In my first food post, I wrote about a couple of things that are stereotypically Norwegian, but Norway no longer lives only on fish and weird cheese! So what other foods is Norway obsessed with?
In the States, we have Top Ramen. In Norway, they have Grandiosa. Because higher education is free, Norway doesn’t have the same culture of starving college students that we do in the U.S., but food is expensive here (like everything else) and many students have not learned how to cook for themselves by the time they move off to college. Thus, they turn in droves to Grandiosa to sustain them while they learn how to be grownups. You can find it in the frozen section of any grocery store in several varieties from cheese and pesto to ham to a new, ambitious “nacho” flavor. It isn’t bad, but given the option I would go with Digiorno.
According to my German suitemates, döner is a version of the kebab that was invented and given popularity by Turkish immigrants to Germany. Basically, it is a hunk of spiral cut meat roasted on a stick and commonly served shredded in a sandwich or pita wrap. Most commonly it is beef or chicken, but pork and even vegetarian döner exist as well. Little kebab and döner restaurants are all over the place here. I swear there’s at least one, if not more, on every block in the city center, most of them grab-and-go, 7/11 sorts of places. Norwegian style döner is probably good, but I’m going to Berlin next month so I’m holding out for the real deal.
Kvikk lunsj and Solo
The hiking lunch of champions. Kvikk lunsj is a Norwegian chocolate bar very similar to a Kit Kat, with a slightly flakier and crispier inside. Norwegians will insist it is far superior, and it is good but honestly I didn’t taste much of a difference. Solo is Norway’s version of Fanta, the orange soda. This one I can get behind, as it is an orange soda that actually tastes like oranges, instead of like sugar or artificial flavoring! It seems weird for a country that is so health and fitness obsessed, but this candy bar and soda combo is the national favorite when it comes to packing a lunch for a day in the mountains.
That’s right, the taco has made it to Scandinavia! Tacos are a sort of cultural phenomenon in Norway right now, and every grocery store even has its own little section just for taco supplies. The most common taco supply brand is El Dorado, but they have the same sort of products you would expect from Old El Paso in the States: taco meat spice packets, salsa, wheat tortillas, and kits with taco shells. The salsa even has a decent kick to it!
Strangely, fish tacos are not a thing here; from what I have heard, the idea of breading and frying fish or combining it with anything spicy is pretty gross to Norwegians. They also commonly put cucumber, and sometimes pineapple, in their tacos, and use creme fraiche instead of sour cream, but to each their own, right? The thing that throws me off the most is that they eat tacos on Friday. Why “Taco Fredag”? Don’t they realize they are missing out on the alliterative beauty of “Taco Tirsdag”?!