While most SMU students head down to Cabo for spring break, my boyfriend and I decided to do an unconventional trip to Iceland. With cheap flights around $200, Iceland is growing to be a popular destination for tourists around the world. 

What most people don't know, is that Iceland also has a buzzing food scene. Being an island, Iceland relies on local farming to give a true farm-to-table eating experience. Some of their foods can be a little daunting (see fermented shark) but don't hesitate to dive into their local cuisine to experience Iceland for all of its foodie glory. Here's my roundup of the best way to eat through Iceland.

1. Coffee and Croissants

espresso, chocolate, coffee, croissant
Kailey Goerlitz

If you're in a hurry before your tour of the famed Golden Circle, the best way to get some food in your belly is with a croissant and a coffee. Iceland takes pride in their coffee with shops located on almost every corner. Their croissants are flaky and buttery while the coffee is strong with bold flavors. A perfect quick bite to eat and morning pick-me-up before heading out on a day of tours. 

2. Traditional Icelandic Breakfast

tomato, cheese, bread
Kailey Goerlitz

Located in the heart of downtown Reykjavik, Bergsson Mathús is the perfect spot to eat after your flight lands in the early morning. Their breakfast features a plate bursting with prosciutto, fruit, vegetables, and a soft boiled egg (perfect for dipping their fresh sourdough bread). You also get a pot of skyrr, an Icelandic yogurt dish that tastes similar to greek yogurt but with a creamier, thicker texture. So good with fruit compote and granola. 

3. Creamy Lobster Soup

bread, coffee, cream
Kailey Goerlitz

If you aren't full from breakfast and need a snack, definitely savor in some lobster soup from the Sea Baron. After reading about their famed lobster soup, it was a must on my list of places to eat at in Reykjavik. The line was out the door with people from all countries eager to indulge in their lobster soup as well as grilled skewers of all kinds of fish, including minke whale. The soup was bursting with lobster meat and had a rich creamy flavor to match. No wonder this place was so popular. 

4. Fermented Shark

Kailey Goerlitz

Before coming to Iceland, I heard of the dreaded fermented shark, or Hákarl as the Icelanders say, and figured I would have to try it for myself. At the Kolaportid flea market in Reykjavik, merchants pass out samples to eager travelers wanting to try this traditional Icelandic snack. Anthony Bourdain even described it as "the single worst thing I have ever put in my mouth, unspeakably nasty." And he was right, I put the rotten shark in my mouth and the saltiness and fishiness was so overpowering I couldn't even chew it. I almost threw up, 0/10 would recommend.

5. Smoked Salmon

spinach, salad
Kailey Goerlitz

A dish you'll find all over Iceland is fresh smoked salmon. Salmon fishing is one of the biggest industries in Iceland and you cannot beat the quality of their fish. Often served with homemade bread and mustard sauce, their smoked salmon makes a perfect light lunch to get you through the day. Much better than the fermented shark. 

6. Minke Whale

Kailey Goerlitz

Travelers to Iceland are often very weary of the fact that Icelanders eat whale. While whaling is illegal in most of the world, it is perfectly legal in Iceland as there is an abundance of minke whales in the Arctic Ocean. And let me tell you, minke whale is probably one of the best things I ate on my trip. With a texture in between beef and ahi tuna, the smokey meat was delicious with crispy onions, lime juice, and a soy vinaigrette. 

6. Lamb

beef, steak
Kailey Goerlitz

In Iceland, there are four sheep for every person, which leaves no surprise that lamb is the most popular food item in the country. From gas stations to five star restaurants, lamb is all over the menu. A bowl of lamb stew is perfect when exploring the freezing glaciers, but Grillmarkadurrin won the award for best lamb chops in Iceland. Coated in a mustard wine demi glacé and dipped in Greek yogurt and pistachios, their medium rare lamb is the perfect dinner before a night out on the town.

5. Baejarins Beztu Pylsur

sweet, chocolate, vegetable, candy, pizza
Kailey Goerlitz

Iceland has a buzzing night life with bars opening at midnight and people partying until 5 a.m. After a night of drinking, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur, a tiny hot dog cart, will have a line wrapped around the corner with Icelanders and tourists trying to fill their drunchie needs. A trip to Iceland would be incomplete without eating one of their famous hot dogs. What makes their hot dog stand apart from all others is that it is made with lamb and beef, unlike the mystery meat dogs we eat here in the states. Topped with remoulade, sweet mustard, ketchup, crispy onions, and raw onions, this hot dog will be better than any ballpark dog you've ever had. 

If you find yourself traveling to Iceland, you can't miss out on their food scene. With fresh local ingredients, you'll experience a farm-to-table experience unlike anywhere in the world. Just remember, whatever you do, do not eat fermented shark.