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What to eat in Norway: Enjoy a gastronomic adventure

Norway, with its stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage, offers a culinary experience like no other. From fresh seafood caught in the bountiful Norwegian waters to traditional dishes that reflect the country's history and traditions, Norway has something to satisfy every palate.

In this article, we will take you on a gastronomic journey through the flavors of Norway, exploring the must-try dishes. So, pack your appetite, and let’s dive into the culinary delights of Norway.

Seafood: A Taste of the Ocean

Fish soup in Norway

Norway’s long coastline and proximity to the sea make seafood an integral part of the country’s cuisine. From the famous Norwegian salmon to succulent cod, there is a wide variety of fish to tantalize your taste buds.

One dish that stands out is the Gravlaks, a cured salmon marinated in a mixture of sugar, salt, brandy, and dill. The result is a melt-in-your-mouth texture and a rich, flavorful experience. You can enjoy it in thin slices with a simple salad or a creamy dill sauce.

Seafood lovers should also try the Fish Soup (fiskesuppe), a delicate and subtle soup made with local small fish (pollock, cod or salmon) and served with cream, potatoes, carrots, and celery.

Traditional Norwegian Delicacies

Tove in Tromsø making lefse

Norway has a rich culinary heritage, and there are several traditional dishes that you must try during your visit. One such dish is Pinnekjøtt, a hearty meal made from salted, air-dried rib of sheep. It is traditionally served on Christmas Eve and is accompanied by mashed kohlrabi. The rich, salty taste of the meat is balanced by the sweetness of the kohlrabi, creating a unique flavour combination.

Another traditional sweet treat is Lefse, a sweetened variety of soft flatbread. It is typically slathered with a blend of butter, sugar, and cinnamon, making it a perfect treat to enjoy with a cup of coffee. Lefse is often folded or rolled for easy portability and can be found in ferries and well-stocked grocery stores throughout the country.

Unique Meat Dishes

Reindeer meat

Norway offers unique meat dishes that reflect the country’s natural resources and traditional farming practices. One such dish is Reindeer, a lean and gamey red meat that is a must-try for non-vegetarian visitors. Reindeer is typically roasted and served with mashed potatoes, peas, and lingonberry jam. Its mild flavor and tender texture make it a delightful culinary experience.

Lamb is also a popular choice in Norwegian cuisine, and one dish that showcases its flavors is Farikål. This simple 3-ingredient recipe and hearty stew is considered Norway’s national dish, consisting of boiled mutton and cabbage served with boiled potatoes and flatbread. The slow simmering of the ingredients enhances the flavours, resulting in a mouth-watering meal.

Vegetarian Options

While Norway is known for its meat and seafood dishes, vegetarians can still find options to satisfy their taste buds. The availability and quality of vegetarian and vegan options have improved in recent years, especially in larger cities.

Most restaurants will offer vegetarian dishes, and some may even have dedicated vegan choices. However, it’s important to note that outside major cities, vegetarian options may be limited.

If you’re travelling with Hurtigruten, a cruise line that explores the Norwegian coast, vegetarian options are available onboard. Most tours and tourism activities also offer flavorful meat-free and dairy-free meals (soups or stews) – we at Best Arctic offer vegetarian options on all our own northern light tours, as well as dog sleding and snowmobile tours.

Norwegian lunch and snacks


Start your day the Norwegian way with a traditional Norwegian lunch. It often consists of a light meal with fruit, cheese, bread, and cold meats. Fish options may also be available, reflecting the country’s love for seafood.

For a quick snack, try Tørrfisk, a dried and preserved Atlantic cod often enjoyed as a fishy jerky. It can be eaten as is or rehydrated and used in various dishes such as soups or grilled preparations.

Indulge in sweet delights

No culinary journey is complete without indulging in some sweet treats. Norway offers several desserts and pastries that will satisfy your sweet tooth. One such delight is Svele (pancake), a batter-based cake that has gained popularity throughout the country. It resembles American pancakes but is typically enjoyed warm from the pan. Svele is often served buttered and covered with sweet toppings such as syrup or uniquely Norwegian brown cheese.

For a taste of traditional Norwegian desserts, try Multebaer (cloudberries). These tart orange-colored berries are considered a delicacy and are often enjoyed in the form of Multekrem, a confection of cloudberries, whipped cream, and sugar.

Norway’s culinary scene offers a diverse range of flavours and experiences. From fresh seafood to traditional meat dishes and sweet delights, there is something for everyone.

Whether you’re a seafood lover, a meat enthusiast, or a vegetarian, Norway has options to satisfy your taste buds.

So, embark on a gastronomic adventure and explore the unique flavours of this Nordic country. Just remember to budget accordingly and savour each bite along the way.


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