Norwegian Foods

in its traditional form is based largely on the raw materials readily available in Norway and its mountains, wilderness and coast. It differs in many respects from its continental counterparts with a stronger focus on


Most Norwegians eat three or four regular meals a day, usually consisting of a cold breakfast with coffee and milk, a cold (usually packed) lunch at work and a hot dinner at home with the family. Depending on the timing of family dinner (and personal habit), some may add a cold meal in the late evening, typically a simple sandwich.


Middag - Dinner

Even though Norwegians love international dishes, there are some traditional ones that are still very popular.


Fisk - Fish

Rakfisk - Norwegian fish dish made from trout or sometimes char, salted and fermented for two to three months, or even up to a year, then eaten without further cooking. Rakfisk must be prepared and stored very hygienic, due to the risk of developing Clostridium botulinum (which causes Botulism) if the fish contain certain bacterias during the fermentation process.


Torsk - Cod: poached, simply served with boiled potatoes and melted butter. Carrots,fried bacon, roe and cod liver may also accompany the fish. A delicacy which is somewhat popular in Norway is torsketunger; cod's tongue.


Lutefisk - lyed fish: a modern preparation made of stockfish (dried cod or ling) or klippfisk (dried and salted cod) that has been steeped in lye. It was prepared this way because refrigeration was nonexistent and they needed a way to preserve the fish for longer periods. It is somewhat popular in the United States as a heritage food. It retains a place in Norwegian cuisine (especially on the coast) as a traditional food around Christmas time.


Preparation and accompaniment is as for fresh cod, although beer and aquavit is served on the side.


Stekt fisk - braised fish: almost all fish is braised, but as a rule the larger specimens tend to be poached and the smaller braised. The fish is filleted, dusted with flour, salt and pepper and braised in butter. Potatoes are served on the side, and the butter from the pan used as a sauce.


Fatty fish like herring and brisling are given the same treatment. Popular accompaniments are sliced and fresh-pickled cucumbers and sour cream.


Fiskesuppe - fish soup: A white, milk-based soup with vegetables, usually carrots, onions, potato and various kinds of fish.


Sursild - pickled herring: a variety of pickle-sauces are used, ranging from simple vinegar- sugar-based sauces to tomato, mustard and sherry based sauces. Pickled herring is served as an hors d'oeuvre or on rye bread as a lunch buffet.


Kjøtt - Meat

Kjøttkaker - meatcakes: rough and large cakes of ground beef, onion and salt and pepper. Roughly the size of a child's fist. Generally served with brown sauce Potatoes, stewed peas or cabbage and carrots are served on the side. Many like to use a jam of lingonberries as a relish. The pork version is called medisterkake.


Kjøttboller - meatballs:  A rougher version of the Swedish meatballs. Served with mashed potatoes and cream-sauce or sauce espagnol depending on localization.


Svinekoteletter - pork chops: simply braised and served with potatoes and fried onions or whatever vegetables are available.


Svinestek - roast pork: a typical Sunday dinner, served with pickled cabbage (a sweeter variety of the German sauerkraut), gravy, vegetables and potatoes.


All good cuts of meat are roasted, as in any cuisine. Side dishes vary with season and what goes with the meat. Roast leg of lamb is an Easter classic, roast beef is not very common and game is often roasted for festive occasions.


Lapskaus - stew: resembles Irish stew, but mincemeat, sausages or indeed any meat except fresh pork may go into the dish.


Fårikål - mutton stew: very simple preparation: cabbage and mutton is layered in a big pot along with black peppercorns, salt (and, in some recipes, wheat flour to thicken the sauce), covered with water and simmered until the meat is very tender. Potatoes on the side.


Stekte pølser - fried sausages: fresh sausages are fried and served with vegetables, potatoes, peas and perhaps some gravy.


Syltelabb is usually eaten around and before Christmas time, made from boiled, salt-cured pig's trotter. They are traditionally eaten using one's fingers, and served as a snack and sometimes served with beetroot, mustard and fresh bread or with lefse or flatbread. Historically syltelabb is served with the traditional Norwegian juleøl (English: Christmas Ale), beer and liquor (like aquavit). This is because Syltelabb is very salty food.

Pinnekjøtt with swede purée and potatoes


Pinnekjøtt is a main course dinner dish of lamb or mutton ribs, and this dish is largely associated with the celebration of Christmas in Western Norway, and is rapidly gaining popularity in other regions as well. 31% of Norwegians say they eat pinnekjøtt for their family Christmas dinner. Pinnekjøtt is often served with puréed rutabaga and potatoes, beer and akevitt.


Smalahove is a traditional dish, usually eaten around and before Christmas time, made from a sheep's head. The skin and fleece of the head is torched, the brain removed, and the head is salted, sometimes smoked, and dried. The head is boiled for about 3 hours and served with mashed rutabaga and potatoes.


Sodd is a traditional Norwegian soup-like meal with mutton and meatballs. Usually vegetables such as potatoes and/or carrots also are included.


Brød - Breads

Bread is an important staple of the Norwegian diet. Breads containing a large proportion of whole grain flour (grovbrød, or "coarse bread") are popular, likely because bread makes up such a substantial part of the Norwegian diet and are therefore expected to be nutritious. 80% of Norwegians regularly eat bread, in the form of open-top sandwiches with butter for breakfast and lunch.  A soft flat bread called lefse made out of potato, milk or cream (or sometimes lard) and flour is also very popular.


The variety of bread available in a common supermarket is rather large: wittenberger (crisp-crusted wheatbread), grovbrød (whole-wheat bread, often with syrup), loff (soft wheatbread), sour-dough bread and other German style breads. Baguettes, ciabatta, bagels and so on are also popular. During the Hanseatic era, cereals were imported in exchange for fish by the Hanseatic Legue. The German Hanseatic League and the Danish colonial masters obviously influenced the Norwegian cuisine, bringing continental habits, taste and produce. Norwegians are particularly fond of a crisp crust, regarding a soft crust as a sign of the bread being stale. Oat is used in addition to wheat and rye, and is perhaps the most unusual cereal in bread-making as compared to continental Europe and the UK. Seeds and nuts (like sunflower seeds and walnuts) are rather common ingredients, along with olives and sun-dried tomatoes, to improve the flavor of the bread.


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Middag - Dinner

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