5 Favorite Scandinavian Foods

Traditional Swedish dish of meatballs, Old Town Square, Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden, Scandinavia, Europe
••• Frank Fell / Getty Images

Traditionally, Scandinavian dishes are basic and many traditional meals include fish, potatoes, pork, and berries. Most Scandinavian cuisine relies on fresh, natural ingredients that can be found in the wild or that come fresh from the sea. On your trip to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, or Finland, make sure to try at least one of these great Scandinavian dishes. You won't regret it, that's for sure.

  • 01 of 05

    Fish

    Fish Market, Bergen, Hordaland, Norway, Scandinavia, Europe
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    The main staple in Scandinavian cuisine is definitely fish. With such a large fishing industry, it only makes sense because it is readily available and cheap. From salmon to herring to shellfish, there are countless varieties of fish in many different forms to be found in any Scandinavian restaurant. You can even use it to make dessert, for example, Norwegian fiskekaker. Grilled salmon is a popular dish, as are different fish soups and casseroles. Even fish pie is a common traditional dish in parts of Scandinavia.

  • 02 of 05

    Gravlax

    Gravadlax with rye bread and sauce
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    This is a common Scandinavian dish made from raw salmon that is cured with salt, dill, and sugar. Traditionally it is eaten with rye bread, mustard, and dill. Gravlax is usually either served on top of bread or with a side of potatoes and can be found in many different restaurants across Scandinavia.

  • 03 of 05

    Meatballs

    Traditional Swedish dish of meatballs, Old Town Square, Gamla Stan, Stockholm, Sweden, Scandinavia, Europe
    ••• Frank Fell / Getty Images

    The ultimate Scandinavian food, the region's meatballs differ from meatballs found in North America because they are usually smaller and made with only fresh ingredients. They are traditionally made from a mixture of pork and veal, but depending on where you are in Scandinavia, the ingredients and size of the meatballs can differ. In Sweden they are usually served with mashed potatoes and jam; however, in Denmark, you would most likely eat them with pickled cabbage, ​potatoes, and beetroot. One thing for sure is that no matter where you are in Scandinavia, you will definitely find meatballs on the menu.

  • 04 of 05

    Berries

    Fresh berries on the market stall in Helsinki, Finland
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    Berries are a common staple in many Scandinavian dishes. Both sweet and savory dishes feature berries. They are enjoyed in many different meals, from breakfast until dinner, and are a common ingredient in desserts. There are two berries that Scandinavia is known for: lingonberries and cloudberries. Lingonberries are usually eaten with toast and porridge and are also commonly used for sauces for meats. They are similar to cranberries and have a naturally bitter taste, so sugar is usually added to make them more pleasant tasting. Lingonberries are commonly enjoyed in a jam form. Cloudberries are golden but look similar to raspberries in shape and are mostly bought in jam form or as juice. Cloudberry jam is commonly eaten on toast or as a sauce for meats or in desserts.

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  • 05 of 05

    Pancakes

    Close-Up Of Maple Syrup Pouring On Pancakes With Strawberry Jam Served In Plate
    ••• Evgeny Ivanov / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Pancakes are a common Scandinavian dish. They are enjoyed at all times of the day, not just at breakfast as in other places in the world. Different areas of Scandinavia feature various pancake recipes. For example, at many restaurants in Sweden, you will find raggmunk, also known as Swedish potato pancakes because the main ingredient is potatoes. In Finland, you will find pannukakku. Pannukakku, which are oven-baked pancakes. Most pancakes are topped with whipped cream and berries, although a variety of different toppings can be used. In Denmark, you will find pancake balls that taste like a combination of a donut and a pancake. Wherever you are in Scandinavia, you are sure to find some kind of delicious pancakes on the menu.