How to eat properly in Stockholm
While the Scandinavian countries, especially Sweden, are known for their fish dishes, there are many other flavors, recipes and foods worth discovering. Here are some tips aboy exploring Swedish gastronomy like local and enjoy every single bite.
It’s important to remember that Swedes eat lunch early. Really early. By 11am many restaurants are already filling up, so one way to avoid the lunch rush is to eat after 1pm. Some restaurants, such as Taverna Brillo on Östermalm, will always be busy and thus need a booking, but in general the later you eat, the less likely you are to wait for a table.
Eat where you’re at
Swedes don’t travel for lunch. They eat at whatever is local and tend to return to the same places again and again, so when the hunger hits, make like a Stockholmer and pop into the nearest place.
Choose the daily special
Most restaurants in Stockholm offer a daily lunch special, called dagens rätt, which essentially is a daily special offered at a reasonable price.
Try something from local cuisine
If you are curious about traditional food here are some dishes you should nor skip:
1. Legendary Meatballs
ABBA, IKEA and meatballs: these are the things that come to people’s minds when they think about Sweden. ABBA have broken up, Borg has long retired, the Swedish chef sounds nothing like a real Swede and IKEA is so global it no longer really feels Swedish. Meatballs, though – they have stood the test of time. There are many wonderful places to taste this cultural food icon in Stockholm.
These anaemic-looking pork-filled potato dumplings are served with butter and lingonberry jam. Sometimes, other meat is used. Farmers loved to have them for lunch, because you can eat a few and not be hungry for the rest of the day.
3. Falukorv (sausage)
Pink, and with the texture of an old sponge (with nearly 50% meat – wow!), falukorv is a favourite comfort food in Sweden, where something called Korvstroganoff often ends up on the dinner table. It’s also served over pasta, and topped with ketchup.
4. Pickled Herring
This fishy favorite, and yet most typical and basic Swedish dish, is the pickled herring. Iit’s most commonly found at the center of the famous Smörgåsbord. The Smörgåsbord is a Swedish buffet which consists of meatballs, mini sausages, called prinskorvar in Swedish, or cured salmon. The pickled herring also comes with different flavors such as onion, garlic, dill and mustard, often served with potatoes, sour cream and at times, boiled eggs. Fishing for herring in Sweden has been a tradition since the Middle Ages.
5. Kalles kaviar (fish roe spread)
Caviar or fish roe is a favourite delicacy in Sweden, and some genius came up with the idea of taking fish roe and turning it into a cream, which was then stuffed into a tube. Swedes eat it on sandwiches, boiled eggs, egg sandwiches and even on avocado toast. It’s an acquired taste.
6. Tunnbrödsrulle (Swedish hotdog and shrimp salad wrap)
This is a late-night favourite and variations include adding mashed potatoes and some ketchup. Seriously. When the clubs close and people need to soak up any excess alcohol, Swedes will go for a wrap with three or four ingredients that seemingly have no relation to one another. Hotdogs with shrimp with mashed potatoes with ketchup? Try this one at your own risk, particularly if you’ve had a few.
7. Princess Cake
Each country has their own specialty when it comes to cakes and pastries, and Sweden has its own green princess cake topped with a bright pink sugar rose. The third week in September is officially the week of the princess cake since the Swedish princess, Märtha, was born on the 22nd of September. However, the cake itself can be seen during special festivals or birthdays. The story behind the cake’s name comes from Prince Carl Bernadotte’s daughters: Princesses Margaretha, Märtha and Astrid, who loved the cake their teacher Jenny Åkerström made them for their birthdays.
8. Saffransbullar & Cinnamon Buns
Saffron buns are typically served during the Christmas season, starting from the end of Halloween until New Years. The saffron buns are often baked for the time of ‘Lucia’ in the beginning of December. Another popular pastry is the cinnamon bun, which arguably could be a Swedish favorite. The sticky treat can be served year-round in Sweden and is most often paired with a coffee during the morning or for special occasions.