there because they were incredibly cheap! I just simply came to the cashier, pointed at the dessert because I did not know the name. And yes, here they are!

 

Review

With good location and cheap but delicious food, Prasowy should be in your check list during your visit in Warsaw.

 

Location

Address: Marszałkowska 10/16, 00-590 Warszawa, Poland

Open time: 9am – 8pm

 

2. Milkbar Tomasza in Kraków

As a budget traveler, I think it’s the best way to experience the culture and enjoy good but cheap food is to eat at milk bars. Milkbar Tomasza was on my list after reading good review and also the location. It is located inside Old Town, so you can just stop by if you are around there.

Design and atmosphere

Milkbar Tomasza has a modern design, with a compact size of a small restaurant. I feel that it’s newer and more modern compared to Prasowy Milk bar in Warsaw.

 

Menu

Milkbar Tomasza has English menu, and the staffs can speak English fluently, so there will be no problem in choosing and ordering the food. I chose the dish of the day in the menu because it seems more economic than choosing separately.

 

Food

Different from Prasowy, in Milkbar Tomasza you will be served at the table after ordering food. The food came with good portion, and delicious as well. I received my soup first and then the main dish. I was really full after having those dishes.

Review

Modern style restaurant, good location, affordable and delicious food, Milkbar Tomasza is a perfect choice to get a good meal in Kraków. I visited there in the evening, but I heard that it served excellent breakfast menu as well. So let’s give it a try!

 

Location

Address: Świętego Tomasza 24, 33-332 Kraków, Poland.

Open time: 8am – 8pm daily except Monday

 

Conclusion

Eating at milk bars, I could enjoy the cultural experience by eating like locals and exploring dishes from Communist era time. Although the dishes are mainly simple, they are delicious and worth trying. Prasowy has different style compared to Milkbar Tomasza. In Prasowy, I could feel the “old-time” and cafeteria way by self-service, while Milkbar Tomasza brings me more modern style and well-advanced. Each place has different atmospheres as well as different dishes, so pay a visit to each will fulfill your trip to Poland.


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