What to eat and drink in Norway

Plentiful seafood, regional specialties akin to reindeer, and an ever-growing development in the direction of cutting-edge cooking utilizing hyperlocal, seasonal components make consuming in Norway a locavore’s delight. No matter your favourite taste of culinary expertise, your style buds are coated right here, from Norwegian staples in down-to-earth cafes to up-to-the-minute gastronomic developments in modern environment. 

It’s value noting that many eating places change their menus frequently (generally weekly), which is great for seasonal selection, but it surely does imply that some well-known Norwegian classics may not be accessible year-round. Right here’s what to eat in Norway.

Go wild for reinsdyrstek (roast reindeer) 

Reindeer is one thing each non-vegetarian customer to Norway ought to strive a minimum of as soon as, however you may seemingly need to order it once more because it’s one of many tastier crimson meats. It’s exceptionally lean with a gamey taste, but it surely’s a lot milder than venison – have it roasted for a young deal with. It would sometimes be served with mashed potatoes, peas and lingonberry jam. 

The overwhelming majority of the reindeer in Norway are raised by conventional Sami herders within the north of the nation. They’re successfully wild, making reindeer a sustainable, wholesome choice if you happen to select to eat meat.

The place to strive it: Unsurprisingly, you’ll discover that reindeer is extra prevalent on menus the additional north you go. Head for Emma’s Drømmekjøkken in Tromsø or Du Verden Matbar in Alta.

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Fish soup is a basic and comfortable favourite in coastal Norwegian cities © Olga Mazyarkina / Getty Pictures / iStockphoto

Heat your frozen fingers with a mug of fiskesuppe (fish soup)

Norwegians are enormous followers of this warming soup, generously loaded with chunks of fish akin to salmon and cod, shrimp, root greens and cream. Given the abundance of the soup’s components regionally, it’s typically one of many least costly gadgets on the menu, but it surely’s no much less tasty and filling for it – particularly if you mop it up with a hunk of heat recent bread.

The place to strive it: It’ll be on the menu in eating places and cafes in any coastal city (and inland, too), however Bryggeloftet is Bergen’s oldest restaurant and a very atmospheric choice.

A pot of fårikål with the stew served on two set plates
Fårikål, or lamb stew, is Norway’s nationwide dish © kristerleon / Shutterstock

Uncover the easy flavors of fårikål (lamb stew) 

This easy, hearty stew is Norway’s nationwide dish. There are only some components – varied cuts of lamb, a lot of cabbage, water, and a few salt and pepper – so utilizing top-quality meat and having the endurance to let it simmer for hours is what is going to make for a mouth-watering meal. 

Fårikål is a comforting household one-pot marvel, normally eaten with boiled potatoes and flatbrød (a sort of crispbread). Lately eating places generally supply a twist on the basic, maybe with further veggies or by including beer for a richer taste.

The place to strive it: Search for eating places specializing in old-school Norwegian fare, akin to Kaffistova in Oslo. It tends to function on seasonal menus in autumn, and there are few higher locations to strive Norwegian lamb dishes than on Lofoten – strive Børsen Spiseri.  

Have fun with a bowl of bidos (Sami reindeer stew)

Within the far north, notably if you happen to’re lucky sufficient to be invited to a Sami celebration, you may come throughout this conventional stew made with reindeer, carrots and potatoes, all sluggish cooked collectively for max style. It’s conventional for Sami individuals to eat this flavorful meal at weddings and different particular events.

The place to strive it: You’ll discover this dish on restaurant menus throughout Finnmark, notably in Kautokeino and Karasjok, dwelling of the Sami parliament. However for the complete cultural expertise in addition to a plate of bidos, plan your journey round Sami Week in Tromsø.

A traditional Norwegian breakfast: waffles, brown cheese and coffee
Brunost, or brown cheese, has a caramel-like taste with a fudge-like texture © Elena Graham / Shutterstock

Attempt savory-sweet brunost (brown cheese) 

Made with whey, cream and goat’s and/or cow’s milk, brunost isn’t a lot a Norwegian staple as a nationwide establishment. This (technically-not-cheese) cheese has a tangy but candy, caramel taste and a fudge-like texture. 

Gudbrandsdalsost (produced by the corporate Tine) is arguably essentially the most well-known variety and is made utilizing a mix of goat’s and cow’s milk. Geitost makes use of solely goat’s milk, whereas fløtemysost makes use of solely cow’s milk. Regardless of the selection, if you happen to like the bizarre style, eat it for breakfast on a slice of bread or a waffle.

The place to strive it: Decide up a block from Norwegian supermarkets and farm retailers or strive it at your lodge’s breakfast buffet.

Snack on some chewy tørrfisk (stockfish)

When you go to the Lofoten Islands, you’ll see row after row of wood racks laden with Atlantic cod drying for months within the brisk Norwegian air. It’s widespread to eat tørrfisk as a snack (like a fishy jerky), washed down with some beer. It’s additionally typically rehydrated by soaking it in water, then baked, grilled or utilized in soups.

The place to strive it: You received’t have any bother sourcing tørrfisk on Lofoten. Pattern the specialty at Bacalao, an informal harbourside place in Svolvær.

Savor the flavour of Gravlaks (cured salmon)

Salmon is ubiquitous in Norway, and this specific incarnation sees it marinated in sugar, salt, brandy and dill, giving it a wealthy, highly effective taste and a melt-in-the-mouth texture. It’s sometimes served in skinny slices, both with a easy salad or a creamy dill sauce. 

The place to strive it: Look out for it at seafood eating places akin to Fisketorget in Stavanger.

Preparing waffle or waffles with jam, dish made from leavened batter or dough that is cooked between two plates that are patterned to give a characteristic size, shape, and surface impression
Norwegian waffles will be loved with each candy and savory toppings at any time of day © Michele Ursi / Shutterstock

Uncover that any time is vaffel (waffle) time

It is a deal with you’ll seemingly be conversant in, however the Norwegians have elevated the standard waffle to top-tier standing. Even Oslo’s three-Michelin-starred Maaemo has been identified to serve them – gastronomy-style, in fact. 

Skinny, fluffy and oh-so-irresistible Norwegian waffles are normally served in heart-shaped slices. Vafler are excellent for breakfast, brunch, as a day snack or for dessert, and are eaten with a wide range of candy and savory toppings. Smother them along with your favourite jam, prime them with ice cream or add some slices of brunost for double Norway factors.

The place to strive them: The proprietor could also be Swedish, however that doesn’t cease Haralds Vaffel in Oslo from providing up what might properly be the perfect waffles within the nation.

Eat elusive multebær (cloudberries)

These tart amber-colored berries are extremely prized and regarded a delicacy, rising one per stalk on open swampy floor. The season is fleeting – from July to mid-August – and a few cloudberry patches are zealously guarded in Norway. Have them within the decadent dessert multekrem (cloudberry cream) – a confection of cloudberries, whipped cream and sugar – or strive heat cloudberry jam dolloped over vanilla ice cream.

The place to strive them: Hold your eyes peeled and forage them if you’re out mountain climbing. In any other case, choose up some frozen cloudberries or cloudberry jam in Norwegian supermarkets. 

Pouring Aquavit into frosted glasses. Ready to celebrate Swedish midsummer.
Although normally loved on particular events and holidays, Aquavit is a yearlong favourite spirit in Norway © brittak / Getty Pictures / iStockphoto

Say skål and supp some aquavit

The nationwide spirit, aquavit (akevitt in Norwegian), is a potent dose of Norwegian tradition constructed from potatoes and caraway liquor. The title is derived from the Latin aqua vitae, the ‘dwelling waters. Though caraway is a necessary ingredient, varied fashionable distilleries increase the spicy taste with any mixture of orange, coriander (cilantro), anise, fennel, sugar and salt. Smoother than vodka however nonetheless fiery, the spirit is usually aged for 3 to 5 years (generally longer) in oak barrels, which give it a caramel colour. 

Norwegians typically drink it on particular events akin to Christmas, Norwegian Structure Day (17 Could) and Midsummer, but it surely’s completely acceptable to quaff it at any time of yr.

The place to strive it: Many eating places and bars carry a big collection of aquavits, together with Baklandet Skydsstation in Trondheim. For a really particular expertise, ebook forward for a tasting session at boutique distillery Inderøy Brenneri at Berg Gård in Inderøy. To purchase a bottle to take dwelling, you’ll must go to one of many state-run liquor shops known as Vinmonopolet.

Vegetarians and vegans

As with many European locations, the provision and high quality of vegetarian and vegan choices in Norway have improved dramatically lately. Most eating places will supply vegetarian dishes, and, more and more, many could have a vegan selection, too. Generally this can be a easy pasta dish, however you may additionally discover artistic crepes and salads (though vegans will not admire the widespread use of cheese). 

Typically, the rule is that the bigger the city, the extra selections there are for animal-free fare. In most cities, you needn’t be restricted to only one or two choices on a restaurant menu; the collection of specialty vegan and vegetarian eating places is rising in Norway. Meals halls like Oslo Street Food typically have a flavorful collection of meat-free, dairy-free dishes from varied distributors. Or, for a push-the-boat-out expertise, go to Bellies in Stavanger, who’ve elevated plant-based delicacies to excessive artwork.

Different meals value making an attempt

Pinnekjøtt (dried, salted lamb ribs) It’s historically eaten at Christmas, so that you’ll most likely wrestle to search out pinnekjøtt (pronounced pee-neh-shot) the remainder of the yr, however don’t move up the prospect to do that salty festive delicacy if you happen to see it on the menu.

Lutefisk (dried cod, reconstituted with water and lye) Extra widespread in houses than eating places and one thing of a staple for older people, lutefisk is usually eaten together with bacon.

Raspeballer (potato dumplings, additionally known as potetball or komle) A welcome starchy accompaniment to many a meat dish.

Kjøttkaker (meatballs) Meatballs clearly aren’t distinctive to Norway, however the Norwegian model (actually translating to ‘meat muffins’) tends to be larger and include a beneficiant glug of gravy.   

Saltlakris (salty licorice) Additionally not peculiar to Norway, saltlakris is a Nordic style sensation. It’s fashionable within the nation as an alternative choice to candy sweet and as sprinkles for ice cream.  

Keeping track of your kroner

We’d be remiss if we didn’t contact on the truth that consuming out in Norway will be prohibitively costly, and even ‘price range’ choices could have you counting each krone. Attempt shifting your foremost meal to the center of the day – many nice eating places supply lunch specials which are simply as tasty and different however are usually kinder in your pockets.