Norwegian food and Scandinavian food in general is quite a popular cuisine, but have you ever heard of any other dishes than Meatballs? If not, you’re definitely missing out! Norwegian food has a huge comfort feeling to it, with dishes revolving around the presence of potatoes and gravy. So what’s not to love? Here are 7 authentic Norwegian foods that you absolutely must try, whether you’re looking for new breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack ideas. I promise you won’t regret it!
Number 1: Lefse
Lefse is a huge staple in Norway as a teatime or breakfast food. It is essentially a sweetened flatbread, traditionally served with butter, cinnamon and sugar on top, and then rolled, or cut into portions. Many norwegain families make lefse from scratch, but it can also be found pre packaged in almost every supermarket.
This is also a super popular snack sold on ferries, especially up in the north of Norway, that many people pick up when they’re on their way to their summer houses.
Lefse essentially means ‘bread’ in Norwegian, but when talking about any kind of Lefse, this is usually what they mean. If you’re looking for a new snack to get obsessed with, I would definitely recommend Lefse. It’s sweet, satisfying and impossible to put down.
Recommended spot to find it: Any supermarket will sell them, and many cafes will as well. Try a local cafe in your area!
Number 2: Pinnekjøtt
This is a hearty food, traditionally eaten at Christmas Eve on the Norwegian dinner table. It can be eaten year round but traditionally is prepared for Christmas. Pinnekjøtt is salted, air dried sheep rib, that is then rehydrated and steamed, traditionally over birch sticks. This can also be baked and many families have their own secret recipes when it comes to making Pinnekjøtt. It is usually served with mashed swede, but can be eaten with a variety of sides including mashed potatoes and vegetables. And don’t forget the gravy!
If you’re a lover of ribs, you’ll be sure to love this hearty Norwegian version.
Recommended spot to find it: Pinnekjøtt isn’t usually served in restaurants as it’s more of a special occasion meal, so your best bet would be finding the ingredients and attempting to make it yourself; it’s surprisingly easy!
Number 3: Fiskekaker
Norwegian food revolves a lot around seafood, as in the past it was predominantly a fishing country and still is today. There are a lot of fish in the Norwegian diet, but one of the traditional favorites is Fiskakaker. These are not like your traditional fish cakes however, as the texture of these is a lot smoother and almost creamier. They are most commonly made from haddock, but can also be made from cod or other white fish, depending on who makes them. The fish is usually put through a meat grinder many times in order to achieve that smooth texture and is then blended with spices and potato flour, formed into cakes, and fried. Fiskekaker is served with boiled potatoes, vegetables and hvit saus (white sauce that resembles a bechamel). This is a must try dish for anyone wanting to learn about Norwegain food, and it’s great even for people who don’t like fish because there are so many other flavors in the dish. Highly recommended!
Recommended spot to find it: Most food courts in Norway serve fiskekaker, no matter where you are in the country. This is another dish, however, where you can buy all the ingredients from the supermarket and make it yourself. Trust me, it’ll be a thousand times better.
Number 4: Brunost
This is a controversial one, a bit like marmite. Some people love it and others absolutely hate it, but either way this is a quintessential Norwegian food that everyone must try at least once. Brunost is translated as brown cheese, and it’s a mixture of cow and goats milk cheese, but what makes this cheese so unique is the flavor. There really is no other like it. Brunost has a kind of caramel flavor to it, making it a little sweeter than other cheeses, and doesn’t even taste a lot like any other popular cheeses in supermarkets. This is because the milks are boiled together until a curd forms, like any other cheese, but keeps boiling in big kettles so the sugars are left to dissolve and caramelize. This makes Brunost its distinct caramel color, as well as giving it that caramel flavor that many Norwegians know and love.
It is known as a lunchbox staple in Norway, and is used on anything from sandwiches to crispbread to waffles, and can easily be found in any supermarket. This is a must try cheese, and many people get super addicted once they try it, so be careful!
Recommended spot to find it: All supermarkets in Norway sell brunost, but if you want really good brunost, find a local delicatessen in the area you’re staying at, and you’ll find the best quality brunost there.
Number 5: Norwegian Waffles
Norwegian Waffles are a huge part of any Norwegian person’s childhood, and adulthood. Belgian waffles may be super popular around the world, but nothing compares to the lightness and crispiness of a Norwegian waffle. Made in special waffle makers, the Norwegian waffle turns out to look a little like a flower, with six hearts that can be torn apart. The exterior is sweet and slightly crispy, with a super fluffy, soft interior. Norwegian waffles are usually served with jam and sour cream, or most commonly, jam and brunost. It’s a surprisingly good combo, don’t knock it till you try it!
Recommended spot to try it: These are widely available from food stands throughout the summer season, perfect to be enjoyed outdoors. You can also find them in most cafes during the year, and they’re always reasonably priced and perfect for a cup of coffee.
Number 6: Sursild
Sursild, also known as pickled herring, is very popular and can be found in most Norwegian supermarkets. It is also popular in other parts of Scandinavia such as Sweden. Sursild can also be made at home quite easily and only takes a few ingredients. Many people get put off by Sursild but it is actually a very popular and flavorful food, and can be eaten in a variety of ways, most popular in open faced sandwiches, for breakfast or lunch, but can also be eaten for dinner, served with potatoes and sour cream. The flavor can be considered quite strong, but definitely adds depth to any dish it is served with, and is a must try food for anyone wanting to visit Norway!
Recommended place to try it: Buy sursild at the supermarket with some cheese and crackers and have a little picnic in the park. Perfect for a sunny afternoon!
And Finally, Number 7: Pølse med Lompe
This may seem like a weird one but trust me, it is one of the best things about Norway. Pølse med Lompe is essentially a hot dog wrapped in Lompe, which is a tortilla like bread made from potato flour, making it a lot softer and thinner. It is wrapped around a pork hotdog and served everywhere, from gas stations to kiosks, to IKEA. It is a popular snack food or light lunch and is incredibly delicious and loved by many Norwegians. The best part of this is that when you get your hotdog, you can put sauces on yourself. Many people opt for ketchup or mustard, but the real winner is hotdog dressing: a mayonnaise based dressing that is to die for. This is a must try for when you get to Norway, and although it seems so simple it is honestly the most comforting and satisfying food.
Recommended place to try it: A personal favorite is the corner shop Narvesen, which is open every day of the week
Which Norwegian foods were you most intrigued about? Let me know if you’ve tried any of these and what your thoughts were