Food in Copenhagen

Posted on 1 November 2011

Copenhagen is an old fortified port city that is straddled on two Eastern Denmark islands of Zealand and Amager. The city is home to the royal family and the site of many historical events that shaped the city and its inhabitants. The city centre is surrounded by water with a network of car-free areas. The 1960s paved the way for a progressively pedestrian-friendly city. You can literally walk from one end of the city to the other. Immersing one’s self to the sights and sounds of Copenhagen is a great experience. Another great experience is indulging in the gastronomic delights of the city.

It has been said that the Danes eat and drink a lot. They enjoy good food and take beer and wine for their meals. They are very proud of their local beer- Carlsberg and Tuborg. Danish cuisine is noted for its Smørrebrød or open sandwiches and Frikadeller or meatballs. Back in the days, the Danes preserved their food by salting, smoking or brining meat, fish and fruit. These methods are still used today and is preferred and served in Danish dinner tables.

Stegt flæsk
Photo by jacobms, Flickr

Smoked pork or ham is still a favourite Danish treat. Salami or Spegepølse is pork that is air-dried and has a shelf-life of one year. Brawn or head cheese made of meat from a pig’s head and meat jelly. These dishes are favourites among peasants during the Middle Ages. Smoked herring is also a Danish traditional food. This national meal is also called “gold from the sea”. An alternative is pickled or marinated herring. This food is usually paired with Danish Snaps or Akvavit. Cheese making has been practiced in Denmark during the Viking period. Popular Denmark cheeses are: Blue Castello, Cream Havarti, Danablu (Danish Blue), Danbo, Danish Fontina, Esrom, Fynbo, Havarti, Maribo, Molbo, Mycella, Saga and Samso.

A favourite everyday Danish dish is the Stegt flæs which is made of slices of fried pork belly eaten with Danish potatoes with creamy parsley sauce. This dish is traditionally eaten during winter.

When in Copenhagen a taste of the famous Danish Smørrebrød is a must. Almost all restaurants in Denmark serve their own version of open-faced sandwich. Different portions of food such as cold cuts, cheese, fish, vegetables, paste and salad dressings are artfully put on top of buttered rye bread.

Smørrebrød with different toppings
Photo by Nillerdk, Wikimedia Commons

Dining out in Copenhagen is expensive. It is usual to pay as much as €150 to €200 for a meal. This is the reason why for most Danes, dining out is only done during special occasions. Now how can one eat Danish food on a budget? Opt for mobile street food! There are plenty of mopeds and bikes that go around the city offering budget yet very satisfactory Danish food. Fish cake with tartar sauce is a favourite at only €2.75 per order. If you are touring Copenhagen in a motorhome you can opt to buy the local sausages, cheese and pastries and dine Al fresco!

Rød Pølse and beer
Photo by vargklo, Flickr Creative Commons

Another favourite is røde pølser which is actually a hotdog-like sausage bought from a Pølsevogn or a sausage wagon. Other types of sausages are also available from this cart. Served with a slice of bread, ketchup, Danish remoulade and mustard this sausage and bread are alternately dipped into the sauce and eaten. Yummy!

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