Photo: Christin Eide
Fjord Tours Articles / 3 May 2019

Traditional Food Experiences in Norway

Norwegian cuisine has evolved in recent years with the influx of global influence but the traditional food experience remains at large. In many ways, the Vikings played an important role for habits and customs in this part of the world but the truth is, the mountains, rivers, ocean and raw materials available have shaped what we know as traditional Norwegian cuisine.

Photo: Thor Brødreskift

Traditional Food Experiences in Norway That You Should Actually Try

It’s true, local meats, grains and vegetables are readily available at every turn in Norway and when it comes to the waters, this land is home to some of the most incredible seafood. When you consider the long, cold winters, locals have needed to craft their methods, while the wildlife in Norway ensures that this is one of the number one destinations to sample lamb, sheep and even game meats.

Photo: Christian Roth Christensen /

About the Local Meats and Game Meat in Norway

While many locals are quick to recommend “smalahove”, not every visitor wants to sample sheep’s head which is a delicacy in certain pockets of Norway. On the other hand, Norwegian lamb is a huge favourite and this is especially tender due to the wide expanses and clean pastures on which these lamb graze. From mutton cured in sea salt to cutlets and racks of lamb, the variety of ways in which you can try the meat is just as impressive as the taste.

You should also know that Norwegians treat sustainability with the highest respect and every inch of the animal is used for one purpose or another. While this is unlikely to please vegetarians, it’s a much better approach than the more industrial meat production you can find many other places.

Game meat is also incredibly popular in Norway and this is served both at home and in local restaurants. Moose meat is common and this tastes a little like venison, while the Sami people herd reindeer to the north and this meat is particularly lean. Meanwhile, grouse breast has an intense and tender taste, and due to the increased population of deer, you will also find this meat smoked, cured or dried.

Photo: The Oslo Tour

About the Bread and Cheese in Norway

Bread is a staple for most Norwegians and this comes in many forms such as "kveldsmat" (supper or evening meal) and "knekkebrød" (crisp bread). In fact, bread has been common since medieval times and the grains, fibre and nutrient along with various health benefits ensure that this variety continues to increase by the day.

Just so you know, the Norwegians also invented the ostehøvel which is used for slicing cheese and brunost is a common favourite which is usually eaten on waffles of bread. Needless to say, the surroundings and environment is ideal for producing goat or cow milk which enables local cheese makers to focus on creating some excellent cheeses. However, Norwegian cheese mongers have really expanded their horizons in recent times and introduced a long lineup of cheese to the locals including blue cheese, brie, gamalost and camembert.

Some of the Most Popular Traditional Food in Norway

As already mentioned, many ‘global’ foods or influences have seen an influx of pizzas, pastas, tacos and common foods that you might associate with other prominent cities in Europe. But many Norwegians still prefer traditional food and here are just a few examples of what you might like to sample:


Kjøttkaker is a combination of seasoned minced meat with many minor ingredients such as rusk or onions. After shaping them into small meatballs, this delightful mix is pan-fried and simmered in gravy before being served with creamy cabbage or mushy peas.


Although most often served at Christmas, Pinnekjøtt is a hearty meal of ribs of lamb on mashed kohlrabi. Consisting of a rich and salty taste, these ribs are full of flavour and nicely balanced by the sweetness of the mashed kohlrabi.

Pickled Herring

Another common delicacy in Norway, pickled herring is a very simple recipe in which brined herring is treated with salt and vinegar to preserve the fish. For many visitors, the taste is quite sweet and sour, while onions and various spices can make pickled herring especially unique.

Photo: Best Western Hotell Hordaheimen


After creating a nice stock with fatty cuts of pork, small balls of potato are simmered in this stock and then served with pan-friend bacon. As a rule, this is very much a farmer’s favourite, for the mix of salt and fats can also protect the body and mind from the cold temperatures outside.


Lutefisk is one of the more traditional meals in Norway. Simply put, dried cod is soaked in lye to create this festive dish and the tradition dates back to the 16th century. After being soaked in lyre, the cod is rinsed in water several times and then the fish is served with potatoes, bacon and mushy peas.


Freshwater trout can be found in many landlocked pockets of Norway and this fish is fermented to create Rakfisk. In fact, this trout is placed into wooden barrels of salt and spruce branches are then placed on top for months on end to ferment the fillet. When serving this delicacy, soft flatbread covered in sour cream is common, while beetroot salad also makes a nice addition

Photo: Christin Eide

As you can see, the Norwegians really love their delicacies and meat lovers in particular are sure to remember this food experience as a unique encounter with some very ancient traditions. If you feel inspired to get an educational taste of Norwegian culinary traditions, take a peek at our Norwegian Food Tours.

Food tours in Norway

Northern Lights Cuisine Cruise

Take in the atmospheric Arctic night onboard a silent electric ship with 360-degree uninhibited panoramas, both outside and inside.

Reindeer Sledding in Tromsø

Keen to meet the indigenous Sami people, hear their stories and have a close-up encounter with their reindeer? Join in on an authentic Sami culture and reindeer sledding experience at Camp Tamok. The daytime departure gives you a wonderful ride through white fairytale landscape while the evening tour offer excellent opportunities to experience the majestic Northern Lights.

Dog sledding in Lyngsfjord, Tromsø

Enjoy a dog sledding trip into white landscapes, through beautiful wilderness. After your trip you can relax with a hot meal served in the traditional Sami herdsmen’s tent- lavvu!

Meteorological menu at Cornelius Seafood Restaurant

Just outside the City of Bergen, you will find one of the most exotic attractions in the whole of Western Norway’s archipelago. Cornelius is one of Norway’s best seafood restaurants and a meal here is truly unforgettable. Experience a 5-course meal at Cornelius including transportation from and back to Bergen on a scenic boat ride!

Local Food Safari in Røros

Experience a unique local culinary experience when they visit the 'local food capital' of Norway! On this local food safari in Røros, specially trained guides will lead you through the  narrow and historical streets of Røros.