Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Swedish Food

Food, glorious food! Swedish food is actually very good, certainly much better than English food. I've always felt that it was important to taste something local when on vacation. So, when we checked in at our hostel, I asked the nice receptionist where we could get some good food nearby.

She asked me what kind of food and I said local Swedish food. This launched her into a set of disclaimers about how Swedish people do not really like to eat Swedish food. She says that they usually prefer to eat foreign food (we have already noticed the numerous foreign restaurants in town). But I wanted to try local food, so she marked out two restaurants on my map and recommended the one that she usually visits.

The, I asked her what's considered Swedish food. This launched her into another set of disclaimers about how Swedish food is just normal household food and not any special cuisine. Normal for a Swedish household, maybe, but not normal for me. She recommended that I try Swedish meatballs, salmon, herring and something that sounds like seal, which consists of raw fish in various sauces taken with potatoes and cheese.

On our first day, we didn't have the time to go hunt for local food. On our arrival, we visited an American style restaurant where we I had some very good ribs for only 90 krona. This was a good start. Then, for dinner, we were pressed for time and ended up getting fast food. On the second day, the 3 of us were wandering on another island and decided to go to the restaurant that the receptionist recommended.

Let me first say that I ended up spending more than 200 krona on dinner and ate till I was bursting. It was totally worth it. Rob and I both felt that the most memorable part of the trip was our dinner at Kvarnen. For starters, we had raw herring in four different sauces. The fish was very fresh and we had it with two kinds of cheese and some potatoes. This was an excellent starter. Then for the main course, I had some homemade meatballs. Let me just say that they taste nothing like normal meatballs. It was soft, tender and juicy. Rob had reindeer meat and that was very good too. Dinner was just great!

Then, on the last day, we ended up having a buffet for lunch. It was mentioned in Ray's guide that there were a lot of cheap buffets in Stockholm. This was most certainly true and we had a massive Asian buffet with sushi for only 79 krona (including drinks). We all ended up skipping dinner as we were on our way to the airport by then. I've not eaten anything since then, not even today. I'll probably make myself a late lunch later.

Before going, some of my friends had told me that there is nothing special about Swedish food. I personally think that the restaurant recommended by our receptionist was good. Swedish food is quite good even if it is a little saltier than normal. Might be because the vikings used to eat nothing but salted meat and fish!

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