Readers reveal: Where to find the best of Indian culture in Sweden

Where can you find good Indian food in Sweden, the spices and ghee to make an authentic meal at home, or events centred on Indian culture? The Local asked Indians in Sweden for help.

Readers reveal: Where to find the best of Indian culture in Sweden
Missing India, or just want to learn more about its culture? We've compiled tips from Sweden's Indian community. File photo of an Indian classical dancer: Unsplash

In a new series, The Local is looking into the best places to find food, events, and cultural associations from different cultures, to help our readers who are feeling homesick or just looking to try something different.

With plenty of help from our Indian readers, the Facebook groups Indians in Sweden, Indians in Stockholm, the Västerås Indian Swedish Association, and two experts working to promote Indian culture in Sweden, we've gathered together the suggestions of where to find a piece of India in the Nordic nation.


Most people agreed that the offering of Indian food in Sweden had undergone a marked improvement in recent years, but warned against restaurants that catered to Swedish tastebuds with added sugar and fewer spices, as well as many inauthentic restaurants which advertised themselves as Indian to increase their popularity.

In Malmö, many readers recommended The South Indian, which The Local's southern Sweden correspondent has previously reviewed for our Malmö Lunch series. Lunch specials start from just 79 kronor ($8.21), and the restaurant has recently opened a branch in Stockholm.

Other restaurants in Malmö that came recommended were Kontrast, Masala House, Delhi Restaurang, and Golden Shiva.

In Gothenburg, readers recommended Indisk Tikka for takeaway Indian food.

Reader Anukool Korde, based in Västerås, got in touch to share three of his favourite Indian eateries across Sweden, but highlighted that a true Indian experience, with not only authentic food but also the same hospitality as experienced in India, was hard to track down.

As well as The South Indian in Malmö, Korde recommended Stockholm chain Indian Street Food, which was popular among our readers, saying: “The food was delectable, the waiters attentive, and the chef sensitive to our needs.” Extra good news is the fact that the chain recently expanded, opening two restaurants in the capital in addition to its existing food truck and two central restaurants.







A post shared by Indianstreetfoodsweden (@indianstreetfoodsweden) on Dec 28, 2018 at 8:46pm PST

Elsewhere in the capital Stockholm, there were several positive reviews of the South Indian Market. “Feel like we are at South India as the name indicates. Yummy Biriyani, Masala Dosa and super cool South Indian music. Staff speaks South Indian language and Swedish. After eating at Bistro South Indian Market we felt really like we enjoyed a party at our home with friends!” one reader wrote.

Also recommended was Saravanaa Bhavan, an international chain with branches in St Eriksplan as well as Kista north of the centre, which received praise for the wide range of vegetarian options and the lunch buffet in particular.

Indian Grill was another popular choice, with reader Shivani Sapra saying: “Indian Grill serves the best authentic Indian food, the taste is really good, with the proper blend of Indian spices and flavours. The Mango Lassi is the best to have in summer and their halloumi wrap is one of the best.”

Several recommendations were made for Chili Masala in Solna, north of the city centre. Ruth Dolla, who works as India Manager at Visit Sweden promoting links between Sweden and India, named it her second favourite in the capital, with Indian Street Food her first pick.

And two other popular spots in Stockholm are the small chain Shanti, with several locations each with a different focus, and Cumin Club located in Vasastan and Södermalm.

But there are also options outside Sweden's major cities and even in the north.

The Local readers recommended New India in Uppsala, Lotus Kitchen in Älmhult, Indian Dhaba in Arlöv, and Taste of India in Sundsvall.

Inside the kitchen at Shanti. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT


Despite a booming Indian restaurant scene, cooking authentic meals at home can still pose challenges in Sweden.

“There are hundreds of spices available in India and in different parts of India. Those are not all available here, so the ones which are available are the most common ones,” explained Renjith Ramachandran, who set up the website SearchIndie to showcase Indian businesses and events in Sweden.

“You can have most spices delivered through Indian Post at a good price or bring them back from your yearly trip to India,” he suggested.

Three Stockholm grocery stores that were recommended for their range of Indian ingredients were Kista Grossen, Himlaya Livs, and Taj Mahal Livs, all of which stock beauty products and cosmetics alongside foodstuffs. Gothenburgers have the option of Indian Food House, while Indiska Kryddor specializes in spices and tea, and Indopak in Malmö sells Indian groceries.

The selection of widely available spices is much narrower in Sweden than in India. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

And to get food delivered to your door, two options are NGroceries and Farm2Home (Stockholm, Linköping and Norrköping only).

Ruth Dolla said that many of the crucial ingredients can be found, with a bit of searching, imported from India.

“Coriander and mint grown in India, where there's more sunlight, have more flavour so it's recommended to buy these from special grocery stores than from an Ica or Coop,” she suggested. “The only thing that is still hard to find is fresh curry leaves; you can find dried curry leaves in the specialty stores or one needs to grow it at home.”

In Swedish supermarkets, she recommended the Santa Maria range of Indian food including ready-made curry sauces and chutneys for something close to the real deal, and noted that Swedish dairy company Arla had started selling paneer (Indian cottage cheese) while the Kung Markatta chain had begun selling Ghee (Indian clarified butter).


However, Dolla recommended heading to specialized stores to track down green chilis and good quality mangoes, although she recommended Stockholm's Hötorget market as an alternative for the fresh fruit.

For those who would like to learn some of the techniques and recipes used in Indian cooking, reader Priyanka got in touch to share her regular Stockholm-based vegetarian cooking meetups, V Cook Desi.

“Since I was missing authentic home-cooked food here, I started experimenting with it and started organizing my own Indian vegetarian home cooking sessions. In fact, I started it after one of my Swedish colleagues suggested that I share my recipes after hosting an Indian cook-along at her place,” she explained. 

So far, she has taught the group how to make meals including stuffed aloo, palak paneer, paneer butter masala, and paneer malai kofta, with several more events planned for the summer.

Other businesses

Food is one of the main things many internationals miss from their home country, but is far from the only aspect of life that's different when you move abroad.

The SearchIndie website shows listings and reviews of Indian businesses and events across Sweden, as well as institutions such as temples and mosques.

For eyebrow threading and other beauty treatments, two Indian-run salons are Roopali Beauty Care in Kista and In o bli fin in central Stockholm.

Events and culture

Renjith Ramachandran, who runs the SearchIndie website, says Sweden's three largest cities (Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö) have the largest number of events.

“Namaste Stockholm at Kungsträdgården on May 25th is a must visit, where you can see the entire Indian community in Stockholm and lot of food and ten-hour nonstop programmes,” said Ramachandran.

He also recommended the Huddinge Indian Festival and the Stockholm Sangeet Festival, organized by a group of Swedish people but the only event in Scandinavia to focus on Indian classical music and dance.

One event missing from the calendar is Holi, mainly due to the difficulty of organizing an outdoor festival during the unpredictable Swedish winter.

For more regular activities linked to Indian culture, there are plenty of choices for Indian dance schools in Stockholm, such as Bhangra Fitness, Alen's School of Indian Dances, and Bollywood Dance. And on Bollywood Bio, you can find out about Bollywood movies being shown across Sweden.

Finally, cultural associations such as Indians in Sweden and India Unlimited organize events and offer the chance to attend meetups, while Facebook groups such as Indians in Sweden, Indians in Stockholm, and Indians and Friends in Gothenburg can also be a valuable source of support.

IN DEPTH: How can Stockholm's cultural scene be more open to internationals?

Contribute to future articles in this series! Have you discovered a restaurant, shop, event or group that reminds you of home? Get in touch and tell us where people in Sweden can find the best of your home culture.

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The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.