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Herrings | © Sharon Ang / pixabay
Herrings | © Sharon Ang / pixabay
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An Introduction to Danish Cuisine in 9 Dishes

Picture of Aliki Seferou
Updated: 5 March 2017
Discover Denmark’s cuisine with nine local delicacies. There’s flæskesteg for meat lovers, Danish blue cheese for vegetarians and the delicious smørrebrød for everyone. With this list you’re fully prepared to hit the town and taste the best dishes served in classy restaurants and street stalls.

Smørrebrød

Danes have smørrebrød for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The typical Danish snack is basically an open sandwich which consists of a dark brown rye bread slice, topped with various ingredients. Locals usually spread a thin layer of sauce and add a piece of their favorite fish or meat then some fresh herbs or vegetables. It doesn’t take long to make and it is rich in vitamins and protein. You’ll find it in every restaurant, but you can also buy the ingredients you love from the city’s supermarkets and create your own.

Smørrebrød
Smørrebrød | © Deepa Paul / Flickr

Flæskesteg

Approximately 28 million pigs are produced in pig farms annually in Denmark, so as you may have guessed, pork is a vital ingredient in Danish cuisine. Locals use it in different forms and recipes. One of the most beloved meals is flæskesteg (which means roast pork). It is considered one of the most typical national dishes. The salty crispy rind and the smell of the dried bay leaves are what makes this dish special. Every Christmas dinner has a flæskesteg plate while you can also find it at the city’s Christmas flea market stalls, where it is served in a sandwich filled with vegetables and mayonnaise or remoulade.

Leverpostej

Leverpostej translates to mean ‘liver pate’ and it is among the favorite smørrebrød spreads for non-vegetarian Danes. It is a mix of pork liver, onion, butter, eggs, milk and spices and it can be served both warm and cold. As it is a typical Christmas recipe, a bowl of leverpostej is never missing from a festive dinner. In the 19th century, only rich people could taste this topping on their sandwiches as it was very expensive. However, nowadays it is served in every restaurant and supermarket around the city at quite low prices.

Fiskefrikadeller

Codfish can be cooked various ways for different recipes but ask any Dane which dish is the best and you’ll get only one answer: fiskefrikadeller. When codfish is mixed with fresh lemon juice, onions, dill and parsley, the result is delicious and that’s why this meal is so beloved among young and old. Danes dip their favorite fish balls in their equally favorite sauce, remoulade. The perfect accompaniment to fiskefrikaddeler are fresh vegetables and boiled potatoes.

Fiskefrikadeller
Fiskefrikadeller | © cyclonebill / Flickr

Mørbradbøffer

One of the most typical Danish dishes is mørbradbøffer, which is pork tenderloin fried in lots of butter and marinated with heavy cream. Some locals add bacon slices and mozzarella cheese for extra taste, while those who like spicy foods add a pinch of cayenne pepper. It is served with fried onions and mushrooms and it’s accompanied by potatoes or salad. Every nation has a specific dish they think of as ‘grandmother’s food’ and for Danes, it is mørbradbøffer.

Pork tenderloin
Pork tenderloin | © Rita E / pixabay

Soup

A bowl full of soup is always nice for a cold day and as winter in Denmark lasts forever several months, the hot meal couldn’t be missing from the Danish traditional food list. Potato, green onions, sour cream and thyme are the basic ingredients for a tasty potato soup. Another popular soup that has defied time is the pea soup (gule ærter) which is mixed with pork, carrots, celery and onions.

Soup
Soup | © Karolina Grabowska / pixabay

Æbleflæsk

Apple pork dates back to the middle of the 18th century, when people in the countryside cooked it in order to give them energy and keep them warm during the hard winter days. Apart from its nutritional value, æbleflæsk is also very delicious, so the recipe lasted through time and nowadays is served in restaurants all over Denmark. As you’ve probably guessed, the recipe includes pork and apples. Onion, sugar and butter are also added in the mix, giving that special taste.

Frikadeller

Frikadeller translates to mean ‘meatballs’ and is one of the Dane’s most beloved dishes. It’s not a special recipe, but as locals include them quite often in their meals, they couldn’t be missing from this list. Pork (sometimes mixed with beef), milk, eggs, onions and flour make a delicious combination that after being fried in oil or butter, turns into the small round balls that young and old put on their smørrebrød or accompany with boiled potatoes and salad.

Meat Balls
Meat Balls | © RitaE / pixabay

Pølser

With so many hot dog stalls spread all around Copenhagen, the city almost has the smell of sausages (pølser in Danish) lingering in the air. A favorite bite for locals, is a red pork sausage (rød-pølse) in a crusty bun covered in ketchup, mustard and remoulade with fried crispy onions and pickles on top. If you’re looking for beef or chicken sausages, the city’s hot dog stands won’t disappoint you. Copenhageners’ new obsession are the organic hot dogs at Døp or the super spicy sausages at Pølse Kompagniet. Døp has its stands close to the Round Tower and Church of the Holy Ghost, while Pølse Kompagniet serves its delicacies at Torvehallerne and Copenhagen Street Food.

The Round Tower, Købmagergade 52A, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 73 03 73

Church of the Holy Spirit, Niels Hemmingsens Gade 5, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 15 41 44

Torvehallerne, Frederiksborggade 21, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 70 10 60 70

Copenhagen Street Food, Hal 7 & 8 Papirøen, Trangravsvej 14, Copenhagen, Denmark, +45 33 93 07 60

Danish hot dog
Danish hot dog | © City Foodsters/Flickr