The foods eaten by the people of Norway

Norwegian cuisine has a rich history, strongly influenced by the country's coastal geography, climate, and cultural interactions. Over the last 500 years, the diet has been primarily based on resources readily available, including fish, game, root vegetables, and dairy products. Here's an overview of foods traditionally eaten in Norway and how they have evolved:

Staple Foods

  1. Potatoes: Introduced to Norway in the 18th century, they quickly became a staple.
  2. Bread: Whole grains and rye bread are traditional staples.
  3. Rice: More recent but commonly used, especially in porridge and casseroles.


  1. Fish: Particularly cod, herring, and salmon, reflecting Norway's extensive coastline.
  2. Game: Moose, deer, and other wild game have been hunted for centuries.
  3. Lamb and Mutton: Particularly popular as "fenalår," a leg of lamb or mutton that is cured and dried.
  4. Dairy: Cheese ("brunost" is a uniquely Norwegian brown cheese), milk, and sour cream are prevalent in the diet.

Vegetables and Fruits

  1. Root Vegetables: Carrots, turnips, and rutabagas are common.
  2. Cabbage: Used in soups, stews, and fermented as "surkål."
  3. Berries: Cloudberries, blueberries, and lingonberries are native to Norway and are often used in desserts and jams.

Spices and Seasonings

  1. Dill and Parsley: Commonly used in fish dishes.
  2. Juniper Berries: Used to flavor game dishes and some traditional spirits.
  3. Cardamom: Found in baked goods.

Traditional Dishes

  1. Raspeballer/Komle: Potato dumplings often served with meat or fish.
  2. Lutefisk: Dried fish (usually cod) reconstituted in a lye solution, then cooked.
  3. Klippfisk: Dried and salted cod.
  4. Gravlaks: Salmon cured with sugar, salt, and dill.
  5. Rømmegrøt: Sour cream porridge, often eaten during the summer.

Sweets and Desserts

  1. Kransekake: A tower cake made from almonds, sugar, and egg whites.
  2. Lefse: A soft, potato-based flatbread, often sweetened with sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Multekrem: A dessert made from cloudberries and whipped cream.


  1. Coffee: Norwegians are among the world's biggest coffee consumers.
  2. Akevitt/Aquavit: A distilled spirit flavored with herbs and spices like caraway and anise.
  3. Beer: Home brewing has a long history, and modern craft beers are increasingly popular.

Foreign Influences and Modern Foods

  1. American Influence: Items like hamburgers and pizza have become commonplace.
  2. Global Cuisine: Sushi, tacos, and other international foods are increasingly popular in urban areas.

Norwegian cuisine has evolved to include new ingredients and culinary influences, but traditional dishes that capitalize on local ingredients continue to be beloved staples. The cuisine reflects Norway's maritime heritage, agricultural practices, and the need for food preservation during long winters. Overall, Norwegian food over the last 500 years offers a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity.

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