As I travel, I love to find some things that would be considered a favorite or local dish. Some that I haven’t tried before and some that I have had but would like to try it from the source. With Sweden, I don’t think I knew much of what they had besides Swedish meatballs from Ikea, and Swedish sticky buns that I know from Ann Sather’s in Chicago.
I’ve made a list of things that a first timer in Sweden should definitely check out.
We went to Östermalms Saluhall, off Östermalmstorg, is a great place to try different things. They have isles of vendors, like a farmer’s market but with lots of food stalls to try different things. We caught some attitude from the folks at Melanders after ordering the meatballs. They weren’t bad, but the experience we had there makes us never want to return. Instead, we stopped by Husman’s Deli, which some of the locals said was the best meatballs but they ran out by the time we got there (running out of meatballs has got to be a good sign). That didn’t stop us from ordering two of their other daily specials, which were both really delicious. They served us with a special house jelly to try and we couldn’t be happier.
Lamb and pork dishes can be found at most places if you are looking for good meat options.
When Melanders wouldn’t let us eat at the counter because there was no space, and the couple sitting there (in photo) wouldn’t remove their coats off the chairs to let us have a seat, they packaged our order to go. Since there was no where else to go, and we had an audibly hungry child, we waited for a seat but were told we cannot eat at the counter with the to-go container. It was an infuriating experience, and only made ok when one of the workers there let us sit and offered us some silverware.
Having a much better experience at the counter at Husman’s
That special house jelly was oh so special, and went with everything. The sweetest Finish lady at the counter with us was great to talk to.Husman’s Deli had lots of specials to choose from, but unfortunately sold out of their meatballs… which is probably a good sign for anyone looking for good meatballs.
Fabrique was a bakery chain in Stockholm that you couldn’t miss if you were walking by. The smell of the goodies inside was like too good to pass when you are walking down the street. They have the regular cinnamon buns, but if you want to try something a little different (yet, Swedish) order the buns with cardamom spice.
Trocadero and Pago
We tried a couple different alcoholic beverages that you can in Sweden, but maybe that is for another post entirely. If you are looking for non-alcoholic, some ones that are good are Trocadero and Pago. Trocadero is a Swedish fruit flavored soda. Pago is an Austrian drink commonly found in Sweden, and is a fruit juice which we were told had additional natural vitamins.
I’m a fan of black licorice, but I know I’m pretty rare. Don’t worry if you don’t like black licorice, they make various flavors from rhubarb to bubblegum and everything in between. Most times you come across the candy stores that don’t have all the flavors listed, so just grab a bag and throw all the different ones in. You can always play “name that flavor” while walking around. If you do like black licorice like me, definitely try different shapes of that, but take note of the salted licorice pieces. Maybe try that one first to be sure you like it. It turns out I did not. However, I did like a salted licorice liquor I had from Denmark. My favorite was the yellowish-green diamonds that tasted like fruit gum.
Kalles kaviar tube
With our hostel breakfast, we found this tube next to all the pickled herring. I carefully watched as someone squeezed some of the contents onto a cracker and spread it around like it was Nutella. It was definitely NOT Nutella, it was creamed fish roe. Filipinos are familiar with something similar, called bagaoong or alamang, which is a fermented shrimp paste that you add to dishes to give it a salty, fishy, and umami flavor. This had a fishy flavor but it was creamy, like a soft cheese. Interesting flavor, I still don’t know if I like it or don’t so I thought I would make mention of it here and you can tell me what you think.
How can you miss all the advertising they have in the subways for the local corner stores? After a couple subway rides, we were sold and found ourselves going into a store to get some treats. We found 2 Plopp bars, one prickly pear and one rhubarb, with chocolate. Then we picked up a Kinder bar that we have never tried. (You can’t go wrong with Kinder chocolate) The 2 Plopp bars were a little sweet for my taste, but I can’t say I have a sweet tooth.
Heart-shaped waffle with strawberries and whipped cream on top. Yeah, you can’t really go wrong there.
Say whaaaa? Yep. One of the best bowls of ramen I ever had was at Café Sterna in Gamla Stan and it was delicious. Using quality ingredients and a simple recipe, they had a steady flow of primarily asian guests while we were there. My bowl was thick and creamy with really great flavor depth. My husband’s bowl was light and flavorful, a very clean taste. As far as options, they keep there menu pretty simple, you only have a few choices of broth and toppings are all the same. Less options let them keep to the main focus and people love coming back because they do.
Wanna get a little fancier?
Pelikan was originally opened in 1664, and hosts traditional Swedish fare in a warm and inviting space. What would seem like Swedish home cooking is presented like fine dining and all the dishes we had were incredibly good. Service was friendly and the environment was not too formal for bringing a little 4-year old. I really enjoyed eating here, and if you are looking for suggestions; we had the traditional meatballs with lingonberry and the fried salted bacon.
Meatballs by Pelikan on the featured image.