Norwegians tend to eat one warm meal a day (middag) and have bread with pålegg for breakfast(frokost), lunch (lunsj) and supper (kveldsmat). What is pålegg? It is basically whatever goes on the top of your bread – it can be ham, cheese, jam, salami, sardines, liver pate, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
At work, some offices have their own staff canteens offering hot and cold meals at subsidised rates while other companies order in food (pålegg, sandwiches, salads, etc) for their employees. Otherwise or alternatively, employees can choose to bring their own lunch (matpakke) to work. This usually consists of sandwiches, salads or even dinner leftovers.
The one warm meal can be a typical Norwegian meal, such as:
Meat cakes with side dishes (Kjøttkaker)
Meat balls with side dishes (Kjøttballer)
Potato and meat stew (Lapskaus)
Salmon with side dishes (Laks)
Potato balls with side dishes (Komle)
Fish soup (Fiskesuppe)
Lamb stew with cabbage (Fårikål)
or foreign and fast food, such as:
Asian cuisine (With Thai, Indian and Chinese being the most popular at the moment)
Pizza (Grandiosa is a national favourite)
Hamburgers and hot dogs
The supermarkets offer a wide range of instant meals which is really helpful. If you are pressed for time, check out the brands Fjordland and Toro for meals which can be prepared in 10 – 15 minutes!
Timing of Meals
Norwegians tend to eat breakfast really early, between 6-8am, lunch between 1030 to 12 noon, dinner between 4-5pm and supper between 8-9pm. The working hours in Norway are usually from between 7-8 am to 3-4pm. As such, one has to eat breakfast early and by the time the clock strikes 11 or even before that, you are as hungry as a bear. And when you get home from work at 4-5pm, your body is naturally tired and hungry for dinner. By the time 8pm rolls around, you get hunger pangs again.
Water in Norway is safe to drink straight from the tap. An added benefit is that it tastes really fresh and good. If you are a guest at a Norwegian home, the water that is served is usually chilled tap water. When hiking outdoors, some Norwegians feel that water from a mountain stream is safe to drink (as long as you know for sure someone is not peeing into the stream somewhere above you!) while others feel that you should never ever drink water from the outdoors.
Milk is a staple drink – some Norwegian children reach for a glass of milk after they come home from school and Norwegian adults usually top their breakfast and supper off with a glass of milk. Lots of versions can be found so consumers are spoilt for choice :
Whole milk (3.9%) (Hel melk)
Low-fat milk (1.5%) (Lett melk)
Extra low-fat (0.7%) (Ekstra lett melk)
Skimmed milk/non-fat milk (0.1%) (Skummet melk)
Cultured milk (Kultur melk)
Norwegians are among the world’s biggest consumers of coffee per inhabitant. Days usually start and meals are usually finished off with a cup of black coffee. Norwegians prefer their coffee without milk or sugar and because of this, some of them might forget to ask their guests if they would like milk or sugar in their coffee. So do not be offended if your Norwegian hosts forget to ask you, just kindly request for what you would like to have. Black coffee goes really well with the sweet desserts that are so popular here – rice cream (riskrem), caramel pudding, chocolate cake, marzipan cake, creme brulee, ice cream, etc, as the coffee prevents one from getting sweetened out.
Beer in Norway is the product of a rich tradition of brewing. Norwegian craft brewing has a long history, going back at least 1000 years. Until around 200 years ago no farm was complete without a brewhouse. From the early 20th century brewing was industrialized and home brewing outlawed. Since then, significant consolidation in the brewing sector has reduced the number of major breweries to just a handful. With the exception of the malty juleøl (Christmas beer), most beer styles brewed in Norway today trace their ancestry to central Europe.
When at the pubs, you can usually find a good variety of beer. Costing anywhere from 60 NOK to 140 NOK, you might want to hold off saying ‘Beer for everyone in the house on me!’
Common Norwegian Beer Brands
Ringnes is originally from Oslo, and is brewed by Ringnes Bryggeri in Oslo. It is Norway’s most sold beer brand. It is owned by the Danish brewery Carlsberg.
Hansa is originally from Bergen, and is brewed by Hansa-Borg Bryggerier in Bergen. It is Norway’s second largest beer brand.
Aass is originally from Drammen, and is brewed by Aass Bryggeri in Drammen.
Mack is originally from Tromsø, and is brewed by Macks Ølbryggeri in Tromsø. Macks Ølbryggeri is the world’s northernmost brewery.
CB is originally from Kristiansand, and is brewed by Christianssands Bryggeri (CB) in Kristiansand. CB is owned by Hansa-Borg.
Borg is originally from Sarpsborg, and is brewed by Hansa-Borg Bryggerier in Sarpsborg.
E. C. Dahls is originally from Trondheim, and is brewed by Ringnes E. C. Dahls Bryggeri in Trondheim. E. C. Dahls is owned by Ringnes Bryggeri.
Tou is originally from Stavanger. It is brewed by Ringnes Bryggeri in Oslo.
Frydenlund is originally from Oslo. It is brewed by Ringnes Bryggeri in Oslo.
Lundetangen is originally from Skien. It is brewed by Aass Bryggeri in Drammen.
Grans is originally from Sandefjord. It is brewed by Grans Bryggeri in Sandefjord.
Arendals is originally from Arendal. It is brewed by the Ringnes Arendal Bryggeri brewery in Arendal. Arendal Bryggeri is owned by Ringnes Bryggeri.
Nøgene Ø is originally from Grimstad, and is brewed by Nøgne Ø Brewery in Grimstad.
It’s just potato whisky (yeah right!). Be warned, this clear to yellowish liquid packs a punch and can knock you out fairly quickly. It usually accompanies festive meals as it is believed to aid digestion of rich foods.
A delicious warm alcoholic Christmas drink of wine seasoned with raisins, ginger, cardamons, cinnamon, cloves and bitter orange. Non-alcoholic versions are also made for children. It is served with bits of almonds and raisins floating on top. If you have not tried this, be sure to do so at Christmas time!
Disclaimer: Do note that everyone and every family is different. The above is general information gathered from different sources.