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Five Norwegian foods that aren’t as bad as they sound… and one that is

Living in a new country means getting your palate to get to grips with a new cuisine. Luckily these Norwegian dishes are much more appetising than they sound.

Five Norwegian foods that aren't as bad as they sound... and one that is
A Norwegian brunch. Photo by Louis Hansel - Restaurant Photographer on Unsplash

Fiskepudding

Fish pudding, luckily not a desert, and fortunately a much tastier prospect in reality than it looks on paper or in its packaging. 

The only bad thing about this Norwegian favourite is that it’s perhaps a bit plain. Fiskepudding is a kind of stuffing made from white fish, flour, milk, and spices.

Fish pudding can also be served with a cream sauce, and when served as such, is called Fløtepudding

Fish pudding is usually accompanied by boiled potatoes, grated carrots, fried onions and more. 

It’s similar in taste and texture to fiskboller or fiskburgers, meaning if you like those, you certainly won’t have a problem with fish pudding. 

It’s fairly common in Norway, and you’ll find it in most supermarkets if you fancy giving it a go. 

Rømmegrøt

Rømmegrøt is a sour cream porridge typically eaten on special occasions. The porridge is made from sour cream, whole milk, wheat flour, butter and salt. The recipe differs slightly depending on which part of Norway you are in. 

It’s typically served with butter, sugar, cinnamon and cream. It’s a smooth, sweet and savoury dish with a similar texture to Greek yoghurt, albeit warm Greek yoghurt. 

A portion of Rømmegrøt. AnneCN/Flickr.

It can be a bit rich and is undoubtedly very filling, so it’s worth opting for a small dish if it’s your first time. 

The dish isn’t just loved in Norway. In Westby Winsconsin, a small town with a lot of Norwegian heritage, there is an annual Rømmegrøt eating contest. 

Rømmegrøt can either be made at home or be bought ready-made from almost all supermarkets in Norway. 

Brunost 

Brown cheese is a caramelised, sweetened goats cheese that, as a standalone product, probably sounds quite appealing to the average cheese lover. It would be impossible to spend any time in Norway without coming across this local delicacy. 

It’s how the Norwegian cheese is usually served, which puts some people off. Take havrevafler (savoury oat waffles) or sveler (thick Norwegian pancakes), for example. Both of these dishes are traditionally served with brown cheese, sour cream and jam. 

A Norwegian waffle, minus the brown cheese: Photo by Tresting/ Flickr.

While this combination may not sound too appealing, it’s an essential meal for anyone wanting to experience Norwegian food culture. It is a tasty, well-balanced combo that works surprisingly well. 

Pinnekjøtt 

Translated to meat on a stick, Pinnekjøtt is one of several dishes you may find on the menu if you opt for Christmas dinner in Norway. The dish is eaten all over Norway but is more commonly found in Western and Northern Norway. 

The dish is comprised of boiled and smoked lamb ribs, sausages, potatoes and pureed swedes.

A bowl of Pinnekjøtt ready to be boiled. Photo by Bernt Rostad/ Flickr

The lamb ribs are the highlight of this meal and are tender and tasty when properly cooked, although they are also incredibly rich, meaning once a year is probably enough for this yule time staple. 

READ ALSO: Ten aspects of Norwegian culture foreigners need to embrace

Kaviar

Kaviar, smoked cod roe that is creamed and put into tubes can be found in every supermarket in Norway and almost every fridge. 

While it may not sound very nice, this is a popular snack or breakfast, typically served on bread or crispy bread (knekkebrød). 

Kaviar has a strong salty taste, with a distinct smell that may put some people off, but it’s certainly worth giving a go. 

Lutefisk

It won’t shock you to hear that Lutefisk is our pick for the Norwegian food that is as bad as it sounds.

Lutefisk is a dried white fish pickled in lye and rehydrated before eating in case you haven’t heard of it. 

A plate of lutefisk. Photo by mtcarlson/Flickr

It’s almost exclusively served as part of a Christmas feast or julebord. 

Lutefisk is traditionally dished up with boiled potatoes, green peas and bacon. 

The smell of Lutefisk is strong and pungent with a sour ammonia aroma. The fish itself has a very mild taste, but its gelatinous texture is what puts many people off of trying the fish again. 

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DISCOVER NORWAY

Where are Norway’s Michelin star restaurants?

Norway is home to four new Michelin-starred restaurants following the recent publication of the Nordic Countries Guide for 2022. These are all the Norwegian restaurants to receive a star in the Michelin Guide. 

Where are Norway’s Michelin star restaurants?

Four new Norwegian restaurants received Michelin stars when the Nordic Countries Guide for 2022 was published this week. 

Scandinavia’s cooking elite gathered in Stavanger on Monday to award this year’s stars and individual honours for chefs in the Nordics. 

Three of the new stars awarded were given to restaurants in Oslo, while the other star was given to an eatery in Bergen, taking the number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city on Norway’s west coast to two. 

One of the newcomers, Hot Shop, named after the former sex shop the building used to house, is located on Københavngata street in east Oslo. The canteen-style bistro serves tasting menus based on seasonal, local ingredients, which the Michelin Guide describes as “elegant, vibrant and technically adept, with delicate touches and real depth of flavour”. 

Schlägergården in Lilleaker, on the eastern outskirts of Oslo, was also awarded its first star. However, it was the fourth time restaurant manager Bjørn Svensson had received a star for one of his restaurants. The restaurant is in a converted 18th-century farmhouse with a set menu consisting of local produce, some foraged, grown, or preserved by the eatery’s staff. 

Michelin describes the food there as “pure, expertly crafted dishes which have bold, emotive flavours”.

Located right on the border of Grünerløkka and St. Hanshaugen in central Oslo is Hyde, the third restaurant in the capital to receive its first Michelin star this year. The guide credits the service and “laid-back, lively atmosphere” as major pulls for the restaurants.

Over on Norway’s west coast, Lysverket in Bergen was awarded a Michelin star. The eatery serves up creative, modern takes on Norwegian dishes accompanied by craft cocktails. The restaurant is housed in an art museum with the menus showcasing “intelligently crafted, balanced dishes”. 

The other restaurant in Oslo, boasting a glowing review from the Michelin guide, was Maaemo, which retained its three Michelin star status. The new Nordic cuisine behemoth focused on organic and biodynamic produce is located in the heart of Oslo on Dronning Eufamas gate street.

A few other chefs and restaurants received accolades at this year’s presentation. Heidi Bjerkan took home two awards, the first for excellent service at her sustainable Michelin-starred restaurant Credo. One of her other restaurants, Jossa Mat og Drikke, won a green star, given to eatery’s that excel in sustainable operations. 

A Norwegian, Jimmy Øien, scooped the award for the best young chef. Øien is the chef at Rest located on Kirkegat in Central Oslo and holds a green star for sustainable practices. The menu heavily emphasises using imperfect produce, which other places may otherwise discard. 

Several restaurants also retained their status. Renaa, with its kitchen located in the heart of the restaurant, has two Michelin stars and is commended by the guide for the quality of its Norwegian seafood dishes and the bread it produces at a nearby bakery. 

The 2022 guide also includes Kontrast (Oslo), Statholdergaarden (Oslo) , Under (Lindesnes), the biggest underwater restaurant in the world, Sabi Omakase (Stavanger), Bare (Bergen), FAGN (Trondheim), Credo (Trondheim) and Speilsalen (Trondheim), which all have one Michelin star.

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