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Norwegian food is not known for having spicy flavours and bright colours, but that doesn’t mean it's boring!
From pungent seafood to crumbly cheeses and unusual meat dishes – here is the food you never knew you wanted to try.
First things first: We can’t talk about Norwegian cuisine without mentioning seafood. There is more to it than just salmon and fresh cod.
Take stockfish, for example. We call it tørrfisk, and it doesn’t have an appealing odour – but stockfish is the smell of money. You see, it's the fish that built Norway.
The unsalted skrei, or migrating cod, is dried by the wind and the sun on giant wooden racks in Lofoten and other areas in Northern Norway.
You can enjoy it grilled, baked, or cooked. Small, dry slices of tørrfisk are also a healthy and popular snack – and dogs love it too!
Not challenging enough?
No one knows who first came up with the idea behind it, but lutefisk is stockfish treated with water and lye. And yes, we are talking about the same lye that we use in batteries and soap.
It tastes better than it sounds, and lutefisk served with bacon and aquavit is, in fact, a popular Norwegian Christmas dinner.
Well, this looks pretty harmless
– doesn’t it? Think again.
Our long cheese traditions still pack quite a punch! Like this gamalost (looks like bread) and pultost (looks like risotto).
We use skimmed sour milk to create them, which should give you an idea of their flavour.
In more recent years, the Norwegian cheese revolution has given us many tasty creations, like the award-winning blue cheese Kraftkar.
And it might sound cheesy, but you can’t visit Norway and not try our beloved brown cheese. It’s like a national treasure.
Can you guess what they prepare here?
A little heads-up: It is definitely our strangest culinary speciality.
Yup, we literally meant heads up.
Smalahove (sheep’s head) is an ancient tradition that still lives on, especially in Fjord Norway.
We know how it looks ... and even bad-ass celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was put to the test when he visited Voss.
P.s: If you want to take this challenge to the next level, visit the places that serve the sheep’s … ehm ... crown jewels as a side dish.
Don’t worry if this is making you squeamish, though. You can also taste sheep in the lamb stew fårikål.
Feeling festive? Try the Norwegian Christmas dinner pinnekjøtt, salted and dried ribs of mutton.
Another traditional dish is dumplings the Norwegian way. Our potato dumplings have several names, depending on where you try them.
When you go out for dinner in Fjord Norway or Southern Norway, keep your eyes peeled for raspeball, ball, potetball or komle. It is sooo good – especially with bacon on the side and a glass of milk.
Now, this takes hearty meals to another level! Norwegian game is world-class, and in Sami culture, they eat most parts of a reindeer.
Including the heart, which they often serve smoked or dried.
True foodies will love to discover all the unique food delicacies from the Arctic kitchen.
Or perhaps you’re more tempted to try the Norwegian version of KFC’s famous crispy chicken?
Fried cod tongue is a delicacy!
Next up: fermented fish.
This is another example of how Norwegians got creative back in the days when it was all about preserving as much food as possible.
Rakfisk is fermented trout, and this dish even has its own festival: the annual Norsk Rakfiskfestival.
Some fish can be fermented for years, with the blood and gut!
When making gammelsaltasei (roughly translates to salted old coalfish), we skip the “cut and bleed” step before the fermentation process.
If fermented fish sounds like it’s too much to handle, try gravlaks instead.
The salmon is cured and not fermented, and has a milder taste.
Then there is this strange habit that we have: indulging in fried or smoked cod roe.
Our most beloved variety, is the smoked cod roe on tube, kaviar.
Even though Norwegian caviar is not as fancy as the posh Beluga Caviar, we sure do love it. Try it on a slice of bread for your next hotel breakfast, for instance with boiled egg.
Often referred to as “the silver in the sea”, herring has been an essential source of income for many countries.
In Norway, we call it sursild, and we celebrate the fish at several herring festivals throughout the country.
And we like our herring pickled! Some even make unique varieties just for Christmas.
Other odd delicacies from the ocean include sea urchins, cod liver oil, seaweed, and the brains from the Norway haddock.
Hungry for more? Plan a tasty journey through Norway with recipes and unique histories from the whole country.
Norwegian cuisine is all about raw, locally sourced ingredients – and not all our specialities are that weird. Get inspired to embark on a culinary adventure like no other!
From Michelin restaurants to cosy cafes – use the menu to find the perfect place for a meal.
See our selection of companies that work hard to make you happy all through your trip.
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