One of my favorite things to do when travelling is to sample the local dishes. We had a lot of fun sampling all sorts of new foods when we visited Stockholm last June. We tried many adorable little restaurants in Gamla Stan (old town) and also along the canals. We used tripadvisor and our handy Rick Steves and DK Eyewitness Guidebooks to help us find some restaurants, but mostly we would walk around and look at menus and just try whatever looked good. Honestly, we had a great time and very good food everywhere we went.
RAGGMUNK (pictured above) is a Swedish potato pancake, served in the traditional manner with lignonberries and thick slices of pork. A little Swedish beer washed it down nicely. Nice hearty supper. Good thing we walked about 20,000 steps per day! These delicious lignonberries showed up in many dishes, and were always available for me to mix in with my morning oatmeal at the hotel breakfast buffet. You can find Lignonberry preserves all over the place served with a surprising assortment of foods. I was a fan of lignonberries. They are akin to cranberries, I would say, but maybe a little sweeter.
PICKLED HERRING is a BIG deal in Sweden, so you really ought to try some. If you read the Girl with a Dragon Tattoo books, you know they talk about this stuff all the time. I know I was not jumping up and down to try it, but it was really very good! It was more of a small appetizer rather than a full meal. Maybe I liked it so much because my expectations were very low, or possibly because of the 20k+ steps per day. Nonetheless it was quite good.
SWEDISH MEATBALLS are everywhere as well. It seemed just wrong to visit Sweden and not partake in the meatballs. They were even better than at Ikea!
MEATS THAT YOU DON’T SEE BACK HOME pop up on the menus frequently. So I tried elk and reindeer, because I thought I should. They were perfectly fine but maybe a little heavy for a warm June night. I am not sure I would seek these out again, but I was game to try some new things. Pun intended… hahaha!
SKAGEN is a dish we saw on the menu everywhere we went. It is pretty much a very tasty shrimp salad made with tiny coldwater shrimp with dill and served on toast points or on a hearty multi grain bread. Sometimes it was served with roe, or a caviar kind of thing on top. This was always very good. We had a LOT of Skagen.
CINNAMON ROLLS are a national favorite and are less sweet than you find back home. The Swedes love to have FIKA which is their version of a coffee break. At Fika you have your coffee and a little treat, usually a cinnamon roll. We heard a lot about Fika from the locals.
AQVAVIT and SCHNAPPS are popular liquors here. You have already heard of these if you read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It seems to be pretty popular to drink one or the other of these, and then start singing. Singing is a pretty popular evening activity in Stockholm, it seems. I tried some aqvavit and it was just as strong as I expected. I stuck to the Swedish beers, and those were more my speed. If we wanted to feel extra-Swedish we would toast in the Swedish way…”Skoal!”.