April 27, 2009

Iceland, Day 1, Part II: A Trip to Bonus, and the First Taste of Skyr

This entry originally took place on April 18 during my trip to Iceland from the 18 to 24.

That pig looks drunk
Bonus

After our first meal in Iceland, we went to our first supermarket in Iceland: Bónus, or the supermarket with the curiously drunk-looking piggy bank mascot. Maybe it just gets that smirk on its face and lolls its eyes in opposite directions when you shove coins into its back. And since Bónus sells things at such low prices, you're always feeding it money. And so it always looks a little insane, like that estranged relative that no one really talks to.

Yup, I love that pig.

Because I'm fascinated by supermarkets outside of the US, here's my little tour of Bónus.

bread + drunken piggy bank
Bread!

Lots of bread. For all those open faced sandwiches.

"best thing since sliced bread...the other way"
Long bread?

And bread sliced the other way, for all those...really long open faced sandwiches? Seriously, I don't know. We had never seen bread sliced this way before.

flat bread goo
Flatter bread.

And lots of flat bread! For I don't really know what.

chocolate
Chocolate!

And lots of chocolate, bulk and not.

MAYONNAISE
MAYO!

And then there was that wall of mayonnaise and mayo-based sauces in the refrigerated room. Holy. Crap. Tubs. Beyond tubs. There were even a few jars of Hellman's looking neglected on a separate shelf, but in Iceland its all about the local brands.

skyr
SKYR!

Even more exciting was the wall of skyr, or Icelandic-style yogurt that is technically a soft cheese, which makes for a very thick, creamy, yogurt-like product. Just like a gazillion people told me before I went to Iceland, it's awesome stuff that puts most yogurts to shame. God knows why more people aren't making it over here. The only local maker I can think of is Siggy's Skyr, which, considering their url is skyr.com, tells you there isn't much competition. As I missed my favorite yogurt from Paris, I now miss skyr. Skyr.is says they're available at Whole Foods, but I haven't noticed it yet (I have seen Siggi's at Whole Foods). I'll have to double check. Even if it is, it won't be as cheap; Bónus was selling containers of Skyr.is for about 75 cents.

orange juice
Orange juice.

Lots of Icelandic packaging had simple, bold designs, such as this orange juice.

JO!
YO!

And this yogurt.

milk
MUU!

And this milk.

chocolate milk
Chocolate milk.

And this chocolate milk, Kókómjólk. ...Okay, that isn't the most appealing anthropomorphic cat thing I've ever seen, but it seems to do fine with the Icelanders. I couldn't tell if there was another brand of chocolate milk; this was the only one I noticed. Probably because of the unnaturally hued cat man who appears to put in a lot of time at the gym.

lamb
MEAT.

Moving onto the meat, there are huge chunks of frozen lamb parts.

meat room
MOAR MEAT.

And through the doors of the refrigerated non-frozen meat section, there's...

meat room
...YUP there it is.

...a lot of meat.

pylsur
Hot dogs.

Such as this wall of hot dogs (pylsur). Hot dogs are popular in Iceland, and as far as I can tell, most Nordic countries.

blood sausage
Blobs.

I took this photo just so I could figure out what it was later. Giant brown vacuum packed nubs = blood sausage.

CANDY
Candy wall!

Can't forget about the candy section. Even though I don't eat much candy in the US, I love looking at foreign ones and trying new things. Unless it has licorice in it, aka black goo that makes my taste buds recoil and possibly triggers a regurgitative response. My distaste for licorice shows that there is obviously no Scandinavian blood in my system. I made sure to read labels and avoid anything with the word "lakkris" (licorice) in its list of ingredients. Chocolate bars and whatnot seemed to mostly involve (aside from chocolate and licorice) wafers and puffed rice. Chocolate covered raisins also seemed to be quite popular.

We left the supermarket only because it was closing. Make sure to get all your shopping done before 6 p.m. There's a 24-hour 10-11 in downtown Reykjavik, but it's not nearly as awesome as Bónus.

we gots it.
Stash.

Our final stash consisted of juice, bread, fruit, eggs, tea (which we ended up not needing because there was already tea in the cupboard), a variety of skyr and yogurt, cookies, ham, and little blocks of butter which were perfectly suited for our short stay.

strawberry skyr
Strawberry!

Of course, the first thing we went for was the skyr. Greg cracked open a container of vanilla flavored while I went for strawberry. Each six ounce container came with a little folded spoon tucked into a notch in the lid for ease of skyr consumption. All that time you would've wasted looking for a spoon? ELIMINATED. While not necessary, it made the skyr-eating experience even awesomer. And the spoon was adorable.

Skyr
Oh, delicious plop.

Thick, creamy, tart, and sweet, it's everything I want in a yogurt but isn't...yogurt. You could eat it for breakfast or a post-dinner dessert, the vanilla flavor in particular. The texture is so rich that half a container was enough to satiate me; I just saved the other half for later. Now if only I could try some frozen skyr...

Related

Iceland, Day 1, Part I: Napping, Followed By Sandwiches
Things I Should Have Known Before Going to Iceland

Posted by roboppy at 12:17 AM

Tags: Bonus, Iceland, Reykjavik, skyr, supermarket, yogurt

Comments

Dang! I wonder if there's Skyr in Norway...

Posted by: Morten at April 27, 2009 4:17 AM [#]

Waa~ It all looks so exciting. Foreign supermarkets are always fun :)

It's a tub of cheeeese! And you're eating it like a yoghurt! I hope it's a fairly low fat cheese. Although, most people are probably tempted to munch on a block of cheese, the social stigma deters most, I expect. But this Skyr... is considered normal. Haha.

That's a good tea. Snazzy teabags :]

Posted by: SuperChomp at April 27, 2009 7:49 AM [#]

There's a two-part Skyr as well, that comes with a really awesome cinnamon syrup.

I too was impressed by how buff Kokomjolk cat was.

As for the pig, I thought he was drunk on savings, and received that nasty-looking black eye after being beaten down by tremendous bargains.

Posted by: Graeme at April 27, 2009 8:04 AM [#]

Skyr sounds tastydelicious, like Greek yogurt.... but different. You know. I think the Whole Foods in Philly has Siggi's, information that unfortunately is only useful for 1% of the 'boppy-reading population, oh well.

Oh, and I thought that was a real person poking her head above the meat fridge before realizing she was part of a Dove ad. Women bursting out of piles of frozen lamb chops could be the new girl-in-a-birthday-cake!

Posted by: wix at April 27, 2009 10:07 AM [#]

Morten: Let us know! And if not...maybe you can demand some. Heh.

SuperChomp: Oh yeah, it's touted for having no fat, or almost no fat (I'd go with..almost). So I guess you're eating a gob of protein. But even if it were loaded with fat, I'd still eat it. BWAHAHA YEAH NUTRITION BE DAMNED whatever.

Graeme: I didn't try the two part! Oops. ;_;

Ooh that's where the black eye comes from...interesting.

wix: Greek yogurt used to be my fave..UNTIL NOW! Bwah. :) It's similar in consistency, yup.

Oh yeah, that was a very oddly placed Dove ad. "Uh lets stick it by the lamb. Cos you know..lambs and skin care. Um."

Posted by: roboppy at April 27, 2009 5:13 PM [#]

I missed BOnus. I brought back a lot of Bonus souvenirs too. :)

Skyr is in Whole Foods. I got one for $2.69! It's a treat for sure.

Posted by: kim at April 27, 2009 5:20 PM [#]

Gah, yes, skyr is completely awesome! I'm happy you have seen the light. I can't wait to gorge on it this summer while I'm there.

It's funny, I hate licorice too, but the only licorice candy I've ever liked remotely, I had in Iceland. It was still licorice and I still wasn't crazy about it, but it tasted a million times better than any licorice I've had here. Candy in Iceland is pretty rad in general.

Posted by: Sarah at April 27, 2009 7:29 PM [#]

I too love to visit supermarkets in other countries. So much fun!
And about the bread sliced in the wrong direction - here in Sweden it's used to make smörgåstårta="sandwich cake". It's a non-dessert cake filled with stuff like shrimps, meatballs, mayo, cheese and vegetables.
It's not that tasty according to me :P
But now you know hehe.

Posted by: Maja at April 27, 2009 7:42 PM [#]

So excited reading about Iceland! If I had the money to travel right now it's probably where I'd go. I love exploring any grocery stores, and a foreign one would be the best ever!

Posted by: anna at April 27, 2009 9:39 PM [#]

HAHA. The long sliced bread cracked me up. I wished we had long sliced bread.. think of the possibilities for lunch. Skyr sounds delicious, I must go and get some. From this entry, I will now assume that Icelandic people's main diet comprises of mayonnaise, lamb, hot dogs, and Skyr.

Posted by: Jasmine at April 27, 2009 10:31 PM [#]

dude, whole foods has skyr! check USQ!

Posted by: olivia at April 27, 2009 11:04 PM [#]

Kim: $2.69!..ooh. I guess the main reason it's cheap in Iceland is cos of the exchange rate.

Sarah: That's a mild endorsement.."Icelandic licorice doesn't make me wanna spit it out! Yay!" I guess it wouldn't have hurt to try a pack. Buuut..buuh..but naah.. :)

Maja: Oohh that makes sense. I think I saw one of those at the flea market in Iceland. A double layer sandwich cake thing. Never seen one over here!

anna: I wonder how crazy locals must think I am when I excitedly peer at all the products in their store. "Uh it's just..mayo..and yogurt..wut?"

Jasmine: Yeah, I'm totally not representing Icelandic diets well at all. Oooops.

Olivia: I work a few blocks from WF, haha. I'll have to check it out. I wonder why the last WF I went to only had the NY skyr and not the Icelandic..doh.

Posted by: roboppy at April 27, 2009 11:11 PM [#]

Kókómjólk vs Tony the Tiger
Only on Pay-Per-View
ORDER NOW

Posted by: Captain at April 27, 2009 11:47 PM [#]

Iceland looks wonderful!

Posted by: Melissa at April 28, 2009 1:06 AM [#]

I want Skyr!


Posted by: Mahar at April 28, 2009 2:53 PM [#]

Did you visit some vegetarian resaurants while you were there? There's a really nice one that's on the second floor. Cool vibe and free bread and hummus!

Posted by: kim at April 28, 2009 3:26 PM [#]

A lot of people think im weird but I love going to foreign supermarkets, I always find it really interesting. But no licorice? sacrilege! Love me some yummy black stuff

Posted by: Edd at April 28, 2009 4:21 PM [#]

All countries should call their milk Muu! I love the simplicity of it.

Posted by: Mikey at April 28, 2009 5:53 PM [#]

Captain: I think chocomilk cat wins because he must have special powers derived from his purple and yellow fur.

Mahar: I got some yesterday. bwahaa.

Kim: Nope, didn't try any veggie places.. ;_; I was lacking in vegetable matter. Oops.

Edd: NOO, NO TO THE BLACK STUFFF!!!

Mikey: I like the name too. Along with the basic white and blue design.

Posted by: roboppy at April 29, 2009 1:11 AM [#]

I am LOVING your posts:)
Icelanders LOVE their mayo! So much that they have mayonnaise cakes at fancy affairs, which are made of layered white bread eggs and shrimp:)

Posted by: Ulla at April 29, 2009 4:11 PM [#]

Ulla: I'm glad you approve! :) This blog will be Icelandic for a long time at the rate I'm going, haha.

Posted by: roboppy at April 30, 2009 12:25 AM [#]

Hey Robyn! Ha...it's been a while. I just read the Otto post. I can't get over my lame & futile attempts at finishing dinner that night. I love the Chocolate Milk graphic...looks like Thundercats to me!

Posted by: Cheryl C. at May 1, 2009 1:40 AM [#]

Love foreign grocery stores! I came across your blog by accident just before we'll be headed to Iceland (and Sweden) on our honeymoon - now I am extra-excited about the food.

Love black licorice and am now stoked that they have a lot of it there!

Will try Skyr first thing.

Oh, and you stayed at Room with a View? We'd been looking at that place and couldn't make up our mind, given that it does not include breakfast like a lot of the hotels do... but you seem so happy with it that I think we'll go ahead and book it! Thanks for the info and pics!

Posted by: Karyn at May 18, 2009 1:34 PM [#]

Iceland is great!
Arrived in Reykjavík,Iceland on Apr. 30th. 2009,still here loving it May 25th. 2009.
Best food I´ve had in the 12 countries I´ve visited, bar none. Gwyn ( from Texas )

Posted by: Gwyn at May 25, 2009 9:13 AM [#]


Hey- I'm from Iceland and I can explain about the weird horizontally sliced bread in Bonus:

It's called "bread-cake-bread" (brauðtertubrauð) because it's used to make huge layer cakes consisting of layers (duh) of white bread and various toppings and almost always mayonnaise or a mayonnaise based...spread. Roastbeef and remoulade, shrimp and mayo (+cucumber+lemon+whatever goes well with that stuff), tuna salad....wherever your imagination takes you.

They can look pretty grotesque but they're quite delicious (if you like mayo, at least) and they're very popular for family feasts- confirmations in particular, for some reason...

Try typing "braudterta" on google images :)

Hope that helps- I'll definitely follow your awesome blog from now on !

Posted by: Maria at June 4, 2009 5:01 PM [#]

Maria: Thanks for the info! I have yet to see a sandwich cake here, but I'd totally eat it! (I do love me some mayo.)

Posted by: roboppy at June 5, 2009 7:29 PM [#]

Just felt like adding, there is one other brand of chocolate milk in Iceland, called Kappi, it has a cow in a superhero outfit. :)

Posted by: IcelandGirl at July 16, 2009 7:21 PM [#]

The long bread is for bread "cakes". They are used in parties and filled with cheese, veggies, meats and heated and presented like a cake at a dinner party. They are pretty good.

Someone asked if skyr is as rich as cheese, it is acutally very low in fat, high in protien and considered a health food.

Glad you enjoyed your trip to Iceland

Posted by: Stella at July 25, 2009 10:23 AM [#]

Stella: If only I had tried one of those bread cakes...no one makes em over here! Or maybe I will have to make one myself. :)

Posted by: roboppy at July 26, 2009 1:16 AM [#]

Love your super supermarket. I will e gong to Iceland and were ever we are wego to the super market. Italt Amsterdam Spain. Ask meanytnngf you need to know. On your travels. Even Prague and st peters burg and the uk. R

Posted by: Robin at August 1, 2012 1:57 PM [#]

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» 08/19/13: Indessert, My New Favorite Dessert Shop Serving Tong Sui in Chinatown

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