Denmark, like the countries around it, has a reputation for being expensive. However, it’s also known for its culinary prowess that has earnt the country plenty of recognition in the form of Michelin Stars. There are no less than 27 restaurants throughout Denmark that have been given this accolade, 16 of which can be found in the capital.
So, as you enjoy a Copenhagen city break or a trip to up-and-coming Aarhus, there will plenty of tasty treats to tempt you. But, alas, few of us can afford to eat in fine-dining restaurants on a regular basis, so here are some delicious dishes you’ll find all over Denmark.
Where better to start than with Denmark’s national dish? It will come as no surprise that a nation famous for its love of bacon also has a penchant for fried pork belly. Stegt flæsk consists of pork strips that have been cooked until crispy and usually served alongside boiled potatoes and a sauce called persillesovs. Flecked with chopped parsley, this white sauce adds a creamy flavour to the dish and brings everything together. Many Danish restaurants offer this as an all you can eat option, making it the perfect budget-busting meal.
Similar to stegt flæsk, but more typically seen at the Copenhagen Christmas markets, flæskesteg is another pork dish that the Danes love. The joint is studded with cloves and rubbed with spices before being oven roasted and carved into slices that create the filling for a warming sandwich.
Speaking of sandwiches, if you’re a lover of anything you can accompany with bread then your mind is going to be blown by the world of smørrebrød. Literally translated as ‘smeared bread’, these open sandwiches have a range of different toppings to suit a variety of tastes. What was once a hearty and affordable lunch for farmers is now served everywhere in the country, even in those aforementioned Michelin-starred restaurants, where modern chefs attempt to breathe new life into a Danish classic.
The bread is typically rye, a staple of the local diet, and the toppings could be anything from salmon to cheese to vegetarian spreads.
Hotdogs, or pølse, are a serious business in Denmark. As the country’s number one street food, more than 4,000 stands, vans and huts have popped up in recent years in order to cater to the masses. The most common hotdog available is the rød pølse (red sausage), which is made with pork and dyed red using carmine. Served in a bun with your choice of toppings, this is the perfect snack for on-the-go explorers.
It seems that every Scandinavian country has its own version of meatballs and Denmark certainly didn’t want to miss out on the party. Most frikadeller are made using pork mince, but some traditional cooks also mix veal into them to give them more of a unique flavour. Although not strictly ‘balls’, due to their slightly flattened shape, they’re just as delicious and very popular throughout Denmark.
Sometimes you’ll find frikadeller served with the same potatoes and sauce mentioned in relation to stegt flæsk, sometimes they are accompanied by a brown sauce and red cabbage, and sometimes they are placed on top of rye bread to create yet another type of smørrebrød. Fish fans may also want to try fiskefrikadeller – fishcakes with onion and parsley served with a creamy remoulade.
It’s an interesting irony that the sweet treats we call Danish pastries are actually called Vienna bread by the Danes. This is because the recipes and techniques were originally brought over from Austria in the 1850s before being evolved further to create the laminated pastries that we know and love today. Nevertheless, there is obviously no better place to eat these than in Denmark and there are various different types to try. Wienerbrød can be the perfect way to end a meal on a sweet note or provide the ideal afternoon snack.
If you would like to try any of the dishes we’ve mentioned, we can help you plan a trip to Denmark. Call us on 0800 988 3369 and the team will tailor-make a holiday to your preferences.