Danish food

Back in "the old days" Denmark was primarily a nation of farmers and fishermen and the Danish food traditions still reflect a culture of hard working people with a need for food with high levels of energy and nutrition. Typically for Danish people there are 3 main meals on a day:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The influence from (especially) the US has changed our habits over the years, since "fast food" has become more and more dominant in our every day lives, but the in-between meals - like a trip to a McDonalds - is still considered a "treat for the kids" and not yet a huge part of our daily meals.

The cold table

(Det Store Kolde Bord)

"The cold table" is a special type of Danish food arrangement - usually served at lunch time. The cold table may be a buffet arrangement prepared away from the dining table, or more likely it will consist of the many and varied items being brought to the dining table and passed around family-style. The first course is the a variety of Herring (sild pronounced: seel')
accompanied by cold beer and ice cold Snaps

Danes have a saying, that "the herring needs the snaps to be able to swim!" And "you can't have just one snaps, you need two; one for each leg."

There will be various types of herring served:

  • White herring (original marinated)
  • Curry herring (small slices of herring in a curry dressing)
  • Red herring (seasoned)
  • Fried (and battered) marinated herring

The heering is served with dark rye bread, cold butter, onion rings and karry salat, which is dressing made from a mix of mayonaise, sour creme, curry powder, cucumber, tiny bits of macaroni and salt & pepper.

Along with the first course of herring you might also see a serving of fried fish filets with remoulade and sometimes even specialties like kippers, which is a cold-smoked, dry salted kind of herring.

Open-faced sandwiches

When all the herring and other type of fish has been enjoyed, the next course is the open-faced sandwiches. Danes have turned these lunches into a real art form with a huge variety of open-faced sandwiches. Dark rye bread, cold butter and a selection of cold cuts topped with dressings, vegetables and herbs.

Some of these sandwiches have names, such as...

Open Faced Sandwiches

(Danish: a shooting star)

  • Lettuce
  • 1 fish filet steamed in white wine
  • 1 fish filet in bread crumbs and fried in butter
  • dressing made from mayonaise, tomato paste, terragon vinegar and mustard

- and topped with shrimp, mayonaise, dill, a slice of lemon and tomato

Dyrlægens natmad
(Danish: The veterinarian's midnight snack)

Topped with slices of meat aspic, a slice of cucumber, onion rings and kress.

Traditional Danish dinners

Let me give you a few hints on, what kind of Danish food you might encounter when you visit a traditional Danish house at dinner time. I will give you my own family recipes for some of them as well, so you can try them out.

These recipes are very tradional dinners; the kind of food the average family will have for dinner on week days.

Bon appetite! Velbekomme!

  • Frikadeller
    Fried meat balls from ground pork/calf , served with boiled potatoes, sauce and vegetables or with potato salad, tomato slices and lettuce
  • Hakkebøf
    Fried hamburger served with potatos and onions
  • Stegt flæsk
    Thick cut slices of bacon, fried and served with potatos and parsley sauce
  • Flæskesteg
    Pork roast with crispy skin
  • Kødboller
    Pork meat balls, boiled and served with rice and curry sauce
  • Æggepandekage
    A thick omelet, served with fried bacon, tomatos and rye bread

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