I drew this page in my journal to remember the foods I’ve loved the most while in Norway. I am always interested in traditional foods, so wanted to make an effort to try out some old favourites while I was there. However, if you go to a restaurant in Norway, the prices will have Australians falling off their chairs. I paid, get this, AU$60 for a burger! This wasn’t at a posh place. Just at a pub. If I’d wanted a glass of kombucha to go with it, I’d have had to shell out another $15. Gulp.
Luckily, I found other ways to enjoy Norwegian traditional foods. I started by grilling my friend Torhild about the foods she had eaten as a child, that would be available in the supermarket. Then I worked my way through weird packaged foods to try them all out.
One popular dish is kjøttkaker i brun saus (meatballs in gravy). At the supermarket, for around AU$10, you could buy a box for a ready meal, which contained little packages of meat balls, gravy, sour cabbage, and cloudberry jam, which are often eaten with it. I bought some carrots, peas and potatoes, boiled them (Norwegians seem to boil nearly everything), and then added the packaged ingredients. It was delicious. I don’t do packaged foods at home but it was a fabulous and inexpensive way to try really different foods, and to get a real taste of Norway.
I also tried fiskebollar (fish balls) with the same method and loved them. Very different flavours and textures than we eat here in Australia.
I noticed lots of rice and barley porridge in the supermarket, so I bought a packet of ready-made barley porridge and practically inhaled it, it was so delicious. It was unsweetened, just had some salt added. The picture showed some strawberries on top, so I added them. Yum!
I also ate pickled herring, brunost (weirdly sweet Norwegian brown cheese that feels like you’ve filled your mouth with glue), gulost (a mild yellow cheese that seemed to be very popular) and loved them all.
I loved the traditional cultured milk, a mild drinking yoghurt, which was a standard offering in every supermarket. I brought home some of their culture to see if I can make my own.
The best, best thing about Norwegian food was the berries. I ate bucketloads of strawberries and raspberries. You could often find raspberries on the side of the road, for anyone to pick. When I stayed in the tiny seaside town of Tau, the raspberries were so abundant that I could go for a walk and gorge myself upon them until I simply couldn’t eat another. To me, this is a miracle. If only we could do that here!