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Foodie Adventures in Norway Part 2
By Trish Smith
12 October 2010

When I was growing up my parents encouraged me and my siblings to try unusual foods from around the world or just uncommon ingredients that would, as my mother put it, help to develop a more sophisticated palate. As a result, I’ve always been fairly game to try something new, just for the sake of trying it. I always drew the line at tripe, though. I continue to draw the line at internal organs. And in the case of Scandinavian cuisine, I declined the offer of whale meat. Just couldn’t do it.

So here’s what a picnic lunch in Oslo might look like: creamy prawn (shrimp) salad, salami made from reindeer, thin slices of cured elk meat, chocolaty-brown cheese, all piled onto rye crispbread with lashings of sour cream.

shrimp salad

Reindeer salami

Elk meats

Actually, when I think about it, this is also pretty similar to what could be found on the breakfast buffet at every hotel I stayed in while I was in Norway. Large platters of smoked and pickled fish, jarlsberg, brunost (brown, sweet goats cheese), sandwich meats and salamis... and big baskets of fresh bread in all different varieties. There was always at least one large loaf of multigrain bread sitting on a heavy wooden board with a sharp knife so you could cut a slice or two off, as thick as you liked. Lucky for me, they breakfast buffets also had plenty of eggs, fruit and cereal. I wasn’t always up for pickled herring first thing in the morning.

I think, after a while, my body could get used to eating this kind of breakfast. Like in Bangkok, the foreigners who live there grow accustomed to the cuisine and, importantly, the bacteria that can be found in much of the street food that makes visitors ill. The Norwegian breakfast didn’t make me feel unwell, but it was pretty intensely flavoured. Though I guess you could argue it’s not much more intense than Vegemite on toast.

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