Sponsor content from DNX Studio on behalf of the Norwegian Seafood Council

When the hero of your exotic vacation meal is Norwegian

When aiming for an authentic summer vibe in England, there are few things that beat fish and chips.

Sponsor content from DNX Studio on behalf of the Norwegian Seafood Council
Written by
August 20, 2018

Sweat, dew on the glasses, drowsy smiles. The rest of Northern Europe has also received its dose of early summer heat. While this has led to sky-high consumption of typical barbeque dishes in Norway, there are other temptations that lure in London, Berlin, and Istanbul. This summer, international food traditions make way for fish from Norwegian seas to play the lead role on the table worldwide.

c247e030d2010ba2cdb0a32e8123459f Fish and chips are key when one is visiting London, according to Hanna Hovdan Larssen and Erlend Palm. One of four such meals served in the United Kingdom are made of Norwegian cod. Photo: DNX

In London, Erlend Palm and Hanna Hovdan Larssen enjoy fish and chips, a dish British people associate with both simple comfort food and street food, in addition to being popular on the dinner table. Two out of three Brits eat fish and chips at least once a month, according to European food surveys. Additionally, the prestigious National Fish & Chips Awards is held annually to reveal the UK’s best fish and chips. One of four servings are Norwegian. Britain bought 95,000 tons of cod and haddock last year alone.

- London offers visitors and locals food from all over the world, but there is always room for fish and chips, says the couple.

Salted delicacies

bd72d1278f8a47ab9a1c949b4a385fb3 Norwegian herring is eaten year round in Germany, and at this market you can buy it to savor on the spot. Photo: DNX

As the doors of Berlin’s Markthalle open, visitors are greeted by the smell of fresh produce and elaborate, yet routinely, created dishes. This is one of many places to find delicacies and unique food experiences in the German capital.

- We have all kinds, just point and say what you want…

The man behind the fish counter at Der Fischladen in the Charlottenburg neighborhood is about to put out his specialties—different kinds of finger foods like fish, shellfish, olives and other salted delicacies.

- It is probably a bit too early in the day, but people buy quite a lot of this. Just wait, he says and points to the rows of white ceramic bowls filled with herrings of all colors and shapes.

Here one can find natural herring, classical matjes herring, herring in bright purple beetroot mayonnaise, herring with olives, herring rolled around whole potatoes. All kinds are ready for purchase right at the counter.

- All kinds of people buy herring. Generally not the youngest crowd, but both younger and older adults come by to shop, the clerk adds.

Annually, Norway exports 31,000 tons of domestic herring to Germany. Although the herring market has faced fierce competition in recent years, every German eats two kilos of the fish on average each year. Like Scandinavia, herring also plays an important role in German Christmas traditions.

Holding on to traditions

733a97099172f63fbb95a17d813077ed Norwegian mackerel is a very popular dish in Turkey, Japan, and South Korea. In Turkey it's grilled in food stalls,, and served as a sandwich you can grab on the go. Photo: DNX

Matjes herring, which is served at Markthalle, is typical in Amsterdam during the early summer months. The preparation of the spring-spawning, fatty herring has traditions that go quite far back, and once relied on the local fishing fleet. Today, little remains of the Dutch fishing tradition, but the food tradition is sustained by imported Norwegian fish that is rare to find behind the nation's own fish counters.

Another tradition upheld by Norwegian seafood is bacalao in Portugal and other countries that had strong ties to the empire in colonial times. A vacation trip to Lisbon is not complete without a traditional bacalao meal.

Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, starting a discussion about the correct way to prepare bacalao isn't advisable. It is said that all Portuguese foodies know at least 365 recipes for bacalao—one recipe for every day of the year. A better talking point, perhaps, might be that the bacalao hails from Norway.

Portugal imports 2,000 tons of bacalao from Norway each year. In addition, it also imports 17,000 tons of salted fish for drying. Large exports of bacalao are also sent to the Dominican Republic, but this is made of pollock rather than cod.

In the Americas, in places like Mexico, Norwegian bacalao is closely linked to Christian holidays. Eighty-five percent of what's sold annually is served during Christmas.

In Italy, dry fish remains an important food product, but is increasingly sold rehydrated, which reduces cooking time. Its not common in restaurants, so tourists rarely encounter this kind of fish.

Bait or funky street food?

Northern Norwegians who view mackerel as baitfish may be pleasantly surprised when exploring the street food market in the Turkish beach city of Antalya this summer. The mackerel on the menu may have been caught just off the coast of their neighboring village.

- Fried Norwegian mackerel in bread is a common street food. The well known mackerel sandwich is called 'balek ekmek' and is particularly popular in Istanbul, says Tove Sleipnes of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

It doesn't take much to fill your stomach with a diverse range of exotic foods while travelling abroad, only to discover later that the fish is, in fact, imported from Norway.

Norwegian mackerel is also a very common find on dinner tables in places like South Korea and Japan. Japanese people eat roughly 450,000 tons of mackerel each year. After Pacific salmon, it's the most popular fish in the country.

Facts about Norwegian seafood

-Norway exported NOK 94.5bn ($11.2bn) worth of seafood in 2017.

-It sends 70 different types of fish to 140 countries.

-Of all these fish, 7 out of 10 have not been treated or processed.

-In 2017, 72% of the nation's seafood exports came from aquaculture. FIsheries accounted for 28%. Measured in volume, distribution amounted to 40% and 60%, respectively.

-Poland is the biggest importer of Norwegian fish, which is often processed there.

-The Norwegian Seafood Council maintains offices in Brazil, Sweden, France, Portugal, Italy, Germany, Japan, China, Singapore, UK and US.

In northern Spain, the traditional dish is Norwegian salt fish. Twenty percent of all cod consumed in Spain is Norwegian salt fish, and nearly all of this consumption takes place in the central and northern regions of the country. What is salt fish, you may wonder? Despite being the main exporter, salt fish sales are limited in Norway, and is best described as bacalao that hasn't been dried.

On the French Riviera, smoked salmon is a recurring ingredient. Half of all Frenchmen say they eat smoked salmon at least once a month. Again, convenience is the reason behind this preference. More than half eat smoked salmon because it is simple, tasty and takes little time to prepare. While there's an aversion to eating it with scrambled eggs, which is the preferred preparation in Norway, Frenchmen prefer their smoked salmon served with a cream sauce over hot pasta.

At tourist destinations in both South Africa and Mexico, Norwegian salmon is increasingly popular as well.

If you find yourself in Asia this summer, you'll find that the Norwegian king crab has become a big hit. Along with Norwegian salmon, it is associated with celebrations and luxury.

Worldly Norwegian salmon

There are a handful of summer trends that are the same in Norway as they are abroad. Both Sweden and the UK are major importers of fresh and frozen shrimp.

In total, 140 countries import 70 different kinds of fish from Norway. Some of this stock wouldn't be recognized at most Norwegian dinner tables. In Norway, only 40 types of fish are used in everuday cooking.

- It is interesting to look at what we export to the United States. Because the country has such a diverse range of ethnicities that have held onto their traditions through generations, we export a bit of everything, says Tove Sleipnes of the Norwegian Seafood Council.

In 2017, the US purchased NOK 5.7bn worth of of Norwegian seafood. At the end of the day, sometimes you have to travel to discover the treasures available back at home.

This article is a part of a series entitled "The Ocean". These stories were produced by DNX Studio, which is an affiliate of IntraFish Media and its publisher, NHST Global Publications, on behalf of advertisers.