I enjoy getting recommendations from locals before I go on a trip, but they are not always easy to find, and thus I decided to write recommendations for my own country, Denmark, in this series, Guide to Denmark.
This article describes Danish food; take a look at my guide for the different parts of Denmark for specific restaurant recommendations.
Traditional Danish food is heavy and hearty. Most restaurants serve international cuisine now. As a general rule a “kro”, inn, will have traditional Danish food.
Breakfast: You can get cereal, yoghurt and oatmeal in Denmark, but Denmark is internationally famed for Danish pastry. We eat Danish pastry for breakfast, if not at home, then when we eat breakfast at work. Do note that Danish Pastry in Denmark most often is called a “spandauer” (a circle of puff pastry with filling on the middle).
Lunch: A traditional lunch is “smørrebrød” (an open faced sandwich). Mostly we use rye bread (dark bread) and not white bread for smørrebrød. There are all kinds of traditional topping like “Leverpostej”, liver pâté, with bacon and mushrooms; Roast beef with remoulade and tomato; Egg, prawns, lemon and mayonnaise. Two kinds of smørrebrød has names, dyrlægens natmad, Veterinarian’s midnight snack, and stjerneskud, shooting star. Dyrlægens natmad is a piece of buttered rye bread with leverpostej, salt beef, aspic and onion rings. Stjerneskud is on buttered white bread with battered fish on top (mostly plaice) with shrimps, mayonnaise, caviar and a lemon slice on top.
Spegepølse is also a popular topping for everyday. It is a salted and dried sausage that you slice and eat on bread. It comes in a variety of flavours.
Dinner: A Danish starter, you can get most places that serves traditional Danish food is “rejecocktail”, shrimp cocktail. Is it shrimps serves in a cocktail glass with caviar, mayonnaise and a slice of lemon on top.
We eat a lot of pork in Denmark. Our national dish is “stegt flæsk med persillesovs”. It is fried pork with a white sauce with fresh parsley in. “Flæskesteg”, roast pork with white potatoes is another popular dish. An every day dish is “frikadeller”, the Danish version of meatballs, not to be confused with the Swedish version served in IKEA!
Something sweet: Traditional Danish dessert is “rødgrød med fløde”, cooked red berries with cream. Otherwise we like cake. “Æblekage”, apple cake, is cooked apples layered with breadcrumbs with whipped cream on top. “Kiksekage” is vanilla cookies layered with a mixture of chocolate and butter.
On Funen the speciality is “brunsviger”. It is a yeast dough with a mixture of brown sugar and butter on top.
In the southern part of Denmark, people really love cakes! They have the phenomenon “Sønderjysk kagebord”, which means you have to serve at least 14 different kinds of cakes!
Danes loves liquorice, and even tough it is not sweet, we eat it as a sweet treat. We even put it in chocolate, ice cream and “flødeboller” (a puffy mixture of sugar and egg covered in chocolate).
Drink: A lot of beer is consumed every day in Denmark. Carlsberg and Tuborg are two big brands, but do try something from the smaller breweries. If you a dining out it of course depends on the restaurant, but look for Svaneke Bryghus, Amager Bryghus, Braunstein and Thisted. If you want to try an old-fashioned Danish beer try a Porse Guld from Thisted. It’s brewed on bog-myrtle, and has a very distinct taste. For something old-fashioned, but tastier go for Limfjordsporter from Thy.
Akvavit – the Danish way of spelling aqua vitae, the water of life. It is strong liquor distilled from potatoes and grains. It is flavoured with different kinds of herbs and spices. The most traditional herb is dill.
Brændevin is the same as akvavit, but unflavoured making it very similar to vodka. Both kinds is also called snaps in Danish.