The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

This Is Norway: Day Two

I think we're gonna need more toast

The Norwegian day starts with toast. It's a good start.

Actually, my Norwegian day started with lung failure. Although I went to bed at 4 or 5 AM, I woke up around 9:30 (bust out those math skills to find out how sleep deprived I must be) due to having difficulty getting oxygen into my system. My asthma isn't that bad, but it's bad enough to wake me up. A few hacks and sips of tap water later, I was fresh as an asthmatic daisy!

Okay, maybe not. At least our "toast with stuff spread on it" breakfast (which was more like lunch since it was past 11 AM) made me feel better. I simply splodged fig jam on mine, which is probably the closest thing to fruit I've eaten since I've been in Norway. Oops. For reasons that you could probably figure out on your own, I don't think I'm ingesting enough fiber here.

fishies!...that are dead

Soon after the toast massacre, Morten, Diana and I went to the fish market by the harbor. Mmm, different kind of massacre!

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meats of the sea

Despite being surrounded by fin fish and shelfish and ...whale (the stuff that looks black), the market didn't smell seafoody. Or maybe my nose wasn't working. They also had tanks of crabs and clams, piles of shrimp, ginormous crayfish, and cute little seafood salad-filled sandwiches. Besides seafood, the market also sells preseved meats (mm, reindeer!), tourist stuff (old fashion Norwegian-made sweaters that no one really wears, reindeer skins and horns, and t-shirts that said, "I came to Norway and all I got was this stupid"...okay, not that), jams (I'll have to pick up at least one of those), and...well, that was mainly it. I'm unfortunately very unfamiliar with food of the sea. Morten and Diana knew a lot more than I did at least. This is what I get for not growing up in a family with little food-prep history.

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the claaaaw

We shared a crab claw from the market that Morten smashed into edibility on the stone seat. Mmm, fresh claw meat. It's quite good. (I'm not going to describe to you what crab tastes like. Hopefully you already know.) I wouldn't necessarily crave it, but I wouldn't refuse it if someone offered it to me, freshly smashed.


What's with all these people just sitting around on this beautiful day? ...Oh. Yes, the loveliness of the weather was reflected in the perfectly cloudless blue-sky and mild weather.

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it was fish at some point

After perusing some food shops that had large chunks of meat, we went to S�strene Hagelin for some fish cakes (fiskekake). I can't say the idea of a Norwegian fish cake sounds very foreign to me after growing up with the Chinese and Japanese versions, although it's not exactly the same either. In Asian cuisine, I've usually eaten boiled fish cakes as part of a soup. The ones we tried were like flat fish patties that had been lightly fried. There are plenty of free handi-wipes available at the counter, which become useful after your fingers get covered in oil as you eat the fish cake. likey. Light, kinda spongey, but not as springy as Chinese/Japanese fish cakes. If that makes any sense to you, then thats great, as I have no other way to describe it.

small lung

We walked by the small lung lake (really, it's called "Lille Lungegardsvann", and there's a big lung...I think they used to be connected) where Morten pointed out the towering concrete block in the distance that could be mistaken as a prison, but is actually Bergen's main government building, or something to that effect. Yeah, it looks quite sunny and gleeful. Hats off to the architect.

smell that? it's the scent of burnin' wheaty happiness!

After much wandering around somewhere that I can't remember, we ended up in a mall where I was instantly drawn to Baker Brun. No surprise, eh? Morten bought a loaf of some kind of dark whole grain bread (...yeah, that wasn't a very helpful description) and I went with a cinnamon roll of mass deliciousness.

mm, sugarrr

I shared the duty of unraveling the soft, sweet bread with Diana. Mm mmm mmmm mm etc.

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flavored water and juice cartons

I tried some flavored water. Not that I've never had flavored water before, but I tend to just go with the original flavor of two hydrogen atoms attached to an oxygen atom. The impression I got from flavored water was that it was like drinking an aroma. Of course, arom has a lot to do with taste, but...that's my description and I'm sticking to it. I didn't try the juice cartons, but I thought they were cute. Overall, juice doesn't seem to come in cartons as large as American ones (which is the same thing in Taipei...resulting in my ability to go through multiple cartons of juice in one night), although the ones in the photo seem more like a single-use type thing.

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After a failed attempt to visit the Lys�en Museum, we went to this mini animal farm-type thing seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It was kind of deserted human-wise, but animal-wise there were goats, horses, ducks, a peacock (seemed kinda random...or not), chickens, a donkey, sheep, and LOOK, BUNNIES, BUNNIIIES!!! I mean. Bunnies are cute.

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We drove to a mall to buy some foodstuffs at Safari Supermarket. Apparently, Anne spotted me there, a coincidence so downright cool/freaky that I JUST DON'T GET IT, I DON'T. Think of all the things that had to be in perfect timing for that to work out. THINK! YES! OH GOD, my skull tingles. If Anne had said anything to me, that would've been the first time that I ever encountered a food blog reader randomly in public! Anywhere! I think I'll count it anyway.

...Uh. So, back to the food. There was when I first saw brown cheese singles (although not quite as scary as molded Kraft cheese singles since the brown cheese slices weren't individually wrapped in plastic) and a funky dry, porous (or maybe granular as wikipedia says) cheese called gamalost. Literally "old cheese", it's texture was unlike any other cheese's I had ever seen. Innnteresting?

"Morten, what's this?"

"Oh...that's the only cheese I don't like."

Wow. That's gotta suck.

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fresh herbs

Maybe I'm deprived, but I don't think I've ever seen a section of herbs at a supermarket where all the herbs were actually planted in pots. They tend to come in little plastic containers where I come from (...Jersey). Besides that they looked nice, I stuck my nose in a few pots and took deep whiffs to come to the conclusion that they were nice 'n fresh. Or they at least looked and smelled good.

candy rack

I raided the candy rack. Yes'm. It's kind of funny that I find non-American candy so appealing since I don't eat much American candy. I don't eat much candy in general, but American chocolate bars rather bore me also. However, slap on an unfamiliar name and I'm all over it. I tried Daim and found it to be a lot like the chocolate covered toffee Skor bar, if not almost the same thing. But Daim seems cooler since I've never seen it in the US. Kvikk Lunsj (whose bold, simple packaging I really love for whatever reason) is just like Kit Kat, but tastes just slightly different. Maybe the chocolate is milkier. Or the wafers are...different. Of course it's not the same exact thing as a Kit Kat. IT'S COOLER BECAUSE IT'S NORWEGIAN. (It's also owned by Kraft though, so...that might lessen the coolness.)

extra salty? hot damn!

When Morten saw me taking this photo of salty licorice flavored extra gum, he asked if we had the same thing in the US. ...Nuh, don't think so. I guess that's just a Scandinavian thing. (I've never been a fan of licorice.) He bought a pack and let me try a piece, which instead of being a flat, foiled-wrapped strip came in the form of a giant elongated chiclet. Seems like most gum comes in that form instead of a short, floppy ribbon. Why not, I guess? Anyway, salty licorice tastes about as good as it sounds (although it doesn't taste that salty); it's not horrible, but I'll gladly refrain from ever eating it again. If I had the choice between salty licorice gum and raw tomatoes though, I'd choose the gum. Yipes.

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the door is for freakishly tall people

At some point we arrived back home, which is on the third floor of what looks like a two-story building on the outside...because this apartment is stuffed under the roof, hence why the room Diana and I are staying in has a ceiling that slopes downward and has a skylight. It's pretty awesome.

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is it sammich time?

Morten made the three of us open faced sandwiches for lunch/dinner (lunch at 6:30 PM). I tried to help cook the scrambled eggs, but...well, I suck and my stirring abilities are not so hot. I relenquished the egg stirring task to Morten and did something else, like take these photos. Oh, isn't Morten's shirt awesome? It's very stylin'. I wonder where he got it from. [cough hack wheeze]

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the sandwiches are coming!

Morten asked if I ate my sandwiches closed. Closed is usually the default choice for me, with "open" coming along on rare occasions. If Norwegians like their sandwiches open, well then, I will eat my sandwich open. On each slice of buttered toast he put down a lettuce leaf liner topped with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on one slice and smoked mackerel and cucumber slices on the other.

So. Freakin'. Awesome. Really. This is damn tasty stuff if you like smoked fish. (And if you don't like smoked for you.) Why haven't I ever made anything that simple? Surely these sandwich combinations are no secret...ARE THEY? Although I may prefer them closed in the future, I'll stick to the open sandwich structure for a while. Ye know, for authenticity. Um.

We ate dinner at midnight. IT WAS SO GOOD. But. I'll talk about it later. Be excited!


Clare / June 10, 2006 1:14 PM

Those scrambled eggs look AWESOME. It looks like Morten is aware of the constant-stirring-on-low-heat-then-add-a-few-pats-of-butter method that makes scrambled eggs so creamy and decadent. I'm jealous because I am at home, have eggs, have butter, but have no bread! Wah.

Glad you made it out to Norway!

Sophie / June 10, 2006 2:29 PM

oh you took a picture of butter! i love butter, how adequate with toast ...I sound like a moron, yes...I actually just came back from ikea, bought some pans...boring stuff...but I'm having DAIM ! those open sandwiches look truly delectable yeah...colorful, just like the landscape....I am excited, also...dinner of marinated herring at midnight or what?

Kristin / June 10, 2006 3:21 PM

I'm excited for the dinner blog. :D

As far as the Kit-Kat like candy... I had a very similar experience. I no longer eat American candy bars, because in comparisin to European chocolate, they taste like wax with a hint of chocolate.

Their chocolate, on the other hand is melt-in-your mouth delicious, milky, but still full of the full chocolate flavor, unlike say a Hershey's milk chocolate bar. :( Me need more German chocolate now!


I'm part Norwegian, so I've heard of the whole open-sandwich thing. In fact, last year my sister had three Norwegian roomates. But they were kinda drunk and kinda rude, I think she regretted the experience. Oh well. Engough talk of relatives, I want to hear about the midnight dinner!

Cathy / June 10, 2006 4:36 PM

That sammich looks good. There is something to be said about someone that can make a fish and egg sandwich look good. I like the open-faced sandwich thing, but normally when I order those at diners I find that they're open-faced because they're so huge. It looks like you're having an awesome time. Norway looks really cute. Can't wait to see more.

Annie / June 10, 2006 6:58 PM

I thought Taiwan was an island? How then can you have so little experience of fish and seafood? Not that I'm criticizing your upbringing, of course. Eastern Europeans (like my family) are not happy with fish until it has been made "gefilte", at which point it is as much a breadstuff as a fish. Anyway do keep writing. And keep eating open-faced sandwiches. And tell Morten all your blog-readers thank him for being a great host and providing all the comforts whilst you blog!

one girl / June 10, 2006 7:18 PM

Whoa, so jealous you're in Norway right now! Everything looks amazing, especially the FOOD... hope you keep the great blog posts and food porn coming while you're away.

Adalmin / June 10, 2006 7:37 PM

The crab claw cracked me up. I don't know why, but the idea of a bunch of people merrily smashing a crab claw into a stone bench just makes me keel over with laugh-induced stomach cramps.

BTW open sandwiches are cute but hard to eat. Eggy bits will fly everywhere! I tried eating an open-faced Vietnamese sandwich once - the carrot slivers and what have you rocketed into the atmosphere with one bit. But it was tasty.

roboppy / June 10, 2006 10:40 PM

Clare: We started off with a huge chunk o butter in the pan, but then did the constant stirring thing. Or at least I was supposed to do that...wasn't doing it constantly enough, hehe.


Sophie: Butter and toast is a lovely thing! I need to try it more often. I tend to only use olive oil with bread since I like to dip bread into the oil and not spread stuff on bread.

Dinner involved fish...yummified fish! And potatoes and asparagus!

Kristin: Hershey's milk chocolate bar makes me kinda sad. I ate one once about two years ago...and it tasted wrong. This is coming from someone who likes most food!

I think I saw some drunk Norwegians last night. Wee! I heard a bunch of guys sing a song about booze.

Cathy: I think open faced sammiches in the US tend to be...huge...or at least at diners. That was my impression of an open face sandwich...that it was open because it was too big to shove between two pieces of bread anyway. :O But now I know that they can be cute and pretty!

Rich: It rocks muchly!

Annie: Taiwan is an island...and I don't even know what Taiwanese food is. I didn't pay much attention when I was there apparently, hehe. I mainly ate salmon growing up cos my mum liked it, I guess. Grilled eel is my favorite Japanese dish..which doesn't have much to do with my culture, just that I LOVE IT A LOOOT! Oh, I also love a simple steamed whole fish in garlic sauce. Basic Chinese thing, I think.

Morten is THE best host ever! :)

one girl: Food is awesome here! I can't believe some people were like, "NORWEGIAN FOOD ISN'T GOOD!" It is! Mrrh! More porn is a comin.

Adalmin: Merrily smashing away, oh yeeah!

They are hard to eat, yeaah. Stuff would fall off every now and then. "There goes mah egggs!"

From Our Kitchen / June 11, 2006 2:15 AM

I love foreign candies like that too. Even if it's exactly the same as the US stuff, just call it something cool and different and I'll be dieing to try it. It really didn't smell like fish? The first thing I thought when I saw the fish photos was: "It must smell reallly bad there."

(And to respond to the comments from that old post, yes, food trade later this summer. I'm excited!)

gagatka / June 11, 2006 5:07 AM

I have never tried fishcakes and really can't imagine this idea on my tongue. But the cinammonn rolls - well that's something!

g / June 11, 2006 5:52 AM

Surely you guys must know that fresh fish doesn't smell (bad)? ;)

Sounds like you are having lots of fun up there, Robyn. I had a good time in .no, that country is so beautiful. Sadly my hosts weren't very interested in food :/ Did you try the banana sandwich spread thing those crazy vikings invented? Maybe not the most culinary thing but it is cool :p

Tomas / June 11, 2006 6:06 PM

Loved reading all of this entry.

I remember explaining fishcakes to people on the Netherlands while I stayed there for a while. It was so surreal. No matter how I detailed what a fishcake actually was, they just wouldn't fathom what I was trying to tell them. Or to make it a bit clear: They were about as responsive to my explanations as if I had told them that in Norway we eat rocks. You know, blank stares and "uh huh?". So I brought them some fishballs. HEY, have you eaten fishballs? Fishballs in curry-sauce... mmmhm :)

And the peacock. Kinda random you think? We'll, at my grandparents summer residence which lies in a far away fjord way way north near Bod�, some crazy guy that ran a camping site decided to open a "zoo". I say "zoo", not zoo because it really wasn't a zoo. In it he had moskus oxes... and some goats. And.. you guessed it. A peacock. So, hm, I guess peacocks are just a favorite of those norwegians that happen to like collecting live animals.

Hope you're having a wonderful time, looking forward to moooore :)

roboppy / June 11, 2006 6:31 PM

jenjen: And it was, of course! Surprisingly, I haven't been raiding bakeries here. Been eating looots of bread though!

From Our Kitchen: Candy does seem cooler when it's foreign, eh? :D "Hey, these are like M&Ms...BUT THEY'RE SCANDINAVIAN!" Want me to grab anything for a food trade? Ehe.

gagatka: Fishcakes are yum! I might like em more than cinnamon rolls..depending on my mood. :)

g: Well, it shouldn't smell like...rotting I guess. ;) But there's some kind of smell, maaaybe. It's not just air, hehe. I guess there was a slight seafoody smell, not too much though.

Banana sandwich spread wuh? :O Sounds intriguing. I'll keep my eye out for that.

Tomas: Glad you liked it! THERE'S MORE A-COMIN!

No one understood the fish cake thing? Hm. Well. I guess it's unintentionally like Japanese fish cakes, hehe. (Or vice versa.) I haven't had fishballs in curry sauce, but I'd try it!

Oh, people just like dem peacocks. AND GOATS!

grace / June 11, 2006 9:21 PM

oh! looks like you're having a blast robyn :) these pictures are awesome. i love seeing food from other countries, it's so interesting

Lutkie / June 11, 2006 11:00 PM

Robyn! I'm so jealous! It looks awesome. I appreciate all the pretty pictures. Revel in the Soccer Madness of Europe! And of course the AWESOME FOOD!!!!!!!!! YUMMY BREAD!

pumpkinpie / June 12, 2006 1:56 AM

Your trip sounds fantastic, and highly educational. Your references to brown cheese intrigued me, as I recently bought chocolate-flavored cheese slices. They look like Kraft American singles, but I am thinking grilled cheese on cinnamon bread might work.

Ani / June 13, 2006 10:41 AM

Sorry about the asthma. Besides our love of food that is something we shar. Hope you are feeling better and you are seriously making me want to move to NORWAY!

ritesh modi / June 25, 2006 6:01 AM


i m ritesh modi

i need jobs in norway

please give me one chance

What you don't think about in your food / October 17, 2006 5:43 PM

It might interest you to know that Norway, particularly the fish market in Bergen, is cited continuously for having contaminanted fish. The dioxin, PCB, and flame retardants in Norwegian fish, especially farmed salmon, is among the highest in the world. Through 2004-2006 there was a cadmium accident in all feed (pig, chicken, fish)so there was alot of that to cosume...and a 30 year halflife in your kidneys, hope you enjoyed it!

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