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.
Soon after the toast massacre, Morten, Diana and I went to the fish market by the harbor. Mmm, different kind of massacre!
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.
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.
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. Mm...me 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.
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.
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.
I shared the duty of unraveling the soft, sweet bread with Diana. Mm mmm mmmm mm etc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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]
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 fish...sucks 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!