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READERS REVEAL: What do foreign residents think of Norwegian food? 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
READERS REVEAL: What do foreign residents think of Norwegian food? 
Here's what The Local's readers had to say about the food in Norway. Pictured is seafood in Bergen. Photo by Georg Eiermann on Unsplash

A recent survey has ranked Norwegian food as one of the least desirable cuisines in the world. The Local's readers have shared their thoughts on whether this ranking was fair or not. 

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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 country's lowly ranking comes despite it regularly producing world-class chefs that win the prestigious Bocuse d'Or cooking award and there being ample Michelin-recognised eateries in the country. 

So, what did Norway's foreign residents think of the ranking? The Local asked residents in the Nordic country whether Norwegian food being ranked among the worst in the world was fair. 

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Well, unfortunately for lovers of Norwegian food, 39 percent of those who responded to the survey said that the ranking from Tasteatlas was fair. Furthermore, 33 percent said that while the ranking was unfair, they didn't think Norwegian food was the best available. 

One bright spot, though, was that just under a quarter of readers told The Local that they strongly disagreed with any talk of Norwegian food not quite cutting the mustard. 

Those who did say they enjoyed Norwegian food, praised the quality and abundance of fresh local produce. 

"The seafood, the salmon and the game, and not to forget the beautiful berries like cloudberries and the mushrooms (are some of the things to love about Norwegian food). Norway is badly represented by this ranking, and to say (the stereotype) that Norwegians mostly eat a piece of mutton with a single vegetable like a potato or a carrot is so wrong. I'm a big foodie and love the fresh produce of Norway," Siv, who splits their time between Norway and Dubai, told The Local's survey. 

Others praised the high standards set by Norwegian restaurants. 

"Restaurant food is usually consistently good quality in my first 18 months in Norway, I've never been disappointed once. This is not true if you go to any other country, where eating out is always a bit of a lottery," Arek, who lives in Arendal, wrote. 

Another reader from Iran, who believed Norwegian food deserved a much higher ranking, said they loved Smalahove (roasted lamb head) due to its similarity with the traditional Iranian dish of Kalleh Pache. 

Of those less impressed by Norwegian food, the most common complaints were the cost, lack of variety and dishes served up in the country typically containing fewer spices and seasoning than elsewhere. 

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"In general, Norwegian food is bland. Cardamom is the most imaginative spice in the Norwegian pallet, and it is overused (I say this loving cardamom). While the fresh seafood in Norway can be amazing, there are few actual fish markets where it can be purchased. The monopoly on food distribution in Norway has stifled the grocery and restaurant industry," Kristina, who lives in Oslo, said. 

"There may be fine restaurants, but for daily dining, supermarkets offer terrible choices, poor quality and high prices," another reader complained. 

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