Denmark is a country that always seems to be forgotten, but it has so much to offer. It’s been named the happiest country in the world, has a high standard of living, free education (we can only imagine what that is like), and is absolutely stunning.
Although Denmark is mostly greenery, its capital city of Copenhagen is a thriving metropolis. This amazing city is home to lots of great food that everyone should try while there, because let’s be honest, calories don’t count in foreign countries.
Smørrebrød are open-faced sandwiches that are typically eaten for lunch in Denmark. Usually eaten with rugbrød (rye bread), they can be topped with raw herring or shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, meat, or vegetables.
This is not a traditional Danish food, but they are just too good not to mention. Pølser are essentially the Danish version of American hot dogs, but so much better in every way. They are served at pølsevogn (stands) all over Copenhagen and other cities and they are often served with a side of ketchup, mustard, fried onions, and pickles.
Æbleskiver are small, round pancakes that are typically filled with apples. Usually topped with sugar and served with a side of marmalade, and they’re part of the Christmas traditions in Danish households.
No Danish meal would be complete without a side of kartofler, in translation, that’s potatoes. They can be made in a variety of ways, but are typically boiled in water and served with other vegetables. They are also often made into kartoffelmos (mashed) or into brun kartoffler (the potatoes are cooked with sugar to create caramelization).
This is what Americans think of when they think of a danish pastry, but the danishes that we have in America don’t actually hail from Denmark. The pastry that Americans presume is from Denmark is actually based on this pastry, wienerbrød. And believe me, these are infinitely better than any American danish pastry. These have a consistency similar to croissants, filled with a mixture of creamed butter and sugar. Every time I’m in Denmark I gain nearly 10 pounds just from eating wienerbrød all day, every day.
Gløgg is a mulled wine with several spices and peels of lemons and oranges. Bits of almonds and raisins are added as well, and the mixture is left for a few days to steep. It’s served warm and is often eaten with æbleskiver at Christmas time.
Rababergrød is a rhubarb compote that’s a popular summer dessert in Denmark. The rhubarb stalks are boiled and made into a sugary syrup. It’s then served cold with heavy cream and sugar on top. Oftentimes strawberries are also added to it, making it rababerjordbærgrød.
8. Rødgrød med fløde
This is essentially a berry soup. Also eaten as a summer dessert, red berries are boiled and then covered with cream. This is a great way to pick at foreigners since it is so hard to pronounce, so if anyone asks you to say it, do so at your own risk (you will be made fun of.).
This is similar to the American version of rice pudding. It’s served cold and topped with hot cherries. When eaten at Christmas time, there is an almond hidden somewhere in the batch and whoever finds it in their bowl wins a prize. Things can get extremely competitive looking for that one almond.
There are dairies and cheese factories all over Denmark making their own authentic cheeses. The most common are blue cheese, danbo, and havarti. Danes often serve up cheeses alongside raw herring and various fruits.
While this is not a food, it deserves a spot on this list. Copenhagen is home to one of the most world-renowned restaurants, Noma. It’s run by Chef René Redzepi, who has won countless awards for his culinary creativity (he also has a killer Instagram account). Since this place is so famous, it also has insane menu prices. Redzepi recently opened a restaurant in Australia and is planning on opening one at NYC’s Grand Central Station in the near future.