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A dish full of various seafood from Tromsø
Seafood from Tromsø.
Photo: CH / Visitnorway.com
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Almost immediately after it tosses and turns in the water, it’s ready to be served on your platter. In Northern Norway, they are totally hooked on the fresh delicacies of the sea.

Text: Julie Nordby Egeland

It’s a busy day at Anita’s small fish stall at Sakrisøy in Lofoten. Her son Carl Fredrik has just pulled up hundreds of hooks with today’s catch out on the fjord and is hurrying back to supply the fish counter with newly pulled halibut and pollock. As soon as he returns, Anita and her husband quickly start gutting and preparing the catch.

Strictly local

“The road from the fish being alive and sprawling in the ocean till it reaches the counter is very short indeed”, says the owner Anita Gylseth. “We are a family business and very concerned with having fresh and strictly local fish every day”.

In the summer, Anita’s counter bulges with fresh temptations from the sea.

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Sakrisøy, Lofoten
Sakrisøy, Lofoten.
Photo: Nelson Minar / Wikimedia Commons

The Arctic menu

If you find your local sushi bar to be raw and fresh, you have yet to try the menu of the Arctic and the Norwegian Sea. There’s a reason why Northern Norway has provided fish to the coast of Europe for centuries: These seas are the world’s richest, as this is where the cold and warm ocean currents meet. The lower water temperatures allow fish, mussels and shellfish to grow more slowly, which makes the flesh much more tender and fresh up here than anywhere else in the world. Besides, the locals are filled with respect for the long lines in the history of northern fishing. They know what they are doing. They have done it for generations.

“My children will be the fifth generation of fishermen”, Anita says. “I think it’s important to take care of our tradition and local food culture, and share it with our visitors. We try our best to do so.”

“We sell what the sea has to offer.”

The king of the sea

If you’re craving something bigger than mussels or shrimp, the giant-sized king crab can be found in the frigid waters of the Barents Sea just outside the town of Kirkenes.

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All you have to do is lean back and listen to an old fishing tale or two whilst the crab is brought up from the deep. As soon as the crab reaches the surface, it gets prepared and cooked right in front of you. It’s almost needless to say that the meal that follows is in a league of its own. An absolute feast awaits. And don’t worry – you won’t have to drool over the pot for too long.

Photo: Terje Rakke/Nordic Life / Visitnorway.com

No salt needed

“Actually, we don’t boil the king crab. We gently steam it to contain the substance and succulence”, king crab chef Hans Hatle explains. “And it only needs eight minutes in the pot before it’s ready to eat. It doesn’t get any fresher than that.”

The king of the sea might be a beast on the outside, but it’s a rare beauty on the inside. “After you’ve tasted freshly prepared king crab, regular crab will never be the same again”, Hatle says dreamily. “The white meat of its legs and claws is really exceptionally juicy and sweet.”

The owner of Barents-Safari advises you not to reach for spices when the king crab is on your platter. “No salt needed”, he says and laughs. “The king crab is so fresh out of the ocean that it still contains lots of the sea’s saltiness. You know, It’s all natural up here.”

Go fishing in Northern Norway

There is no need to wait until you’re here to find out where you’d like to fish. Filter your search and check out the offers below.

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