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Vegetarian Travel Notes:

  by Aðalsteinn Jörundsson
      Special to VegDining.com

For the ones who only eat salad.

In Icelandic the word "vegetarian" translates to "the one who only eats salad." The idea of a "vegan" is too far from the mind of the typical Icelander to be translated. This is one of the reasons why vegetarians are considered either foreign or weird eccentrics so any vegan or vegetarian who thinks carnivores are evil flesh-eaters have to realize that they are entering an "enemy zone" when going to Iceland.

There are some vegetarian restaurants and about two to three specialized vegetarian grocery stores in Iceland's capital, Reykjavík. If the traveller has a facility to cook he should shop in Heilsuhúsið on Skólavörðustígur or Yggdrasill on Frakkastígur. Both places have a good selection of beans and various soya products. Hagkaup and Nýkaup (local major shopping chains) are good too and Bónus (a chain of stores with cheap groceries) is a good option for poor travelers.

There are several good restaurants to dine out and one of them, "Grænn Kostur", can be found on VegDining. It is a nice place with a menu which consists of two meals every day. On a sunny day it is possible to have the meal outside but inside you sit on high stools by high tables. Another one is called "The One Woman Restaurant" ("Á næstu Grösum" in Icelandic). They are located by the main shopping strip (Laugavegur) on the second floor with an overview of the Strip and the harbor. It has a comfortable atmosphere and its menu changes from day to day just like Grænn Kostur's. Both of those places serve vegan dishes also.

Vegetarian societies are rare to non-existent and the few "eccentric weirdoes" among the inhabitants of Iceland eat their "salad" in solitude. They exist, however, and people are more and more starting to open up for less animal-based food, but they still think that everybody should try the meat of Fjallalamb (Mountain Lamb), so stay alert.

  Aðalsteinn was born and raised in Iceland, is studying Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland and will be soon studying at the University of Montpellier in France.
Photo courtesy of the Icelandic Tourist Board.

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