And thus, in our survey of fantastic cheap eats in Reykjavik, we arrived at, as they used to say in UK gameshow parlance, Bully’s Special Prize. Or rather, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. So many questions about this little hot dog stall. So little time each time we are there. But we are not there so the questions flood forth to compensate for our raving hunger.
Who is Bæjarin? Did he or she learn witchcraft in this country’s mountains that channelled to his or her mind the hot dog recipe that was, is and will be unimpeachable and good beyond reason? Why are the hot dogs still so good years after we first made it here? How many people to have ever been in Iceland have gravitated here? Would the Vikings, the saga tellers, the shepherds and the Althing deputies have come here had they not been in the wrong time zone? Surely this is where student, parliamentarian, tourist and professional hot dog eater still mingle unobtrusively? And will there always be a gaggle of teenage youths, gaggling and teenaging away, in the immediate vicinity? Are they and everyone else drawn in by the wicked, wicked remoulade on the hot dog as much as the hot dog meat itself? If the remoulade recipe ever goes public, will it be like the ravens leaving the Tower of London or the apes leaving Gibraltar’s rock – untold catastrophe? Are the raw onion bits (I ask you, raw onion bits) actually golddust from another life made edible in this one?
Do people arrive here from another life and depart to a new one forever touched and blessed? Why does this place get the better of my mostly vegetarian instincts? What in the world could be better than eating here late of a summer week night and having a quiet wander by the harbour as the sun steadfastly refuses to sink and the mountains stay enchantingly in sight? Perhaps the perfect silence of eating them on a summer week night sitting on the picnic-style bench to the right of the stall – the bench with the built-in hot dog holders?!
Those in the know, they know about this place – and they pay just ISK320 a hot dog as of March 2012. If not the best in the world, then first among equals including the one just south of Stykkishólmur as you enter the town centre (looks like Frank Ragan hit the nail on the head regarding that outlet a few years before we got there) – and all of those in equal first position probably in Iceland.
How can this be? The hot dogs across Scandinavian countries – and indeed beyond – work a treat. Why should we positively discriminate in this fashion?
We go into amateur psychology mode here. Iceland is a country of geographical and environmental extremes. As we’ve suggested before, humans seem to be here by pure chance and are very much in the lap of Mother Nature and everything she throws up. The country offers fantastic experiences – but everything becomes more vital and clearly outlined in the process. Including hunger. The ravenous being needs to eat quickly. The hot dog stall is the cheap option. And therefore hot dogs become the most vital option of them all. And they’re delicious. Go figure.
Bæjarins Besztu Pylsur (hot dog stall), Kvosin, 101 Reykjavik