After reading many a guidebook about Icelandic cuisine, I was apprehensive about being able to find any Vegan friendly food throughout our stay. I knew I would have to somewhat rely on using the kitchen in our apartment to create packed lunches and heavily research places to eat out if we chose to. Arriving equipped with packets of couscous and a million Nakd Bars, I indeed felt a little ill-prepared and hoped for the best.
Our first stop for the week was at the local supermarket; Kronan. Within seconds I felt my jaw drop at the sight of what could be found in the chilled section: PREMADE VEGAN SANDWICHES AND SALADS! Now, we don’t even get this luxury in England, oh no, we have the task of scrutinising ingredients on every packet and even still are never too trusting. However, there must be a rather large population of vegans in Iceland or at least a health conscious plant eating community because these options were clearly labelled, sounded delicious and there was more than one!
Further into the store, there was a large selection of fresh vegetables, exotic fruits and a selection of rye and wheat free breads. Amongst the fridges filled with dried fish, eggs, meat and skyr, I came across a large selection of Violife vegan cheeses. I am not a huge fan of cheese, vegan cheese or other but it was comforting to know that it was on offer.
They offered a wide selection of wholes foods also stocking chia seeds, nut butters, quinoa, organic biona products and much much more. Coming in at a high price due to importing, I avoided these and we chose fresh pasta sauces and whole wheat penne. They had a wide selection of healthy snacks too; nakd bars, granola and bounce balls too. Iceland definitely took me by surprise in being so health friendly!
Location: Kronan Supermarket, Kopavogur
Vegan Packed Lunches
After discovering the vegan lunch options in the supermarket, I was delighted to try them all more than once. As they do not seem to have hummus in the supermarket, I believe I found the next best thing; curried chickpeas. The wrap was extremely flavoursome, combining turmeric and curry flavoured mashed chickpeas with spinach, cucumber and pomegranate. A wonderful combination and kept me full on the days we were in the outdoors exploring. The salad was also delicious; sweet potato batons, with mashed chickpeas, spinach, cucumber, whole grain and a . tangy dressing to top it off. Each item costing between £2 and £3, I could not have chosen a better lunch option! Paired with apples, bananas and a few naked bars, we were set.
Location: Kronan Supermarket, Kopavogur
Price: Between 399Kr and 499Kr
On our day trip Reykjavik, after a delightful bird’s eye view over the city from the Hallgrímskirkja church, we stumbled across Cafe Babalu located a short walk away. With its vibrant orange facade and colourful LED signage, we decided to peer through the window at the intriguing decor and menu on the wall. To my delight they had vegan carrot cake and soya lattes. I was sold! We picked a cosy spot upstairs, amongst tattered old furniture, numerous stacks of board games and quirky wall decorations and eagerly awaited our order. The cake was dense, creamy and bursting with nutmeg and cinnamon flavour. The latte gave us the kick we both needed to continue our exploring and provided us with a break from the rain. Looking a little closer, we found our table contained hundreds of notes, old bus tickets, plane bookings and more from visitors that had stopped here over the years. It was a nice addition to the decor and even more wonderful to spot friends that had previously come and left. Tip: make sure to check out the Star Wars themed bathroom!
Location: Skólavörðustígur 22, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
Price: Soya Latte 520Kr Carrot Cake 900Kr (Expensive but worth it!)
Pylsa, Hlemmur Square
Finding somewhere for dinner proved to be a little more difficult. It seemed almost impossible to find a vegan friendly option in a seafood restaurant or somewhere with traditional Icelandic cuisine. With a little compromise, we stumbled across Pulsa in Hlemmur Square and wanted to give it a try. Their menu was themed upon pylsa/pulsa, the Icelandic word for hot dog, an extremely popular delicacy in the city. The menu contained a 100% Vegan option named Bulsur, a vegan take on pylsa, served with maple sweet potato, fresh salad and a sweet relish. It happened to be the one of the most delicious meals I have ever had. Linda McCartney has nothing on these sausages! The mash was sweet and creamy, combined with a flavoursome sausage and dill pickle relish: it was to die for! We considered returning again for a second night but decided to venture somewhere new. A definite must for a vegan in Reykjavik.
Location: Hlemmur Square,
Price: 1,500 Kr
Joe & The Juice
This little juice bar at the airport was a pick me up when waiting hours for our flight. Now a worldwide brand, Joe offers coffees, fresh juices and sandwiches also. I opted for a Pick Me Up Juice: Raspberry, banana and apple which was delicious! Chris opted for a flat white with the reply of “the best flat white I have ever had!” Now that must mean something! If I returned, I would have tried one of the sandwiches on offer, combining avocado and tomato together on a Rye looking flat bread: tasty!
Location: Keflavik Airport
Price: Coffee 599Kr Juice 899Kr
Iceland definitely has a lot to say for Vegan food and is one that needs to be thought of more as a vegan friendly place. Living there would be a breeze with the wide selection of whole foods and vegetables in the supermarkets and eating out not as difficult as I would imagine. I would love to return and explore the East Coast and see what lies there for us plant eaters!