Scandinavian Food – What is it?

Yesterday on Facebook and Instagram we asked: “What do you consider to be the typical Scandinavian food?” In other words, what is the Scandinavian cuisine?

We had over a hundred comments revealing a wide range of different perceptions about the traditions and tastes of Scandinavia.

The comments ranged from “Frozen pizza” to “Anything that’s expensive”, or “Ingredients I can’t find”. Popular perceptions, however, revolved around seafood, potatoes, pickled herring, waffles, open face sandwiches, and game meat. And they are all correct! There’s so much more to Scandinavian food than salmon. In fact, Scandinavian food varies just as much as the steep mountains of northern Norway differ from the flat fields of Denmark. It varies from ancient “husmannskost” (“farmer’s fare”) to the Norwegian version of Mexican tacos. (And frozen pizza.)

In each of the Scandinavian countries, you will find different “highlights”. In Denmark for instance, open sandwiches based on rye bread, topped with a variety of meat, cheese, eggs, and sauce is something you just can’t miss if you ever travel there. And believe us, they are delicious!

In Norway on the other hand, fish is the big thing. This is probably due to the fact that a large part of the population lives nearby the sea. Surprisingly, the taco is also popular in modern Norway. (If you wonder how a Norwegian taco may look like, try the Norwegian taco recipe by Andreas Viestad.)

The Swedes involve a bit more red and white meat than their neighbors. You may have heard about this already, the Swedish meatballs, “köttbullar”?. They are also great at “fika”, meaning drinking coffee and eating sweets.

A typical Finnish meal would often involve reindeer meat, berries, and mushrooms. (If you fancy some, check out these meatballs.

Despite the different highlights, there are certain ingredients and traditions that bind it all together. To mention some, fish, meat, bread, cloves, dill, fennel seeds, potatoes, oats, lingonberries, are all key ingredients in the Scandinavian cuisine. Oh, and salt of course!

In New Scandinavian Cooking, we aim to bring Scandinavia to you. Will continue to explore the Scandinavian cuisine, traditions, and culture, and provide you with recipes representing the region. So stay tuned on our website, our Instagram or on Facebook.