Experience the Most Amazing Foods of Scandinavia

November 8, 2017 (Last Updated: December 4, 2021)
by Carolyn
Scandinavian cuisine

If you ever find yourself in a Scandinavian country then you’re probably aware of the rich culture and traditions they’ve been following for centuries and this includes the cuisine.

Scandinavia is the part of Northern Europe that includes Denmark, Sweden and Norway but often Finland and Iceland are included when Scandinavia is referred to.

Planning a visit to the Danish capital Copenhagen?  This article is a must-read.

These countries have so much to offer for the visitor – amazing Northern Lights displays, stunning architecture, endless National Parks and of course, delicious but healthy cuisine.

If you’re someone like us, a passionate traveler who loves to try different traditional cuisine around the world, then you’ll definitely enjoy your stay in Scandinavia. We must mention one thing; Scandinavians are eating very healthy too.

In this post, Agness and Cez, two best friends who’ve been traveling for seven years, write about the most amazing food the Scandinavian countries have to offer.

Sliced herring

Is Scandinavian Cuisine Healthy?

When you compare European cuisine with Western cuisine, you will notice that Europe has much healthier food. The thing is that Europe is steadily but slowly introducing Western fast food in their culture, which at the lowest level could be compared to poison!

It’s not an odd thing that more people get diseases related to their poor eating habits. Are Scandinavian countries following the same path as the rest of Europe? The shortest answer is no.

Although they have many fast-food restaurants, the Scandinavian culture is different and people prefer to eat local cuisine which is a much healthier choice.

Scandinavian countries are surrounded by seas, so their traditional cuisine is full of fish recipes. Fish is known as one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, especially northern fish like herring, trout and mackerel.

A Scandinavian’s usual meals are light as they don’t eat many carbs. Instead, they consume a lot of vegetables and rye bread. That way, they stay healthy and fit while consuming delicious food.

Now, we’re going to share with you the most amazing Scandinavian foods you must try during your visit.

salmon Scandinavian cuisine is heavily fish-baed and is extremely healthy.

#1 Pork Shank

The best holiday advice you can get when you find yourself in Scandinavia is to skip junk food and immerse yourself in an amazing culinary experience. One of the most fascinating and delicious food you can try in Scandinavia is Pork Shank.

This dish isn’t for vegetarians, but it’s very healthy and tasty. What’s a pork shank you may ask?

Well, a traditional portion of pork shank comes as a nice chunk of meat from a lower pig’s leg combined with mashed potato or other healthy sources of carbohydrates. The pork is seasoned with different spices and left to sit in that mixture for a few days.

Also, an interesting fact is that the pig leg is smoked, offering a fantastic experience for meat lovers. However, you should be very careful when eating this dish as it contains bones, so take care of your teeth and enjoy your meal.

knuckle of pork Pork shank is the perfect meal for meat lovers.

#2 Gravlax

Another very healthy Scandinavian dish is based on a fish protein from salmon. Gravlax is one of the most popular dishes from Scandinavian countries that you’ll find in almost any restaurant as it’s commonly served as an appetizer.

The dish contains a fresh salmon seasoned with different spices and cured in salt for extra taste. There are a hundred ways of serving this delicious dish, but the most noticeable one is to serve it on rye bread with mustard sauce.

Also, Scandinavians usually love to eat potato prepared in different ways that will provide you with a healthy source of carbohydrates.

This meal is ideal for travelers who don’t have much time available as you can easily prepare it yourself. The recipe needs only a few ingredients and you can pack it in a portable bowl and eat it during the exploration of your destination.

salmon slices Salmon is an ideal source of proteins and healthy fatty acids.

#3 Raggmunk

Are you a person who can’t pass up the pancakes at dessert time and are always trying new toppings? If this sounds like you, then you will definitely fall in love with Raggmunk.

Raggmunk is a traditional Swedish pancake that is often served as a dessert in a restaurant. The only difference is that these pancakes are a healthy alternative to regular ones.

These pancakes are made from potatoes, flour and eggs and usually seasoned with onion, salt and pepper for extra taste.

There are many toppings available, but the most popular ones are sour cream or some sweet alternative like apple sauce. These pancakes are very crispy and Swedish people love to eat them combined with different pork dishes.

ham pancakes Raggmunk is a healthy version of pancakes made of fresh potatoes.

#4 Pickled Herring

Pickled herring is another delicious dish based on a healthy source of fatty acids. As you may notice, the Scandinavians tend to consume a lot of fish and that has a positive impact on their health long-term.

There are many different ways to prepare herring, but one of the most convenient is a pickled version. This dish requires a bit longer in the preparation process as the herring goes through two curing processes.

First the herring is cured with salt and then the salt is removed and the fish is seasoned with different spices for extraordinary taste.

Scandinavians love to serve this dish with onions, cooked eggs, mashed potatoes and sour cream. That’s the meal you’ll probably see in many restaurants, so don’t hesitate to try this healthy source of fatty acids and animal proteins.

pickled herring Herring is one of the most common ingredients in Scandinavian cuisine.

#5 Pea Soup

Pea soup is not your traditional soup and Scandinavians mainly consume soup as an appetizer.

The main ingredient of the soup is dried peas that give an exciting layer and color to the soup.

There are different variations of this favorite appetizer along the Scandinavian countries, so don’t be surprised if you try dozens of different pea soup varieties on your trip.

The soup is usually served with bacon or meat that has been smoked and seasoned to enhance the taste of peas in the soup.

Pea soup is a great source of vitamins and it can serve as an antioxidant.

pea soup Pea soup is a great appetizer but can also be served as a main dish

TIP: If you’re lucky enough to be in Sweden at Christmas time, make sure you try a Saffron bun.

Agness and Cez  About the authors:  Agness and Cez are best friends from Poland who travel the world and write about their experiences on their blog, eTramping.  You can also follow their adventures on Facebook, Twitter and  Instagram.


5 delicious Scandinavian foods to try
Scandinavian foods