Kebab chaos in Oslo as hungry punters fight over free food

Fighting broke out on the streets of Oslo on Wednesday, as hundreds of mostly young people gathered outside a new fast food restaurant promising free kebabs to its first customers.

Kebab chaos in Oslo as hungry punters fight over free food
Photo: Arsel Ozgurdal (File)

Police said a number of people were lucky not to have been crushed when they were pushed to the ground in a stampede. Hungry Oslo dwellers assembled in front of the new Bislett Kebab House outlet in Prinsdal long before the advertised 5pm opening time, newspaper Dagbladet reports.

“They were planning to hand out free kebabs, but at 4.30pm we received reports of a chaotic situation. There were huge amounts of people arguing, yelling and fighting in the queue, with cars spread out all over the road,” Even Gjørstad of Oslo police told the paper.

Police said they had little option but to tell the restaurant’s owners to shut up shop for the evening since they were unable to control their unruly clientele.

Exasperated at the levels to which people would sink for a few morsels of meaty goodness, Gjørstad said he had never before come across anything quite like Wednesday’s scenes.

“What does a kebab cost? Maybe 60 kroner ($10)? I think it’s slightly excessive to fight over that.”

But with a free soft drink also thrown into the mix, plenty of ravenous punters clearly disagreed.

An employee at the kebab house said the owners had agreed not to ahead with the opening offer after consulting with the police.

“When we were supposed to open at five o’clock there were almost a thousand people outside. They were pushing to get through. It wasn’t defensible with small children around,” Tariq Aziz told newspaper Aftenposten.

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Discover Norway: Why Norwegians love Fårikål so much

The last Thursday of September marks 'fårikålens dag', a day to celebrate Norway's beloved national dish - an autumn meal-time staple for most Norwegians. 

Discover Norway: Why Norwegians love Fårikål so much

In 1972, fårikål was first named the national dish of Norway, and despite a brief flirtation with the possibility of replacing it in 2014 has remained the top dog ever since. 

Some of the meals that fårikål beat out to remain the national dish are kjøttkaker, a type of meatballs, raspeball, a potato dumpling, and pinnekjøtt, the lamb’s ribs traditionally served at Christmas. 

The dish’s name is a compound, meaning “mutton in cabbage”. It consists of pieces of mutton or lamb on the bone, whole peppercorns, and layers of green cabbage. The name draws its roots from the Danish language originally. 

For many, fårikål is the quintessential autumn dish as its typically only served during this time, potatoes are in season and sheep are typically brought down from mountain farms during this time. It is normally accompanied with crispy, paper-thin flatbread and boiled potatoes.  

Many Norwegians will associate the taste, and smell, of the dish with the changing of the seasons and auburn leaves. Other classic autumn dishes are lapskaus, or “stew”, baked root vegetables, mushroom soups, and blueberry muffins. 

READ MORE: Where are Norway’s Michelin star restaurants?

Fårikål first rose to prominence in the 19th century and is believed to have originated in urban areas. One of the first original recipes was in the Fuldstænd Norsk Kogebog by Karen Dorothea. That early recipe suggested that mutton could act as a substitute for a goose. 

If you wish to make the dish yourself, there is no need to fear as it is a relatively easy meal to make. However, it will take some time to prepare it. Depending on the recipe you use, it could take anywhere between an hour or three to make. As with most stew or casserole type dishes, longer normally delivers the best results. 

Recipes for the meal are available in both English and Norwegian. Below you can see a video of the dish being prepared. 

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