Wondering what Norwegian food is all about? Norwegian cuisine has evolved over the years, yet it has consistently been at the forefront of ethically farmed, locally sourced ingredients for generations. Sweet and sour flavouring is used extensively, and seasonal berries and fruit perfectly balance game meat and delicate fish dishes. If you’re wondering what to eat in Norway, read on to learn about food you need to try in Norway.
Many of Norway’s specialties are still fished, hunted, or home-grown. With extensive coastlines, vast fields, and plentiful forests, the country is prospering with raw materials.
For any visitor to the country, it means you’ll have an abundance of wholesome, fresh, and seasonal foods to try. It doesn’t get any better than that!
OK, let’s get to it.
Here’s what to eat in Norway – 12 dishes you need to try:
We know, it doesn’t sound so appetising, but looks can be deceiving. Brunost is a common, Norwegian name for mysost, a family of cheese-related foods made with milk, whey, and/or cream. The whey of goat’s milk is boiled down, which caramelizes the sugars. The resulting product is left to cool, and a tan-coloured ‘whey cheese’ with a distinctive caramel flavour.
Brunost can be eaten at any time of the day. The most popular way is to slice pieces of brown cheese and place it on rye toast at breakfast time.
Very popular in the cold Winter season, Lapskaus is a Norwegian stew that can be made by using fresh or leftover meats. Beef or lamb is used in this dish and the biggest pot in the kitchen is required.
A variety of root vegetables are added to this stew, such as onions, potatoes, carrots, swede, celeriac as well as various spices and herbs.
Klippfisk (dried or salted codfish)
Klippfisk is fish preserved through salting and drying. It must be desalted by soaking it overnight before it can be eaten. A popular and inexpensive recipe using klippfisk is a hearty Scandinavian fish soup. I’ve enjoyed klippfisk folded through some buttery mashed potato too. Yum.
Norwegians love their fish. You’ll see it in every form possible, including smoked, poached, dried, pickled, grilled, and fried. Pickled herring is a local delicacy in Norway. And it is a must eat food in Norway.
The most common herrings come in a vinegar base, yet other flavourings are garlic and onion, mustard, and lingonberries. Typically it is served atop dark rye or crispbread or with potatoes and sour cream.
Lefse (Potato bread)
A type of Norwegian flatbread made using potatoes, flour, butter, and milk or cream. There are numerous types of lefse and you can roll different types of food in them.
Most Norwegians eat lefse with butter and sugar. Other popular ways to eat lefse are with nutella, cinnamon, home-made jam, or lingonberries.
Nowadays, it can also be used to create a savoury wrap with fillings or with eggs and bacon for breakfast.
Pølse (Norwegian hot-dog)
Norway has fast-food specialties too. The most common food-on-the-go would have to be pølse. This popular sausage is similar to a frankfurter or a hot dog. It’s one of the cheapest meals you can buy in Norway and easy to find in convenience stores to consume straight away.
This will be a food that locals recommend you eat if you ask the question about ‘what to eat in Norway?’.
The Norwegian style of eating the pølse is with lompe. A flatbread that is made from flour and water, grilled and then wrapped around the sausage.
Norwegians nowadays enjoy this delicacy with a variety of condiments. The hot dogs are made mostly from beef and pork. They can be wrapped in bacon, served with cheese, onion, ketchup, and mustard too.
Fiskeboller med hvit saus (Fish balls)
With fresh fish in abundance in Norway, it seems right that many popular dishes are prepared using it. A classic dish in Norway is fiskboller med hvit saus (fish balls in white sauce). It’s an easy meal to prepare and usually served with potatoes, broccoli, and carrots.
Salmon seems to be abundant in Norway, whether it’s served smoked, grilled, poached or cured. This fatty, delicious fish seems to fit the moody weather in Norway, yet it’s some of the best salmon in the entire world. Trust me. Norway is well know for first quality seafood around the world. In fact Norway is the second largest seafood exporter in the world, and the equivalent of 37 million meals caught in Norwegian waters are consumed worldwide each day. If you had to choose one type of food for the question What to eat in Norway, then seafood would be it.
What to eat in Norway for breakfast? A typical Norwegian breakfast usually consists of rye bread with various spreads, cold cuts, smoked salmon, cheese or jam. Most Norwegians drink coffee in the morning, along with juice & milk.
You’ll also find many Norwegians eat oatmeal, cereals, yoghurt, eggs, and crispbread for breakfast too.
Bergensk fiskesuppe (Bergen fish soup)
A refined fish soup from Bergen that is simply lovely. The base of this dish is light fish stock, then double cream is added to the rich stock. This delicate soup is served with small fish balls made using a mixture of finely minced fresh fish. In short, it’s like a warm hug you need during the cold winter days.
Sour cream, egg yolk and a touch of vinegar are added after it’s removed from the heat. The result is a delightful soup with a lovely depth of flavour.
You’ll see reindeer meat regularly feature on restaurant menus in Norway. The meat is cooked in a variety of forms, including meatballs, sausages, stews, and more. Reindeer meat is quite lean and high in nutrients and not found in too many other regions in the world. If you ask the locals, they would say reindeer meat is food you must eat when in Norway.
If you like custard and donuts, then you’re going to love this breakfast food. It’s a sweet donut treat with icing and coconut. However the most delicious part is the custard filling in the middle.
If you enjoy nice sweets, then choose this or keep your eye open for cinnamon rolls too. Both pastries are ideal to eat alongside your coffee or tea.
Click here to learn more about Norwegian Cuisine and travel to Norway.
Popular Food Experiences in Norway
And that’s it. These 12 dishes are a great start if you are wondering what to eat in Norway. You might also like some of our blog posts below.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 187 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.