Danish Food: 10 Dishes to Try in Denmark

Danish food

Danish food is slowly gaining popularity around the world. In the past, Denmark was mainly known for its pastries, but just as you would expect, the country has a lot to offer on the culinary scene. If you visit Denmark, you will most likely eat out, so here are a couple of suggestions on foods to eat in Denmark!

Smørrebrød

A very simple dish, but one that is incredibly tasty and very common in Denmark. Smørrebrød is basically an open sandwich – a piece of quality bread with lots of different toppings. The toppings will usually be cold cuts of meat or fish, such as ham or smoked salmon, accompanied by butter, cheese, selected vegetables, and so on. Shrimps are often used too, and the bread will almost always have a layer of butter. The name ‘smørrebrød’ literally means buttered bread.

Smørrebrød is typically served at social meetings as lunch or as a small meal a couple of hours before or after the main dinner. However, many people also eat it by themselves at home, so it is not only for special occasions. Some restaurants specialize in smørrebrød and if you go to a fancy Danish restaurant, you might be able to order a piece of smørrebrød as a starter.

Rugbrød

Rugbrød (rye bread) is one of the most popular types of bread in Denmark. Sometimes used for smørrebrød, and sometimes used for sandwiches or as a quick bite to eat – rugbrød is used for many purposes and many Danes eat it every single day.

It is seen as a healthier and fuller choice than white bread. Danish rye bread will often have lots of seeds in it, adding further to the nutritional benefits. Rugbrød is sold in every supermarket and is usually eaten at home. It is rarely served in restaurants or at parties, aside from buffets and as small side pieces to the main course.

Stegt flæsk

Often considered to be the national dish of Denmark: Stegt flæsk is a cut of pork belly, fried on the pan, and accompanied by potatoes and parsley sauce. If you want to order this at a Danish restaurant, look for “Stegt flæsk med persillesovs”.

It became popular among the Danes in the late 19th-century, and now it is something that most Danish people eat quite often. Since it is difficult to eat this dish in other countries, it is one of the few things that you can only really try in Denmark.

Ørred

This fish, known as herring in English, is one of the most popular things to eat in Denmark. You can find it in all sorts of variants. Most people will buy smoked herring in the supermarket for daily use, but you can find more fancy variants of this fish by visiting some of the many seafood restaurants in Denmark.

It is expensive, usually priced in the same range as salmon. However, many fishing enthusiasts catch their own herring, since it is found in the waters around Denmark.

Frikadeller

Every country has a specific type of meatballs, and so does Denmark. Frikadeller is the name, and it is one of the best Danish foods. Most Danes will eat it monthly, perhaps even weekly, usually cooking a large batch at a time so there is enough for dinner, but also enough for lunch on the following day.

Frikadeller is made with ground pork meat, flour, milk, eggs, onion, salt and pepper. These ingredients are all mixed, and small meatballs are then formed. These are cooked on a pan with a thick layer of butter. It is an affordable thing to make, so frikadeller are typically cheap to eat in restaurants and in street food markets. If you get invited to someone’s home for dinner, there’s a good chance that they will make this dish!

Krebinetter/karbonader

Another pork-based dish that many Danes love to eat. It has two names, depending on which area of Denmark you visit – it can be either krebinetter or karbonader, but it is usually the same thing. To keep things simple, we will refer to it as krebinetter from this point.

Krebinetter are also made with ground pork meat, but they are quite a bit bigger than frikadeller. Nothing is mixed initially – large patties are formed with the meat, and then layers of flour, eggs and breadcrumbs are added before they are cooked on a pan with butter. It gives a slightly fried taste, and it tastes really good. Krebinetter are almost always served with potatoes and the traditional brown Danish sauce. A very typical Danish meal as well!

Røde pølser

Røde pølser – red sausages – are the definition of street food in Denmark. There will be wagons on the streets selling these in almost every city. You can get the sausage alone, and dip it in ketchup or mustard, or you can get it with bread – this way, it becomes sort of like a custom-made hot dog.

This is an affordable food that is rarely eaten as either lunch or dinner, but as a quick snack when you’re outside. Need a break from shopping or sightseeing? Go to the nearest sausage wagon and buy a red sausage! Very popular among locals, and it is something that most tourists like to try as well.

Kanelsnegle

Now, cinnamon rolls might be sold in many countries, but it is unlikely you will find any as good as the ones in Denmark! They have the name kanelsnegle, and they are really sweet. They come in all sizes – small ones and big ones. Be sure to buy your cinnamon rolls in a real bakery. You will find a couple of them in ever town/city.

Hindbærsnitter

While cinnamon rolls are known everywhere, this one is more typical for Denmark. No other country has something quite like hindbærsnitter – small pastries with two plates of dough, raspberry marmalade in the middle, and a thin coat of glazing on top. Now, there are a few different kinds of hindbærsnitter, but start out with the classic white one. They are cheap and all bakeries in Denmark sell them. This is one of the most popular pastries in the country, so it is a must-try for all visitors!

Æbleskiver

In the wintertime, Danes love to eat æbleskiver. It is a Danish snack made from the same dough that is used for pancakes but shaped in balls and baked in the oven. No snack is more Danish than this, and even though the Danes only consume it in the winter, it is a true classic that you must try. Most people make their own æbleskiver, and they eat them at home. But you will find it as a dessert in some restaurants and as a snack in many cafes.

If you have heard of the concept hygge, but you never found a real explanation for it, simply try to imagine staying inside with your friends, eating æbleskiver and drinking glögg or coffee, while it is snowing outside.

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