If you ever find yourself in any Scandinavian country then you’re probably aware of their rich culture and some of the traditions they’re been following for centuries. Scandinavia is the part of Northern Europe and includes Denmark, Sweden, Norway, but sometimes Finland and Iceland are included. These countries have so much to offer travelers: the amazing northern lights, stunning architecture, endless national parks and of course, VIKINGS.. I mean.. delicious and healthy Scandinavian food! If you’re a bit like me, a passionate traveler who loves to try different the many traditional cuisines in each country I visit, then you’ll definitely enjoy your stay. Gotta mentiong one thing though; Scandinavians eat very healthily so get ready to work on revealing those abs while you travel. This is a guest post from Agness and Cez, two best friends who’ve been traveling for 7 years and love to write about the most amazing food Scandinavian countries have to offer, so read on!
Is Scandinavian Food Healthy?
When you compare European diet with a more ‘Western’ one, 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, leading to various health problems. It’s not such an odd thing that more and more people are getting health problems regarded to their poor eating habits. Are Scandinavian countries following the same path as the rest of Europe? The shortest answer is not as much. Although of course, there are many fast-food restaurants in Scandinavia, the culture is different and people seem to rather eat local cuisine, a much healthier choice. Scandinavian countries are surrounded by sea, so their traditional Scandinavian food 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. Generally, meals are also light and include relatively few simple carbs. Instead, they consume a lot of vegetables and rye bread. This is how so many Scandinavians stay healthy and fit while still consuming delicious food.
We’re going to share with you the most amazing Scandinavian food, that’s a ‘must try’ during your next visit to Scandinavia.
#1 Pork Shank
The best holiday advice 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 Scandinavian foods you can try is Pork Shank. This dish isn’t for vegetarians, but it’s relatively healthy and super tasty. What’s a pork shank you may ask? Well, a traditional portion of pork shank comes as a nice chunk of meat from the lower pig leg, combined with mashed potato or another healthy source of carbohydrates. The pork is seasoned with different spices and left to sit in the mixture for up to a few days. The pig leg is often also smoked which creates that wonderful smokey taste so sought after by meat lovers. However, be very careful when eating this dish as it contains bones, so take care of your teeth and enjoy your meal!
Another very healthy Scandinavian food is also based on fish protein from salmon. Gravlax is one of the most popular dishes from the 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 common way is to serve it on rye bread with mustard sauce. Scandinavians also love to eat potato prepared in many different ways that will provide you with a healthy source of carbohydrates. This meal is ideal for travelers who don’t have much time (or money) 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 on the road.
Do you like pancakes? Then you will definitely fall in love with Raggmunk. Raggmunk is a traditional Scandinavian food, in the form of a Swedish pancake, that is often served as a desert in the restaurant. The only difference is that these pancakes are a healthy alternative to regular ones. These 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 alternatives like applesauce. These pancakes are crispy and spend any time there and you’ll notice that Swedish people love to also eat it combined with different pork dishes.
#4 Pickled Herring
Pickled herring is another delicious dish based and a healthy source of fatty acids. As you may have noticed, Scandinavian food tends to include a lot of fish, which is understood to have a positive impact on their health long-term. They have so many different ways to prepare herring, but one of the most convenient is pickling. This dish takes a long time to prepare as the herring goes through two curing processes. The first stage is when the herring is cured with salt before the salt is removed and the fish is seasoned with different spices, creating an extraordinary taste. Scandinavians love to serve this dish with onions, cooked eggs, mashed potatoes and sour cream. That’s a common meal you’ll probably see in many restaurants, so don’t hesitate to try this healthy and super tasty dish when you find it.
#5 Pea Soup
Scandinavians consume a lot of soup mainly as an appetizer. Pea soup is not your traditional soup with the main ingredient of the soup being dried peas, that give the dish an exciting layer and color. There are different variations to this favourite appetizer among the Scandinavian countries, so don’t be surprised if you try dozens of different versions of pea soup on your trip. It’s usually served with bacon or meat of some sort that has been previously smoked and seasoned to enhance the soup. Peas are a great source of vitamins as well as antioxidants.
What Scandinavian food did you find most amazing during your trip?