Does Norwegian food deserve to be ranked the worst in the world?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Does Norwegian food deserve to be ranked the worst in the world?
Is Norwegian food really that bad? Pictured is plate of high dining food. Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

A recent list which ranked the cuisines of 95 countries saw Norway come in last. But does the Scandinavian country really deserve the dubious accolade?


Norway finished 95th out of 95 countries in the Tasteatlas World's Best Cuisine Awards for 2022. The ranking has caused quite a stir in the Scandinavian country, with many unimpressed by Norway's lowly position.

The rankings were comprised of the publication's audience votes for ingredients, dishes and beverages—Italian, Greek, Spanish, Japanese and Indian food made up the top five.

In that regard, it is unlikely that many would have a problem if one chose any of those cuisines over Norwegian food.

However, is it fair that Norwegian food ranked bottom out of 95 countries?

Chef Filip August Bendi, who will compete against the best chefs in the world for the Bocuse d'Or ( a competition of the worlds best chefs) in Lyon, told the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet that the ranking was completely unfair.


"Gosh. Then I think they (all those who ranked Norway so low) all must have had bad luck. I would in no way say that we are a bad food country," he told Dagbladet.

So, does he have a case? Well, some of the country's most famous (and infamous) dishes can do little to capture the imagination, especially when lutefisk (fish brined in lye) and smalahove (roasted sheep's head) enter the conversation.

Other dishes like Fårikål, Norway's national dish, are more lauded for their ease of preparation rather than the culinary journey they take you on.

Although there is also plenty of evidence to suggest Norway has been grossly underestimated and that the Scandinavian country has more of a claim to a culinary powerhouse than the bottom spot in a list of the world's best cuisines.

One of the first pieces of evidence that point to Norway as a country with excellent cuisine is its production line of world-class chefs. Norway is the country with the most Bocuse d'Or awards in the world. Additionally, its chefs typically reach the latter stages of the European and World chef championships.

Surely a country with such a poor culinary ranking would be unable to consistently produce so many world-class chefs?

Furthermore, there are many Michelin-starred or recognised restaurants in Norway. One of these, Maaemo, is a three-Michelin-starred restaurant- an accolade that fine-dining restaurants worldwide aspire to.

The overwhelming majority of restaurants in the country recognised by the Michelin Guide tend to offer guests Norwegian cuisine with the highest quality local ingredients, albeit with a few twists on what's considered traditional.

Meanwhile, plenty of Norwegian ingredients are lauded for being some of the highest quality found anywhere. An example of this is the country's seafood, often found in some of the top restaurants in the world.


Furthermore, while lutefisk and smalahove may not appeal to the majority of tourists and visitors (and, for that matter, locals) in Norway, the presence of dishes like snails and frogs legs do not stop France from being recognised as one of the most sophisticated and refined food nations in the world.

Therefore it might be fair to suggest that while some of the country's most famous or typical dishes may not leave your mouth watering, Norway may actually have some of the best food in the world if you scratch beneath the surface.

What do you think? Does Norway deserve to be ranked among the worst countries in the world for food, or does it deserve a bit more credit? Take part in our poll below.



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