Food in Scandinavia?

Since we will be in Scandinavia for 17 days on a cruise, I would like to have something besides seafood everyday. I hate most seafood besides shrimp and am wondering what other types of food they have in Scandinavia? We will be in: Copenhagen, Stockholm, Warnemunde, Fredericia, Klaipeda, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki and St. Petersburg. I heard in Helsinki they have reindeer, is that any good? I am a huge meat lover. Thanks!

Posted by Tom
Lewiston, NY
11072 posts

Reindeer tastes like really lean beef. I tried it at a Lap-themed restaurant in Helsinki called "Saaga". If you consider eating here, don't let the kitschy decor lower your expectations. The food is excellent. The harbor market in Helsinki has all kinds of little food tents where you can eat. Most of it consists of various fish dishes, but not all of it. In St. Petersburg, go for the bortsch. Even if you don't like beets (I don't), it's delicious. I forget what exactly they call them, but one of the national Lithuanian dishes is a sort of meet-filled potato dumpling. The name is some variation on "zeppelin", because of the shape. I don't know if they serve it in Klaipeda, but they were everywhere in Vilnius. Unfortunately, Lithuanian beer is some of the worst I've sampled anywhere, unless you like the taste of rust. "New Nordic" is one of the buzzwords in foodie world right now. Copenhagen boasts the current world champion highest-rated restaurant, according to Michelin. Every iteration I have yet tried of "New Nordic" cuisine has been nothing short of delicious, although it is heavily biased towards seafood. I even had a delicious example of the dreaded ludafisk in Trondheim, but some fellow diners assured me this was very different from the traditional preparation. If you don't like fish, Danish food also features a lot of beef and pork. I don't know if it's only found in Stockholm or all of Sweden, but you can find an interesting variation on the classic "sausage in bread" (aka "hot dog") theme. The version I had was a sausage wrapped in flatbread, filled with mashed potatos. You can choose from several condiments to add, including some creamed shrimp sauces. I went for simple mustard and ketchup. I saw these stands throughout the city.

Posted by Brendon
Auburn, Washington, USA
514 posts

Danke sehr Tom fur die info!! Es war sehr helfen!

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
3584 posts

You can certainly find all kinds of food without eating fish, which is most of the "seafood" in the Baltic region. They do have lots of salmon, which many people who don't like fish sometimes do enjoy. Reindeer is pretty good, as noted above it is like a lean meat. Certainly nothing gross. Copenhagen has amazing street vendors selling hot dogs that are the best I've ever had. They come with a variety of toppings, including mayo, so order carefully from the picture menu if you are picky about your dog toppings. Sweden (and also Denmark) is famous for their meatballs. The real thing is much better than IKEA and make sure you try ligonberries with your mashed potatoes. Swedish pancakes with cloudberry sauce are also wonderful. The old market hall in Helsinki (right on the harbor) and the market hall in Stockholm are great places to cheaply sample different local foods. You can get amazing open faced sandwiches in Sweden and Denmark. I'm no expert on Russian food, but the bit I've had seems to be more meat-based. I had some kind of delicious bread-bowl beef stew in Tallinn.

Posted by Harold
New York, NY, USA
5756 posts

Most of the places your are visiting are major cities, which will have all kinds of food. It's like going to America and worrying that you can only get hamburgers. There will be plenty of non-fish and non-seafood choices in all your cities - don't worry. In Stockholm, many restaurants have inexpensive lunch specials (important in this expensive city). In St. Petersburg, you will be with a guide (you are not allowed to wander alone there, unless you get your own visa); tell your guide what kind of food you want, and they'll take care of finding something suitable.

Posted by Edgar
Medford, OR, USA
2094 posts

Harold's post was a reminder that large city have numerous international food opportunities. We asked our Swedish speaking Finnish guide on a Finland to Norway above the arctic circle ski tour about his favorite Helsinki restaurants. He said it was the Santa Fe, a Tex-Mex southwestern US restaurant. (We ate Russian.) A Norwegian in Oslo, in response to a question about good Norwegian food said that if he wanted good Norwegian food he would just eat at home. Having lived in the SF Bay Area and worked in Frisco, one of my best Chinese (Cantonese style) meals was at the Dinner Chinese restaurant in Oslo. Our English speaking Chinese waiter grew up and went to college in the Bay Area. It's a small world and international food is available the world around. That said, the joy of travel includes multi-ethnic dinning. Try the herring at the breakfast board with your soft boiled egg and brown cheese.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
8186 posts

Both on the cruise and off you will have lots of choices. I typically eat inexpensively with kabobs, brats or picnic/deli stuff from the grocery store - you will have no problem finding those wherever you go. Yes Helsinki offers a wide-variety of reindeer related products.