Travelogue: TummyTroll in… Iceland!

A TummyTroll Travelogue is a celebration of the sights and sounds of the beautiful places we’d travelled to. More pictures, less words. Big on the inspiration, bigger on the taste. Savour history, culture and adventure with every morsel. Welcome to… Iceland!

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ICELAND
Summer 2012

“Það er löng leið frá Íslandi til Himnaríkis.”
It is a long road from Iceland to Heaven.
Gullna hliðið (The Pearly Gates), Davíð Stefánsson

Iceland… A wonderland of nature, myth and mystique amalgamated into an amazing picture of endless beauty.

Where ice-capped volcanoes are sandwiched between peacock-green mountains and azure blue skies.

Get close to gushing waterfalls that have to be seen to be believed… At Skógafoss.

I need to jump off a cliff right now and dive into the icy cold waters of the Norwegian Sea. At Arnastapi, Western Peninsula.

Bubbling mud pools and fumaroles bring us back to Middle Earth. The sulphur smelt so much like rotten eggs, I was put off eating eggs for a few days.

Saltkjöt og baunir – Split Pea and Salted Lamb soup. These hearty soups are big in Iceland. Always a main course, never a mere appetizer. With lamb so fresh it is hardly gamey. Not a surprise seeing the abundance of sheep all over Iceland.

Kjötsúpa – Home-style Icelandic Lamb soup at our host’s. The unofficial “national dish” of Iceland. A flavourful stock made with swedes, carrots and onions, stewed with tender lamb. Lamb… Smoked Lamb. Lamb Meatballs. Just how much does Iceland love lamb?

Hákarl – Fermented Shark. Pop a cube and your tastebuds will reek of ammonia for hours. Stunning flavour or “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” Anthony Bourdain has ever eaten? Usually washed down with Brennivin, a schnapps made from fermented potato mash and flavoured with caraway seeds, also known as “Black Death”. Vile!

Pönnukökur – Icelandic Pancakes, traditionally rolled up and served with icing sugar, jam and fresh whipped cream. We say, take it with rhubarb jam! Simple but heart-warming.

Skyr – Icelandic strained yoghurt, served with blueberry sorbet here. The undertones of subtle sweetness downplays the acidic tang of the set-cheese. Deeply intrinsic to the roots of the Icelandic food culture, maybe also to Scandinavia. Highly delicious.

Adorable little puffin sported on the shores of Dyrhólaey, the southern tip of Iceland. They’re a common sight in Iceland… Even on the dinner tables. Puffin McMuffin anyone?

We were supposed to try Horse Steak at our host’s place. Icelandic pony steak? I still think they’re better for horse-riding.

Adding on to the list of exotic food… The Icelanders seem to love Grilled Whale Meat too!

The Icelanders really dig their Espresso shots. With a thriving cafe culture in Reykjavik and even at our cosy little town of Selfoss (here I am at Sunnlenska, my host Bjarni’s rocking cafe and bookstore), Icelandic coffee is brewed strong, dark and intense. Oh, sleepless nights.

Tom Kha – Thai Spicy Hot Soup with Coconut Milk. Don’t be surprised to see more Thai diners than the common Italian restaurants –  A chat with our host reveals that there’d been many intermarriages between Thais and Icelanders since decades ago.

Thai Beef Noodle Soup. Another delicious sampling of Thai food in Iceland. Is it ironic that we’d tried more authentic Thai food in Iceland than in Singapore (South-East Asia)?

It’s Durian season in Asia… Even in Iceland too! Found in a local supermarket.

The only difference? We get ’em fresh, Icelanders get ’em frozen. Guess Icelanders love durians as much as their fermented shark! I am supposing any Icelander would easily conquer exotic eating on the Fear Factor reality TV series.

After all the food, here is a little fun. Presenting to you #chubkaichun and #mysterytroll (though not really a mystery anymore)

Yours truly with my best friend and playmate #tumtianhui

We were scaling the volcanic ash covered landscape of Sölheimajökull Glacier

The trip’s not complete without the lovely company of mates ZQ and R!

The road doesn’t just end here. Iceland, we will be back…

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Posted by #phangchewfat
Greatest credits to #chubkaichun and #mysterytroll for their wonderful introspective shots!

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