The gay owned and operated noodle bar Núðluskálin located at street Skólavörðustígur 8 has for years been one of Reykjavík’s most popular restaurants. GayIceland asked owner Sigurður Jónas Eysteinsson to tell us about the food and menu which, as it turns out, is infused by his own unusual story.

Sigurður Jónas Eysteinsson (on the right) and his husband Kristján Jörgen Hannesson, own and run the noodle bar Núðluskálin.

What attracts people to Núðluskálin is of course the flavorful perfectly cooked noodles. The owner and manager Sigurður Jónas Eysteinsson, called Siggi, with his passion and unique imagination offers regularly new recipes that always delight and impress his customers. Although, all the ingredients are listed on the menu, there is one thing missing. A secret ingredient, and it’s not what you think. It’s not a spice, or any kind of food, or a cooking method. It’s Siggi’s story. His biography presented in a bowl of noodles.

“Before sending me off to the temple the family threw a big street party with a band playing and plenty to eat and drink. About three hundred people joined in celebrating me becoming a novice monk.”

At the age of seventeen, inspired by a newfound interest in Buddhism Siggi went to Thailand as an exchange student for a year. “It was the only buddhist country they offered,” he explains.
That was about all that he knew about Thailand, and that it was a third world country. Since not many students from Iceland had gone to Thailand before and this was in the pre-Google era he had put his imagination to work.
“It was obvious when I landed at a fancy international airport in Bangkok that I had misconceptions about what a third world country looked liked,” he says laughing. “I had prepared myself for a different life than actually awaited me. Being picked up by my hosting family in a brand new Toyota Highlander and placed in a private school with a pool and tennis courts, is something I did definitely not foresee.”

It took two and half hours to drive from the airport to the village where the family lived in a big and beautiful house on the riverbank. Although the next door neighbours lived in a small bamboo hut. Making the huge disparity in living standards unmistakable.

The food in Nýðluskálin is partly based on the food Siggi learned to cook in Thailand.

It didn’t take Siggi long to be seduced by the exotic flavours of Thai food and he became a regular at a few restaurants. “I couldn’t leave Thailand without learning how to make this food myself, so I asked at my favorite restaurants if they would teach me. They allowed me to practise making the food and I made sure to write down all the recipes so I could continue cooking in Iceland.”

Nevertheless, this awoken passion did not direct him away from the reason he went to Thailand.

“I wanted to become a Buddhist monk.” A very unusual goal for an Icelandic teen but not in Thailand where most men become novice monks at a young age. “Before sending me off to the temple the family threw a big street party with a band playing and plenty to eat and drink. About three hundred people joined in celebrating me becoming a novice monk.”

Siggi planned to stay at the temple for two weeks, but extended it to four weeks. He says that the monastic life was very simple and structured. He would wake up at 5 AM, have a quick wash. Put on his orange robes and walk the alms round barefoot in a row of monks.
“They only had two meals per day before noon. Rationed from the collected alms. Then the rest of the day was left for meditation and reflection.”

He thinks everyone should try this once in their life for at least a month. “It takes a couple of weeks for the structured simplicity of the monastic life break down your neurotic habits of all the mind. Automatic thoughts of all the things you need or have to do. Bringing you back to face yourself and allowing you to reflect on what it is you actually need and want.”

Siggi with his teacher at the temple in Bangkok.

The skyscraper office

Siggi returned to Iceland to finish school, but was held back due to a prolonged teachers strike. When his boyfriend at the time, a talented pianist, was offered a position in Hong Kong, Siggi decided to tag along and learn some Chinese. At first he found work as an assistant chef at a portuguese restaurant, but then an interesting opportunity fell into his hands.

Siggi was only seventeen when he became a Buddhist monk.

“One day I hear of an investment firm looking to train westerners in currency trading. Of course I jumped at the chance. Their offices were on the 30th floor of a glass skyscraper and there I sat in an overcrowded space behind a computer screen, screaming into the phone all day. While on a steep learning curve I was drained each day. Although compelling and exciting I felt it was not worth the exhaustion.”

Siggi says that in Hong Kong noodles were served in a more modern manner then he’d experienced in Thailand where they were only sold by street vendors. He thought he could do something similar in Iceland. He’d already left the chaotic and dazzling city of Hong Kong and gone back to Iceland. He’d broken up with the pianist and soon entered a new relationship. It didn’t take very long until he was boarding a plane to move to a new place. This time around, he flew west to California.

“I had the desperate housewife experience living in a sterile suburb in Irvine,” he says laughing. During his sun filled stay he picked up on something that would further enhance his idea for his own noodle bar. “That’s where I got to know Jamba juice and the the concept of eccentricity, were the food is customised to meet individual needs.” With a dash of eccentricity the idea hijacked his brain and kept him up at night. “I’d combine the traditional Thai noodles seasoned with chilli and lime, the take-away concept from Hong Kong and the Californian offered choice of added ingredients.”

When in crisis, noodle

For the longest time Siggi resisted the idea, thinking his wanderlust wouldn’t allow him to stay long in one spot. He stayed less than a year in California, moved back to Iceland, got married and divorced, worked as a graphic designer, finished a degree in psychology and ended up working for Capacent in Iceland. In the fall of 2008 the economy crashed and the prime minister asked God to bless Iceland. Siggi was out of a job and found himself at crossroads.

The dishes sport fresh ingredients and heaping portions.

By that time he’d started a relationship with the man that’s his husband today, Kristján Jörgen Hannesson, and they’d often discussed starting their own business.

“That’s when we started thinking that opening a noodle bar might actually be a really good idea. Kristján loved the idea of starting our own company and was really determined to see it through.

So we pooled our resources and once a perfect location opened up we’d thought it be worth giving it a try. That would never have happened if we’d known about all the obstacles we had to face.

“Perhaps, I shouldn’t share this but sometimes I put new dishes on the menu that I’ve only tasted in my mind.”

Capitalism had been the dominant political rhetoric for years in Iceland , much based on the American dream. Therefore, we were surprised that no effort had been made to support start-ups and new businesses within the system. We had to run from one place to the other, and it seemed the right hand of the system had no idea what the left hand was doing.

We drained our funds quickly with costly mistakes due to complete lack of information on which licenses were required and how and when to apply. We were a week away from bankruptcy when we finally managed to open Núðluskálin.

Núðluskálin is immensly popular.

Luckily, Núðluskálin was an instant hit and has been one of Reykjavik’s most popular restaurant for almost a decade. During that time, it’s gone through a few renovations and changes to the menu, although never straying from its original concept.

“Perhaps I can’t’ travel as much physically, but I fight stagnation by making some changes in my environment,” says Siggi and adds that if it hadn’t been for Kristján’s good business skills and staying power he might very well have sold the company later on in order to pursuit other ventures.

However, it’s clear to anyone that talks to Siggi that he has a unique mind and fascinating way of thinking. With a strong awareness of his own senses he can easily pull up detailed images in his mind and bring taste to his tongue as if the food was actually touching it. “Perhaps, I shouldn’t share this but sometimes I put new dishes on the menu that I’ve only tasted in my mind.”

The Hamburger Factory
- gourmet burgers

Ok. You’re in Iceland. Most likely for the first time.

You will probably bathe in the Blue Lagoon and take a road trip to Gullfoss and
Geysir. That’s all well and good. But neither Geysir’s nor waterfalls are
something you eat. That’s why we have 15 brilliant and creative hamburgers at
The Hamburger Factory. And they are all perfectly square. Don’t miss out on
Iceland’s most beloved hamburgers.

The Hamburger Factory is Iceland’s most innovative gourmet burger chain.
Packed with burger-craving customers since it’s opening in 2010, among the
regulars is Iceland’s best known fisherman, Eric Clapton. In our restaurants we
welcome tourists with our newspaper like menu and smiley service. They are
packed with fun items and memorable connections to Icelandic pop culture.

Locations:

Omnom Chocolate
- award-winning chocolate maker

    Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

    Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

    Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

    In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

    At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.

     

    Alfred’s Apartments
    - gay owned an operated

      Alfred’s Apartments and Alfred’s Studios is a gay operated and owned accommodation in the heart of Reykjavik.

      Alfred’s Apartments offers spacious apartments at a good price located just around the corner from Laugavegur shopping street. You can choose the apartment starting from a Small Studio for 2 persons to a large One-bedroom Apartment with balcony for 5 persons.

      Their staff will ensure your comfort during the stay and provide the most updated information about the city, gay and night life in Reykjavik.

      Each apartment has a private bathroom with a shower, fully equipped kitchen and free Wi-Fi. Guests can buy groceries at the local grocery store 50 meters from the apartments. Because of their very central location, numerous shops, restaurants and cafés are available in the surrounding area. The Church of Hallgrimur is located 350 m from the apartments, a tourist agency is just 50 m away and the nearest gay bar is less than 5 minutes walking distance.

      Laekur hostel
      In the hostel we have dorms for 4-8 persons with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. The rooms are furnished with free internet, lockers, and a USB charger by each bed. The beds have linen provided and you can rent a towel in the cafe on the ground floor for 5 EUR.

      All the dorms are mixed with both genders. You can also book a whole room with 4-8 bunker beds.

      Blue Lagoon
      - a world of wonder

      Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater comes from 2000 meters within the earth where sea and fresh water converge in a tectonic frontier of porous lava and searing heat. Propelled by extreme pressure, the water ascends to the earth’s surface, emerging enriched with silica, algae, and minerals: the elements that endow Blue Lagoon geothermal seawater with its radiant, healing properties.

      From its humble beginnings in the shadows of a geothermal power plant, Blue Lagoon has evolved into a world of wonder, now encompassing a hotel, a restaurant, a luxury lounge, a renowned line of skin care, a research center, in-water massage, and a wealth of spa and refreshment facilities.

      Achieving harmony with the volcanic landscape of Iceland’s Reykjanes lava plain, the lagoon and its surrounding architecture embody the unification of the man-made and the natural, and adhere to the highest principles of sustainability.

      Blue Lagoon. A wonder of the world. A world of wonder.

      Whales of Iceland
      - larger than life

      Whales of Iceland is the largest whale exhibition in Europe (and perhaps even the world), where guests can learn about the giants of the sea in a calm and modern environment. The permanent exhibition features whales like guests have never seen them before. It is truly a giant experience.

      Landsbankinn
      - leading financial institution

      Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

      The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

      Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

      The bank’s vision is to be exemplary and its role is to be a trusted financial partner.

      Special emphasis is placed on promoting a performance-oriented culture in the bank. To follow up on the implementation of this strategy, the bank has defined key goals which are measured regularly to determine progress. These goals include, for example, customer satisfaction and loyalty, profitability, cost efficiency and the correlation between risk appetite and employee satisfaction.

      Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

      It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

      Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

      Dohop
      - get inspired

      Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

      Dohop‘s specialty is finding so-called “self-connect” flight options, which can save travelers money by booking a ticket through two or more different airlines. The ability to look for these self-connect option is what sets Dohop apart from its competition, as it can save people hundreds of dollars on certain routes.

      More recently, Dohop has developed a unique product called Dohop Go!, which allows users to check for the cheapest available flights from their home airport. This tool is perfect for those who are looking for travel inspiration but are not willing to overpay for their flight ticket. Dohop Go! is now available in the Dohop Flights App, both for Android and iOS, along with its traditional flight, hotel, and car search engines. “

      Macland
      - for all your Apple needs

      From starting out as a proper startup with only a good idea and the need to change things, to becoming an established company with 6 employees. Starting from scratch and expanding organically has allowed us to love our expansion and take our customers on the ride with us.

      Macland is located at Laugavegur 23 (101, Downtown Reykjavik)
      For all your Apple needs. We are here.

      Aurora Reykjavik
      - northern lights center

        Aurora Reykjavik is a Northern Lights Center situated in downtown Reykjavík at the Old Harbor next to Icelandair Hotel Marina and Vikin Maritime Museum.

        Aurora Reykjavík is Iceland’s first educational and recreational Northern Lights Center where multimedia is used to explain when, why and how the Northern Lights work, with the highlights being large HD projection of the Aurora’s. We also share myths and legends about what our ancestor thought about those mystical lights.

        The Northern Lights Center is for all ages. Children are our favorite guests and we created the exhibition in a way that children can have a look freely and parents don’t have to worry about things being broken.

        Aurora Reykjavik offers a great selection of souvenirs that are designed and made by Icelanders along with nice little coffee corner, where you can enjoy free coffee and tea while browsing through the souvenirs or just planning your next step.

        Contact Aurora

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        Skyr.is
        - once tasted never forgotten

        Our Story
        Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

        For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

        Ísey Skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey Skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
        This is our secret and you are in on it

        You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

        Núðluskálin
        - noodle bar

        Núðluskálin is a small gay owned and operated fusion noodle bar.

        All of our courses are individually made from fresh ingredients and therefore highly customisable.
        We offer fully Vegan versions of all courses.
        Though originally a take-away we now seat over 30 people.

        Núðluskálin is located right in the heart of Reykjavík on Skólavörðustígur 8 (street leading up to the big Church) near the junction with Laugavegur (main street).

        Seatours
        - adventure cruise

        Ferry Baldur – the gate to the West fjords
        and VikingSushi Adventure – Bird & Nature watching Tour for everyone all year around

        The “VikingSushi Adventure” is the right boat tour for travelers who are adventurous and want to experience something new – close up to the nature seafood simply doesn’t come fresher than this! The archipelago area of the Breidafjordur Bay always surprises her visitors during winter or summer with spectacular sights. Where else you get to try delicious fresh scallops and sea urchin roe straight from the ocean served with soy sauce, wasabi and ginger.

        600x400-seatours-tasting

        This old volcanic area, characterized by the typical basalt formations of the islands, is the home of countless birds. Here you will also find the strongest currents in Iceland. The VikingSushi Tour takes roughly two hours and our captain is also the tour guide.

        600x400-seatours

        The VikingSushi Tour is a true adventure through incredible nature which should not be missed by any traveler to West Iceland.

        Birds, possible to spot:
        -puffins (from the middle of April until the middle of August)
        -eider ducks
        -shags
        -kittiwakes
        -fulmars
        -white-tailed eagle

        The car ferry Baldur is the bridge to the West fjords via the island Flatey
        Ferry Baldur crosses Breidafjordur Bay daily from Stykkisholmur on the Snæfellsnes peninsula to Brjanslaekur in the north. A ferry ride considerably shortens the route between the south and mid-west of the country and the West Fjords region. It also gives you the opportunity to experience a floating restaurant.

        Take a stopover at the charming island Flatey when you are crossing the bay or go to a day tour to Flatey and back to Stykkishólmur. At Flatey are no cars allowed and between the houses of the 18th century you get the feeling of a journey back in time.

        Contact Us


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