Guide to Exploring Traditional Scandanavian Cuisine
While on our recent trip to Norway and Sweden, we sampled many traditional and non-traditional meals. Normally I am a little timid around trying new cuisines in foreign countries because I don’t know how my sensitive stomach will react. It can ruin a whole morning If I eat the wrong thing, but I feel so grateful that nothing set my stomach off while on this trip.
Sweets and Pastries
Back home, we generally don’t eat a lot of big breakfasts unless it’s on the weekend. We wanted to eat light early on so that we didn’t feel heavy and full moving around throughout the day. While in Bergen, we came across a bakery called Baker Brun. Upon first glance, it appeared to be just another bakery, but after sampling some of their many delicious pastries I realized what I had been missing.
These Norwegian pastries lacked the over-sweet taste that most american pastries have and what was left was a natural semi-sweet satisfying flavor. The scones were hard on the outside and soft on the inside like they should be. The muffins and danishes were topped with all sorts of berries, including lingonberries, which I learned were a small round red berry that packs a punch of tartness.
I never knew pastries could have less sugar and still be satisfying.
On the day we took the train from Flam to Myrdal we stopped at the train station to pick up a snack before taking the final train to Oslo. We picked up this amazing chocolate treat. I believe it’s called a Mendel cake. It is a light and fluffy layered chocolate cake with a rice crispy-like topping. It was SO good.
Gothenburg Central Station
Our pastries in Gothenburg were equally as good and kept us full for the long train ride to Stockholm. At first, I thought all those little white bits were salt, but they were actually sugar. Even with all of that on top, they weren’t super sweet.
Cafe Järntorget i Stockholm AB in Gamla stan
While winding through the narrow streets of Gamla stan in Stockholm, we came across an ice cream shop. The whole trip, Jeremy had been wanting to try Swedish or Norwegian Ice cream and we had never done it. Since this was our last day, we decided to go for it. I got one scoop of raspberry and one scoop of melon. Both were delicious, but the melon was so refreshing and I immediately wanted more. I’ll forever be on the look out for something to match that flavor.
For an authentic meal, we stopped at a formal-looking place called Bryggeloftet & Stuene right on Bryggen street. I was excited to order the reindeer since I had never had it before. It was mild in flavor and not as gamey as I expected it to be. but so delicious! The sauce added a nice savory flavor, making this feel like upscale comfort food.
Jeremy’s salmon was perfectly poached. It was very moist and slathered in a lemon butter sauce and was accompanied by small boiled potatoes.
Zupperia Torget is a hip and modern style restaurant, across from the water in Bergen. While they have many tempting options, I couldn’t resist rack of lamb. It’s one of my favorite dishes and it always reminds me of my mom, the way she used to make it when I was still living at home.
The lamb was cooked very nicely and the glaze went well with the extra thick mashed potatoes. We couldn’t leave without sampling their dessert, so we ordered a creme brulee. While it was tasty, it did not compare to Jeremy’s homemade creme brulee. It was in that moment, as we were taking spoonfuls of the thickest creme brulee I had ever had, that I felt so lucky to have such a great cook for a husband.
In Oslo, Grunerløkka is a neighborhood packed full of hipster spots, shops, and bars. We happened to stop at a bar that wasn’t the place to get traditional cuisine, so we ordered some tasty bangers and mash and Fish and chips. Both were delicious! The bangers came in two types of meets, both of which i’ve forgotten. I was pleasantly surprised at how juicy the fish was and at how tasty the mashed peas were. Jeremy enjoyed dipping the fries in the gravy and pretending it was poutine.
While in Oslo, if youhave a hankering for Tapas, try Fontes. This place is lively, and has great outdoor seating to watch the sunset. We asked our kind waiter for help us decode the menu and ended up ordering calamari, asparagus, lamb, and a potato and egg dish. This place is pricey, even for Norwegian standards, but if you come with a lite appetite or are ok with a splurge, it’s a nice area to eat in.
After visiting the Viking museum and Norsk Folk Museum in Oslo, we stopped for lunch at a restaurant called Lanternen. We sat outside in the sunshine, enjoying a fresh open face shrimp sandwich and locally sourced chicken caesar salad. Both proved to be a good choice in the heat. This is a great spot to eat at since it’s right next to the ferry line that takes you back to city center.
By the time we had arrived in Stockholm, our taste buds had sampled many of what Norway and Sweden had to offer. However, the last thing I had wanted to try was Swedish meatballs. We ended back on Gamla stan around the time all the shops were closing. After walking around the narrow streets we found Wirströms Pub, an Irish bar. We laughed at ourselves because we always seem to find end up at an Irish bar wherever we go. We stopped in and had a drink and after viewing the menu, I spied what I was looking for; Swedish meatballs. Who cares if it was inside an Irish bar. We were IN Sweden, so it counted. The meatballs came in a gravy sauce with mashed potatoes and more lingonberries. They were perfectly firm on the outside and moist on the inside. I haven’t ever had the meatballs at Ikea, so I have nothing to compare it to, but I’m glad I had a chance to have them for my last meal on this trip.
It was a wild week and a half with a lot of unexpected surprises. We didn’t expect to see so many 7-elevens everywhere. We ignored them for the most part, except to pick up some waters and we realized they serve much higher quality food items, some of which look home-made than the 7-elevens do in the states.
Adult Entertainer from Nedre Løkka Cocktailbar
Smirnoff, vanila vodka, fresh passion fruit, ginger, agave, lime
Japanese Old fashioned from Nedre Løkka Cocktailbar
Mikka Coffey Grain, Nikka from the Barrel, Grapefruit & Chocolate bitters, Lapson Soushong Smoked Tea, syrup.
The Oslo bar scene has a lot to offer. Between beer bars, high end cocktail bars, and tiki bars, there’s something for everyone.
Coconut cocktail in Aku Aku bar
Cosmopolitan at Fontes
Rokarkula from Den Gamle Skobutikken
rum, whiskey, applesinlikor, vanilla simple syrup, red grapefruit, granateple og sitron, cinnamon rim
Agave punch from Puta madre