I knew there was a reason the dishes had stuck around!
The first thing I usually do upon arriving to a new destination is find out the basics: what I need to see and what I need to eat. A faulty Internet connection in Denmark, however, hindered this task and I was left at the mercy of a tour guide to provide direction. I was lucky enough to encounter a fellow solo traveler that had a better background on Danish culture. He was set on having Smørrebrød for lunch, something I had never heard about.
Asking our tour guide, he pointed us in the direction of a local shop. The man behind the counter spoke absolutely no English, posing only a temporary problem since we decided to take a comprehensive approach and order one of everything. Smørrebrød generally consists of dark rye bread covered with various toppings that include but definitely are not limited to: remoulade, cold cuts, smoke fish, smoked fish, cheese, pickled vegetables, raw vegetables, and even egg. After multiple exchanges of nodding, thumbs up and down, and pointing, I finally had multiple plates of Smørrebrød.
One of my favorites was what is affectionately called the “starfish” and is perhaps one of the more simple combinations. Upon a slice of rye bread slathered with mayo sat a piece of fried fish, a few baby shrimp, and a slice of lemon. The fish was perfectly fried, with a crisp outer layer and a tender warm center. A little lemon juice squeezed over the top added the perfect pucker to each bite. Another Smørrebrød consisted of slices of hard-boiled egg and baby shrimp spread out on top of bread with lettuce, tomato, and cucumber; a more bizarre combination was comprised of cured fish in a type of barbecue sauce with hardboiled egg and onions.
The shopkeeper, upon seeing me finish the last bite, had a grin from ear to ear, content that I had tried everything and visibly enjoyed his food. I thanked him in the form of a smile and big thumbs up, glad that I had the chance to enjoy this local cuisine. Even though the combinations had initially seemed strange, I knew there was a reason the dishes had stuck around!
Photos: Jocelyn Reist
What do you think of Danish cuisine? Share with us in the comments.