Norway is home to all sorts of dishes that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The way that they preserve meat and fish is completely unique. The country’s distinctive cuisine has been shaped by a 100,000-kilometer coastline, long winters, brief summers, tall mountains and thick forests, creating something truly unique. I recently came across an article that shares some of the greatest (and strangest) foods to come out of Norway, which are listed below:
Smalahove: Literally “sheep’s head”, this is a Christmas tradition in western Norway. It’s a dish you need to serve hot, since the fatty areas taste better warm. Traditionally, you’re supposed to start with the eyes.
Great scallop: Norway’s cold waters mean that seafood takes longer to grow, which in turn makes the flesh particularly plump and tender. Norwegians are known to love their fish, so much so that they’ll drink Omega 3 at Christmas to line their stomachs beforehand.
Mahogany clam: The world’s oldest known animal was a mollusk caught off the coast of Iceland and estimated to be 507 years old. The ones off the northern coast of Norway, which chill in the depths of the Arctic, are a relatively young 150-200 years old. They’re collected by men who go to the very bottom of the ocean.
Dried food: In the old days, Norwegians dried and salted everything to make it last longer. Fermenting, pickling, salting, curing and smoking are about trying to prolong the plenty of summer.
Cod fish: Cod is one of Norway’s chief exports, served in a variety of methods, and all parts of the fish, including the tongue, are eaten. Technically it’s not as much the actual tongue as the underside of the cod chin, breaded in flour and then fried in butter. Torrfisk, air-dried cod, has been a staple of Norwegian cuisine since at least the 9th century.
Gamalost: Dating back to the Vikings, this is a hard, crumbly cheese with an intensely sharp flavor and pungent scent. Production may be labor-intensive, but since it never gets old, it was a staple in the days before refrigeration.
Brunost: While galamost is a bit polarizing even for Norwegians, brunost is a sweet-savory brown cheese, made from caramelized whey, that everybody loves. It’s eaten on toast with jam at breakfast, but also on soft Norwegian waffles. At Christmas, it’s eaten on a festive cake.
Reindeer and elk: While elk has a more dry and wild taste, reindeer tends to be sweeter.
Farikal: Norwegians love their sheep and lamb. Their national dish is farikal, a lamb and cabbage casserole traditionally eaten in fall.
Cloudberries: Nicknamed “arctic gold”, cloudberries are golden-yellow in color and can only be found in the wild. They have a tart, appleish flavor and are often made into jam.
Lutefisk: This gelatinous mix of dried fish and lye is a festive specialty made by air-drying fish, then soaking it in cold water for a week, followed by a two-day soak in caustic lye soda. After that, it’s soaked in water again for a couple days. It’s a seasonal dish, and is only available in the winter.
Salty liquorice: Norwegians salt everything, including their candy. While liquorice is disliked in most of the world, it’s wildly popular in Norway.
Rakfisk: Didn’t think we were done with fish yet? What about salting? Of course not! Rakfisk is salted, fermented trout that is just as tasty as it is pungent, thanks to a fermentation process that can last up to a year. It’s traditionally eaten with flat bread or potato bread, onions and sour cream.
King crab: In that remote part of Norway that borders Russia, there are safaris where you can hunt the Arctic King Crab, whose leg span can reach to nearly 2 meters. This is also the last thing on the list that has to do with seafood, I promise!
Seagull eggs: In late April and early May, Norwegians like to eat hard-boiled seagull’s eggs with beer. It’s a good idea to let the professionals harvest these for you; seagulls can get pretty protective of their eggs.
Whale: So, we weren’t entirely done with seafood. Norway is one of three countries still involved with whaling, and whale meat is widely available in Norway. Since whales are mammals as opposed to fish, they taste a bit like gamey meat such as venison.