Q: Last time I visited Iceland, I ate Icelandic lobster. It was delicious. Can you tell me more about it?
A: The Latin name of the species is Nephrops norvegicus and it’s a type of small lobster. In English, it goes by the name of Norway lobster, Atlantic shrimp, scampi, and langoustine. It’s the only lobster caught in the waters around Iceland, so in Icelandic, it’s simply called humar (lobster), even though the technically correct term is leturhumar (Norway lobster).
The tail is the only part of this lobster that’s large enough to eat. A popular dish in Iceland is humarsúpa or lobster soup, a hearty soup with curry powder, vegetables, and langoustine best eaten with a dot or heavy cream and chives on top. You can find frozen langoustine tails in most supermarkets and they’re easy to prepare if you would like to have a go at it yourself. However, if you prefer dining out, it might be good to know that the lobster capital of Iceland is Höfn, a town in the east. Höfn is famous for its lobster cuisine, from lobster pizza to grilled langoustines served with garlic butter.
You will find plenty of options in Reykjavík, too. You might want to check out The Seabaron’s menu next time you’re in town, their lobster soup is the stuff of legends!
The langoustine is undoubtedly delicious but unfortunately, the Marine and Freshwater Research Institute has recently expressed concerns over langoustine stock numbers and in recent years, catches have been on the decline. According to a scientist from the institute, a fishing ban (or lobstering ban, in this case) is a possibility, although further research is needed.