The Case of the Xiaolongbaos in Iceland

An eerie and desolate landscape whizzed by as we drove towards the fishing town of Grindavik in the Southern part of Iceland. Moss covered lava fields are punctuated by formations of black rock. I half expected an elf to come scurrying out any minute.



It had been 24 hours since we left Houston, our adopted city with its population of 2 million inhabitants , and headed to Iceland (population 330,000). The Husband had plotted and planned the most devious flight route so that we cashed in on our miles. In hindsight, the 10 hour layover in NYC didn’t bode well for us. In the spirit of exploring new cities and cuisines we had taken a cab to Queens and had dined on Xiaolongbao or soup dumplings. One last hurrah before we embarked on our adventurous trip across the Atlantic.

I spent the 6 hour flight thumbing through my copy of Rick Steve’s guide to Iceland. I didn’t want this to be like that time in Barcelona when we ignored  Gaudi and dined at every tapas bar that our thin wallets could handle.



We walked past customs and headed straight to the duty free area to fill up on booze. Blueberry liquer from Reykjavik Distillery. Yes please! And a mobile sim to keep us connected to the world. Onward to the car rentals kiosk where we said a prayer and hoped that the Amex car insurance would take care of any sand, gravel and ice damage. Car insurance in Iceland is a very complicated affair.

We marched out of the airport, baggage in tow. Ouch! The cold, icy wind whipped our cheeks as we made our way out. We had been warned multiple times about the wind in Iceland. It could even damage the hinges of the car door if you weren’t careful.



We had a couple of hours to kill before our appointment at the Blue Lagoon Spa to relax in the geothermally heated waters and ponder the meaning of life. And so we decided to make a pit stop at Grindavik and fill up on the famed lobster soup at Café Bryggjan.

The lady behind the counter greeted us as we made our way into the café –  small and cozy with a view of the fishing harbor. We filled our bowls to the brim with the steaming , rich broth filled with chunks of sweet, lobster meat. This was the perfect antidote to the bland food on the flight. What more could you ask for? Here we are half way across the world slurping lobster soup before we headed to a spa.  I gave The Husband a peck on his cheek. And then it happened!

My tummy rumbled. My eyes widened in horror and I looked at The Husband. He looked just as startled and was exhibiting the same symptoms. We made a dash for the restroom. Oh no, it was the Xiaolongbao!





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