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5 most bizarre Norwegian dishes Posted by on Aug 31, 2014 in Food, Traditional

An exotic country, Norway has got its share of rare dishes. Native Norwegians may not agree with me, but I think the most bizarre Norwegian dishes are the following:

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Lefse. Thanks to kurisorokku on Flickr.

5. Lefser with brunost. A lefse is a Norwegian tortilla, only with hvetemel and potet (potato) instead of maize (corn). Wrap it around some brunost (Norwegian brown cheese), and you have a nice add-on to kaffien (the coffee). Why is this strange? Well, it depends on your smak (taste)! A few times, it tastes just too much of dusty flour and burnt caramel… Jamie Oliver thought brunost was noe søtt kliss (some sweet ”goo”). Many visitors absolutely adore it.

Komlemiddag

Komle (top right ”corner”). By Jarvin (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

4. Komler. I’ve seen the eyes of Norwegians twinkle as they told me they were about to eat komler or raspeballer, as they’re also known. The English name for such white, spongy, round thingies is ”potato dumplings”. I never understood the charm of chewing hot balls of flour. Somewhere there’s supposed to be a tinge of potatoes.

3. Dravle. As a kid on his first visit to Norway I had a hard time digesting some spoonfuls of this traditional dessert. The Big Norwegian Encyclopedia tells us that dravle is usually made from milk that is being heated till it almost starts boiling, ”under tilsetning av surmelk og evt. halvpisket egg, slik at ostestoffet faller ut i hvite klumper” (during the addition of soured milk and eventually half-whipped eggs, so that the casein/”cheese stuff” emerges as white lumps). – I wasn’t able to find a free photo of dravle, but take a look here.

ForkLutefisk

Lutefisk. By Jonathunder (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Lutefisk. You take a torsk (cod), dry it for some months until it becomes as stiff as parchment skin. Then you put your tørrfisk (dried fish) to soak for some days, steep it in lut (lye – a substance with a pH value similar to soap), before you let it soak in some more water. The result is a very watery delikatesse (delicacy), to say the least…

512px-Smalahove01

By PerPlex (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

1. Smalahove. No doubt about this one. As if eating the hove (= hode, head) of a smale (= sau, sheep) wasn’t weird enough, smalahove afficionados in Western Norway even slurp the sheep’s little brain and big, empty eyes.

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About the Author:Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


Comments:

  1. mærie:

    It’s interesting to see how these traditional foods have transitioned to the “New World” by the descendants of immigrants. I like brunost-peanut butter sandwiches, and brunost (ekte geitost here) with soft boiled eggs and cayenne on toast is also a favorite. We use lefse as sandwich wraps and (you guessed it!) tortillas for tacos, etc. We have rømmegrøt (instead of dravle) with maple sugar. I recall having some kind of raspeballe (with bacon in it) as a child. Lutefisk is like that favorite uncle you adore in spite of his faults; also proves that if you add enough butter, salt and pepper (and akevitt) you can eat darn near anything. I haven’t tried smalahove or rakfisk as they are not commonly found where we are in Minnesota. Maybe someone in Norway will invite me over for dinner??

    Takk!

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @mærie Hello Mærie, yes, it’s very interesting, I had no idea that you eat those kind of things ”over there”. 🙂 I would like to try your sandwich with brunost, peanut butter, boiled eggs and cayenne – wow, that’s international! LOL at the akevitt comment! 😀 Hilsen Bjørn

  2. Jeanette Robinson:

    I LOVE Lutefisk- am searching for a website that will show me how to make the akevitt to go along with it!!

  3. M. Kittleson:

    Just made lefse a couple weeks ago; getting ready for Thanksgiving…still a favorite in the family. Will do so again before Christmas, along with Rosettes and Krumkake. Rommegrot always for Halloween to keep you warm. Dad always made the lutefisk for Thanksgiving. Might have a try at the Komler and the Dravle.

  4. Kristina:

    They sell Linje Akevitt at many large liquor stores here in the US. I prefer cinnamon and sugar on my lefse… or maybe wrapped around a hot dog. Our local church makes “mølse” once a year as a big fundraiser. It is milk boiled for about 4 hours and then prepare a renet milk mixture that firms up and drop pieces into the boiling milk to create “kleppas”. Some people add cinnamon. It is served cold as a soup. It originates from a small area of ytre Sogn (which is were many people around here have ties to).

  5. Arthur Anderson:

    My grandparents came from Stavanger and Risor around the turn of the 20th Century. Two of the above foods are not weird to me. Lefse with Gjetost (Brunost) and Komler. Of those two I prefer Lefse but Komler is the Scandanavian equivalent of the Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage. I think my mother used potato flour and oatmeal to make the Komler and inside each ball was a piece of fatty pork. She served it with Corned beef and Cabbage and maybe a turnip or two. It was warm and filling but not weird. She made fiskesuppe with three varieties of fish plus some Lutefisk. I don’t think any of us touched it and took two days to air the kitchen out ! Smalahove is something I never had nor wish to. Thanks for posting this.

  6. dandilion:

    I love “dravle”. I might make som during Christmas. “Dravle” together with “potetkake” is really good. I make “dravle” the way my grandmother thought me. You can see how here: http://dandilion.blogg.no/1324579379_oppskrift_p_farmors_d.html
    It’s written in Norwegian.

  7. John Carringer:

    I am told that nowadays that lutefisk is eaten mostly in Minnesota. Norwegians would rather have pizza.


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