Typical Norwegian Foods

I have been in Norway over 2 years now, and rightly or wrongly I think I have a feel for what typical Norwegian food is.

I discovered this by looking through a Norwegian recipe site (Mat Prat – Food Talk) for dinner ideas. I was struck that a fair few foods were familars now. So I am going would share these dishes with you, which form the basis of my Norwegian food vocabulary.

Main Meals

Lompe or long bread rolls are the accompliment to fried sausages, served with mustard, tomato sauce and onions. Lompe are potato based pancake shaped flat bread. As with most potato bread it is delicous, soft and moist. I enjoy eating finger foods so this is on my list of great things to eat. You can even get a gluten free version in grocery stores. The google translated english lompe recipe is spot on.

There is also a thicker sausage formed in a hourseshoe shape (like a black pudding in NZ). They come plain and  smoked and are served with my favourite surkål as well as boiled potatoes and carrots with mustard as the condiment. This is one of my favourite meals in winter.

MatPrat has an article (in Norwegian), called sausage facts (Fakta of Pølsevev) says that Norwegian sausages are some of the best in the world, most it says are 50% good meat and will not have more than 20% fat (down to3% being available). Other ingredients can include milk, starch, salt and spices.

Karbonader med lok (Meat pattie with onion) is a good meal I can get when going to my in-laws, and is commonly avaialble in my works cafeteria. I love the way my father-in-law cooks the onions.

A good comfort food for a cold day is Lapskaus (translated Lapkaus recipe).Use stewing beef, lamb, pork or a mixture for a hearty warming stew. I really have to get my mother-in-law, to teach me how to make this as I love her recipe. It’s the first thing I ate at my in-law’s place in Norway. Yum!

Lapskaus is served traditionally with flatbrød (Norwegian flat bread). Flat bread is a surprisingly tasty thin crispy bread, almost a large flat cracker. You break a sheet into pieces and spread with butter. We usually buy the store bought one – Mors Flatbrød.

I also really like fårikål (english translated recipe). Although I have only ever eaten a TV dinner style type. But it reminds me of NZ Corned beef boil up. Corned beef on this side of the world is thought of as the stuff in a can but in NZ the one used for boil up is a piece of beef which is submerged in salted water to “corn” it. It make a great meat for boiling with cabbage, carrots, potatoes and parsnips. Fårikål is lamb boiled with cabbage, so while it is different it is the same preparation I think that make me associate the two with each other.

Waffles, yum. Back home pancakes and pikelets are more the norm, even the neighbouring Swedes say norwegians eat more waffles than they. We had them at work evry Friday. If you buy a main meal you got to make a waffle on the waffle iron, cooked to your preferred crispness and accompanied by jam and sour cream. Mat Prats vafler (waffle) recipes are many, punctuating how popular they are here. We normally buy a Toro packet mix.

Either way its useful to know a Norwegian measure of fluids the decilitre or dl. One decilitre is a tenth of a litre (100 ml) so there are ten decilitres in a litre. 4 dl = 400 ml.

Light Meals

You can serve waffles with jam alone, jam and sour cream, or with brown cheese. Jarle eats his with bacon, maple syrup and a side salad, but I have a feeling that is not common practice. I eat mine kiwi styles with maple syrup, bacon and banana or berries.

My favourite jam recipe I got from my mother-in.law. It goes like this, pick some berries, sprinkle them with sugar and mash gently with a fork, leave to sit for a little and then use. Most of the jams (syltetøy) here are loser than back home and have less sugar so are fresher and taste more I find. Still her recipe is the best if you have fresh berries.


Desserts are usually simple affairs here, one of my favourites is Karamel pudding (caramel pudding). We usually serve with whipped cream, caramel sauce and dark chocolate pieces. Dark chocolate here can be bought in thin sheets which breaks easily into pieces. Back in NZ I think to recreate this for anyone I would coarsely grate the dark chocolate.

Chocolate pudding and vanilla sauce is also a favourite. We get it pre-made or for a real treat get the packet mix and make it yourself. Making it yourself involves adding milk and the packet mix to a pot and cooking till it just boils then cooling for a couple of hours. Vanilla sauce can be bought pre-made or also made from a packet, and making this is just adding it to milk and mixing. Although the packet also suggests making it up with half milk and half cream to make vanilla cream. Vanilla cream can be used as a cake filling eg between layers of sponge, which sounds good to me.

Rips (red currents) are something I will always associate with Norway. I love berries and I love tartness and rips are both. Here is a recipe for a dessert using rips, but their uses are multitude, including use with meat and savoury sauces. Rips med vaniljesaus (Red currents with vannila sauce).

Want something for a cold winters morning that will stick to your ribs, then Rømmegrøt (Sour cream porrige)  is the dish for you. This heavy rich dish is often served with cold cuts I am told but I have only ever tried it alone, that is with sugar and cinnamon. After trying it at a food fair I tried to make it at home and found it magical how the sour cream on cooking turns into butter. They even have a special high fat sour cream here that is used to make it. Ordinary sour cream will work but I am not so sure about low fat sour cream. Low fat would make a tasty porrige I am sure but not sure it would make the butter. I have tried making it also with whole wheat flour and with semolina and while it’s not traditional I say semolina is my favourite.

I am told “tradditional” food also includes Le Grandiosa, a pizza. I havent covered Special occasion foods like Christmas or birthdays, as I tried more to cover every day foods.