Norway has a pretty unique list of common foods in comparison to many other parts of the world, as well as foods that have sustained the country for thousands of years. Let’s go over some of the most distinctive Norwegian foods out there to try!
The word smalahove means “sheep’s head”, and is meant to be taken literally. This dish is an actual sheep’s head! It is most commonly eaten on the last Sunday before Christmas Day. It has to soak in water for at least a day, followed by another day soaking in a brine.
Smalahove is served hot and normally people eat the eyes first. Although this might sound weird or even a bit gross, this is considered a Norwegian delicacy.
Brown cheese, which is known as brunost in Norwegian, is another common staple. It is often eaten for as a breakfast or lunch item, as well as a snack. Technically speaking, it is not a cheese. Instead it is made from the whey of a goat’s milk and the end result is a brown colored product that has a distinct savory and caramel-like flavor.
You can eat it atop crackers or toast, much like how Americans often butter their toast, or Australians use marmite on toast, as some examples.
Stockfish has a long history in Norway, spanning thousands of years! In fact, Vikings commonly ate stockfish during their voyages. Stockfish is a form of dried cod. They got the name stockfish because they are usually dried on racks known as stocks.
It is actually a fairly involved process to make stockfish. After they dry outdoors, they go indoors to “mature”, and are often left inside for up to a year! After all of that, by the time it is finally ready to be cooked, you have to soak it for up to a whole week! While this is one of Norway’s staple foods, it is exported to other countries around the world, such as France, Nigeria, and the United States of America, to be enjoyed.
Lutefisk is a form of stockfish that has been pickled in lye. Most of the time, it comes from cod, but can be other fish as well, such as burbot or ling. After the hydration process that comes along with using lye, the result is a rather gelatinous looking product. Like smalahove, this dish is associated with Christmas, and is often eaten during the holidays.
Skrei is another fish. To be specific, it is the Norwegian Arctic Cod. This one is caught during their annual migration, which occurs from January to April. This type of cod is supposed to have the highest nutritional value among cod, as well. They provide lean meat and what many describe as a delicious taste.
This fish is becoming more popular outside Norway, as well, with Skrei markets being set up in other countries like Germany and France. In other words, this is becoming a sought-after dish even outside Norway.
This form of candy might not be what you expect. Instead of a purely sweet treat, the salty liquorice is bitter, with an almost astringent taste. If you are used to candy being sweet, it is likely to take you more than a few tries of eating before you begin to enjoy it.
This liquorice is often paired with dark chocolate. Of course, just like candies in America and other countries, there is no single brand or type. Instead, multiple companies make variations of salty liquorice, so it can be worth trying a few different types to find one you like.