A foodie visits western Norway

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by mezzaluna, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

    Messages:
    9,204
    Likes Received:
    65
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    My husband and I will visit western Norway on a cruise ship later this summer. Our visit will be brief, with just one day in each of these ports: Bergen, Flam, Gieranger, Stavanger and Alesund. Of course, the main feature of the cruise will be the landscape and the fjords. But I can't help wanting to explore the towns to see what I can find.

    What should I look for? Are there any local specialties I should seek out to try? The ship will depart from, and return to, Southampton, England, so I have to satisfy U.K. customs as well as U.S. customs when I return home. That would limit food specialties I could expect to bring home. But there could be items to taste or just see and photograph.

    Ideas? Thanks in advance,

    Mezzaluna
     
  2. ljokjel

    ljokjel

    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Sous Chef
    What do you want to know?

    Special restaurants, dishes or just ingredients? 

    The seafood is generally good, but if you havent tried it before, try stockfish/clipfish, or just read about it.

    Stavanger have the best restaurant scene in Norway. Flooded with money from the petrolium industry, wich gives the city a great variety of restaurants. Too many good restaurants to recommend just one.

    Bergen is a cozy city with many good restaurants. My recommendation to you would be Hanne på Høyden. Their page is written in Norwegian, but you will find the menu in English. Check it out, just for the fun of it. You will see ingredients and food out of the ordinary. 

    Ålesund is also a city with a rich history. Here I would recommend Maki

    I think you will find this region of Norway rich when it comes to food, but there are lots of tourist traps, and a great variety in the quality of the food being sold. Do your research before deciding where to eat, as Norway tend to be quite expensive compared to the rest of the world. 

    Ask, and I will see if I find time and energy to answer. Working as a cook do tend to demand a bit, and ChefTalk is not my top priority.
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2013
  3. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

    Messages:
    9,204
    Likes Received:
    65
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Thank you! I appreciate any time and effort on my behalf. 

    Since most of these stops are just for one day, I'm more likely to wander into food shops and grocery stores where people buy ingredients to cook with. Even if I can't take these things with me (it's usually prohibited to take food onto the cruise ship), I'd want to taste pastries, etc. that may be local specialties, or street food. I don't think we'll have time to sit down for a full meal in a restaurant, although I may be wrong about that. I'm very glad to have the names of those restaurants in case it will be possible to do so.

    In past travels I've found foods I've been able to mail order or even find here in the U.S. in specialty stores and then try using them in my own kitchen at home. If I were staying in a Norwegian household, I'd be able to ask a home cook about such things, but I'm not in that situation on this trip. Perhaps that clarifies what I'm looking for.

    Thank you for your help!

    Mezzaluna
     
  4. ljokjel

    ljokjel

    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    15
    Exp:
    Sous Chef
    I guess there is more time and energy than I thought..

    In that case I think the clip-/stockfish will be perfect for you.

    As it is salted and dried, it has a loooong lifetime. Buy some, and bring it back home and cook across the pond. Even though its (originally) a Norwegian product its used in South America, West Africa and all over the latin countries of Europe.

    Because we were able to able to conserve it, wich gives it a "shelflife" of several years if kept proper, we were able to export it to almost anywere. 

    You will now find it a part of the traditional cuisines of many countries, but especially the Basque area of Spain and Portugal. 

    Street food is a tragedy is Norway, so dont count on it. We have become to spoiled, so the only ones willing to sell street food, are immigrants, and the food is based on their cuisine and crowd pleasers like hot dogs and hamburgers, wich Im sure you will find more of, and of higher quality back home. 

    Its been years since I was in any of the cities you mention, so I cant help you out much, but if you wanna have a proper meal in the center of Bergen i can recommend Jacobs Bar & Restaurant. Gastropub started and owned by old michelin cooks, who just wanted a humble place to serve honest, proper food without all the unnecessary extras. They focus on fish and meat according to season. 

    Hanne på høyden is a short walk out of the city center, but serve lunch. Still a recommendation. I guess you will find out what to do according to your schedule. 

    A lot have happened the last two years, so there may be other places worth checking out, but Im not very up to date, even though Im pretty sure these two places are worth a visit. 
     
  5. colleens

    colleens

    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    13
    Exp:
    Married To A Chef
  6. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

    Messages:
    9,204
    Likes Received:
    65
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Thank you ljokjel and ColleenS! I'd have that fish vacuum-sealed before I put it in my suitcase, for sure. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/eek.gif  That is, if it's transportable. 

    Colleen,ljokjel mentioned Hanne på høyden too. The prices were steep in the Trip Advisor article, $145-$320! I wonder if that should have been noted in kroner?? That would mean a price range from about $23- $53, which would be more sensible, at a conversion rate of about 6 kroner/U.S. dollar.

    Too bad about the street food! Still, I'll keep my eyes open. I love to wander in grocery stores wherever I travel, even at home in the U.S. It's amazing what you can find in different regions of my country, and downright adventurous browsing in other countries. I guess I'm easily amused. My husband can't stand normal grocery shopping, so this really, really tests his patience, poor guy!
     
  7. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

    Messages:
    9,204
    Likes Received:
    65
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    Alas, no chances to eat in restaurants during our visits to various ports. Our touring schedule kept us quite busy. We sampled waffles with jam on a couple of excursions (buttery, light waffles with strawberry jam, but served cold due to logistic issues no doubt) with excellent coffee. We had a stunning $8 bottle of Coca-Cola purchased at the cafe at the museum shop while visiting the Edvard Grieg home near Bergen. (We calculated the exchange rate carelessly.) Later we found it for "just" $4. 

    I was able to visit a fish market in Stavanger and was given some curious looks while I took photos of the beautiful fish and shellfish there. I wished I had a kitchen! Norwegian salmon was served on board the ship, though, so I got to sample some of the excellent fish that way.
     
  8. siduri

    siduri

    Messages:
    3,599
    Likes Received:
    46
    Exp:
    At home cook
    You may laugh to hear that stockfish is sold in Italy as "stoccafisso"