Food in Norway
While Norwegian eating habits have grown more cosmopolitan in recent decades, traditional Norwegian “farm” cuisine is still commonly consumed. It is prepared from whatever can grow in the northern environment, can be preserved for a year until fresh crops grow, and has enough energy to perform hard labor. Regional variations in traditional cuisine are enormous, and what one Norwegian considers to be “typical traditional” may be completely unknown to another. Variations of yeasted and unyeasted bread and other kinds of bakery, porridges, soups, creative uses of potato, salted and smoked meat, and fresh, salted, or smoked fish are typical examples. Dried cod (trrfisk) and salted cod (klippfisk) are mainstays of coastal towns in the west and north, and may be seen drying on outdoor racks throughout the spring and summer. Norway’s national meal is frikl, a stewed casserole of lamb meat and cabbage. Other specialties include lutefisk (lyefish), which is prepared from dried/salted fish that has been processed in lye, and potato dumplings served with salt meat (raspeball) or combined with fish (blandeball). In Western Norway, sheep’s head (smalahove) and dried mutton ribs (pinnekjtt) are typically offered before or during Christmas.
Finer traditional cuisine is often centered on hunted animals or fresh seafood. Steak, medallions, and meat balls from game, deer, reindeer, and elk are popular worldwide meals, as are fresh, smoked, and fermented salmon variations, as well as a variety of other fish items. Other unique additions to international cuisine include lukket valntt (marzipan-covered whipped cream cake) and lukket valntt (marzipan-covered whipped cream cake). Cheese of different kinds is widespread, but one especially Norwegian favorite is brun geitost (brown goat-cheese), a mild sweet cheese that, in color, texture, and flavor, has an uncanny resemblance to smooth peanut butter.
Today, Norwegians eat a lot of sliced bread for virtually every meal except supper, while hot meal recipes may be found almost everywhere in the globe, including, of course, the traditional kitchen, but seldom the most extreme instances. Lunch is typically bread and snacks rather than a hot meal, but this is made up for by eating properly at dinner. The majority of Norwegians do not eat out for lunch and instead have a fast meal at work.
Norway maintains high food import taxes, particularly on meat, dairy goods, and alcoholic drinks. Norwegians who reside near Sweden or Finland often cross the border to purchase these items.
Norwegians are also renowned for purchasing a large quantity of frozen pizzas at low rates at any grocery shop.
Places to eat
Eating out is costly, with fast food beginning at 50 kr and sit-down dinners in a good restaurant often exceeding 200 kr or more for a main dish. Even a quick sandwich and a cup of coffee at a petrol stop may set you back NOK70 (€9, USD11.50). Self-catering is one method to save money, since youth hostels and guesthouses often offer kitchens for their guests. Supermarkets and food shops are not difficult to come across; even in the tiniest town, there is typically more than one. Rimi, REMA 1000, ICA, and Joker are the biggest chains. Breakfast is often substantial and buffet-style, so overindulging at breakfast and skipping lunch is a possibility. Purchase or carry a lunchbox before attending breakfast, since most larger hotels will enable you to fill it up for free from the breakfast buffet for later use.
Look no farther than the local grill or convenience shop for a cheap fast snack Norwegian-style, which will serve up a sausage (pølse) or hot dog (grillpølse) in either a hot dog bun (brød) or wrapped in a flat potato bread (lompe) for about 20-30 kr. However, if you purchase in the incorrect (read: improper) locations, costs may skyrocket above 50kr. Optional toppings include pickled cucumber (sylteagurk), fried onion pieces (stekt løk), and shrimp salad, in addition to ketchup and mustard (rekesalat). To get the most bang for your buck, get a (kebab I pita), which is lamb meat grilled on a spit and then fried to order, served with veggies in a pita bread. This tastes excellent, is quite filling, and can be purchased in downtown Oslo for as cheap as NOK40. Outside, you’ll have to rely on your grillpølse.
There are very few vegetarian dishes on the menus of Norwegian cuisine restaurants, although they will create anything if requested, with variable degrees of success. Peppes Pizza, Dolly Dimple’s, SubWay, and Esso/On the Run are just a handful of the few store/restaurant brands that always offer a vegetarian choice (spinach panini).
Allergies and diets
If you have lactose sensitivity or a gluten allergy, Peppe’s Pizza, Dolly Dimple’s, Subway, and Burger King are all excellent options. However, if you prefer to dine someplace a bit nicer, asking the restaurant’s maître d’hôtel is usually a smart idea. Even though it is not on the menu, they may be able to accommodate you in certain circumstances.
Because food laws in Norway are very stringent, the ingredients for whatever you purchase are always written on the packaging, and if you ask, you will always be informed what is in the meal you order.
Norway has excellent food safety standards. Salmonella is very uncommon in the United States when compared to other nations, and health authorities check eateries on a regular basis. Tap water is generally quite good as well; Voss water from Vatnestrm in Aust-Agder is actually sold overseas, especially to the United States.
Drinks in Norway
Norway is often referred to as a “dry” nation because alcohol is expensive, with a glass of wine or beer in a restaurant costing NOK60 or more. Lower costs may frequently be found in cities and towns with a large student population, such as Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, and Troms. Inquire with young people on the street or at your place of residence about where to go. Beer may be purchased in supermarkets, but wine and heavier alcoholic drinks must be obtained at state-owned liquor shops (Vinmonopolet). The Vinmonopolet is a monopoly, but it maintains excellent quality and a diverse product line; the best items are reasonably priced. The high cost of alcohol, on the other hand, does not deter the residents from having a good time. They are often seen drinking and having a good time at neighborhood street parties and on their porches.
Because of the high costs, the custom of holding vorspiel and nachspiel before going out is extremely popular in Norway. The terms come from German and may be rendered as pre- and post-party. On weekends, it is fairly uncommon for Norwegians to meet at a friend’s home and not depart until after twelve o’clock in the evening. So, if you’ve witnessed Norwegian drinking culture elsewhere and are surprised by an empty bar/club at ten o’clock, contact a Norwegian buddy and ask where the vorspiel is. (If that individual is one of the numerous Swedes living in Norway, vorspiel would be foreplay – they would say foreparty.) It’s going to be a lot of fun. Clubs tend to fill up around the time of midnight. However, this is mainly true on weekends; throughout the week, you’ll frequently see Norwegians lounging at bars, having a few beers or a bottle of wine.
In Norway, you must be at least 18 years old to buy beer or wine, and at least 20 years old to buy spirits with an alcohol concentration of 22% or more.
Drinking in public is technically illegal. This rule is very severe, and it even extends to your own balcony if other people can see you! Fortunately, the rule is seldom enforced (for example, instances of someone getting fined on their own balcony are very uncommon), and Norwegians do indeed drink in parks. There have been demands to change the outdated legislation, and there has lately been a media debate: most people appear to think that drinking in parks is OK as long as people have a nice time and stay quiet. However, if you disturb others while inebriated, or if a police officer is in a foul mood, you may be ordered to throw away your alcohol and, in the worst-case situation, punished. Drinking openly on the street is certainly still regarded somewhat impolite, and it is more likely to draw police notice than a picnic in a park, therefore it is discouraged. Of course, having a glass of wine on the sidewalk at a business that legally sells alcohol is not an issue.
If you’re intoxicated, avoid peeing in big cities like Oslo; penalties for public urination may reach NOK10,000 (USD1,750)! However, urinating at a spot where no one can see you, such as a few yards into the woods, is usually not an issue. You should also be cautious about public drunkenness, particularly in the capital, Oslo. If the authorities believe you are disturbing peace and order in a tiny town, they will not hesitate to lock you up for the night.
All alcohol with a volume percentage of less than 4.75 percent may be sold in ordinary stores in Norway. This implies that good beer may be found all over the area. The cost of imported beer varies, although it is generally costly (except Danish and Dutch beers brewed in Norway on licence like Heineken and Carlsberg). Beer shopping hours are strictly enforced: Every weekday at 20:00 (8PM) and every day before holidays at 18:00 (6PM) (incl Sundays). Because the sale hours are set by the local council, they may change, however these are the most recent times set by law. This implies that the beer must be PAID FOR BEFORE THIS TIME. If you don’t pay, the person behind the counter will take your drink and say, “Sorry buddy, too late!” On Sunday, you may only purchase alcohol at bars/pubs/restaurants.
You’ll need to locate a Vinmonopolet branch if you want strong beer, wine, or hard alcohol. The state store offers a fantastic selection of beverages, however they are generally exorbitantly priced. Table wines are often more costly than in almost any other nation. Expect to pay NOK80-90 for a good “affordable” wine. However, since taxation is dependent on the amount of alcohol per bottle rather than the wholesale cost, more rare wines may frequently be found at comparable cheaper rates than in private venues in other countries. Vinmonpolet is open Monday through Wednesday until 17:00, Thursday through Friday until 18:00, and Saturday until 15:00.
Many car-borne tourists (as well as Norwegians on shopping excursions to Sweden and Finland) bring alcohol into Norway, although there are import limits for private use; 1 litre of liquor and 3 litres of beer are permitted without paying hefty taxes.
The most common brands found in pubs are industrial lagers from Ringnes, Hansa, Borg, CB, Mack, Aass, and Frydenlund (accompanied by a vast array of imported drinks). However, in the past 10 years, a slew of microbreweries and craft brewers have made locally produced beer of all kinds and, in many cases, of excellent quality accessible. For example, Ngne, gir, Haandbryggeriet, Kinn, 7 Fjell, and many more. Beer from small or speciality breweries may also be found at pubs or cafés such as Mikrobryggeriet (Bogstadveien Oslo), Lorry’s (Parkveien, Oslo), Grünerlkka Brygghus (Oslo) or Beer Palace (Aker Brygge, Oslo), GRI (Flm), Trondhjem Mikrobryggeri (Trondheim), and Christianssand Brygghus ( (Kristiansand).
Norwegian akevitt, a distilled beverage with approximately 40% alcohol content, differs from other Nordic and German aquavits in that it is always produced from potatoes and matured in old sherry barrels. Although the recipes are kept secret, most Norwegian aquavits are flavored with caraway and anise. There are at least 27 distinct Norwegian aquavits, each suited for various types of food, beverages, or as an accompaniment. Aquavit is particularly popular with traditional Christmas foods. Lysholm Linie (a nice all-round aquavit to go with not too heavy food), Liten Linie (with salted and smoked meat), Gammel Opland (all-round, especially good with traditional lutefisk), and Simers Taffel (to go with herring) are the classics; if you enjoy the taste, you should also try Gilde Non Plus Ultra (as avec). The “Linie” aquavits have really crossed the equator twice while maturing!