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Smørrebrød: A Delicious Taste Of Danish Culture


Smorrebrod. Photo courtesy of cyclonebill.

It doesn’t get much more traditional in Danish culture than with smorrebrod (literally meaning “buttered bread”). Essentially an open-faced sandwich usually featuring rye sourdough bread, smorrebrod present different combinations of seafood, meat, vegetables and condiments, and are typically enjoyed with a cold local beer or snaps (aquavit). Try the “Shooting Star,” made with butter-fried white bread, a slice of steam white fish, a slice of fried white fish, shrimp garnished with a dollop of mayo, red caviar or lumpfish roe, and a lemon slice. There’s also the “Sun over Gudhjem” made with smoked herring, egg yolk, radish and chives. The “Veterinarian’s Midnight Snack” is another delicious choice, made with butter- or duck fat-coated rye bread topped with liver pate, salt beef, aspic and red onion rings. Some other topping and combinations you might find include fried herring, homemade chicken salad, smoked venison with scrambled eggs, homemade sausage, old cheese with onions and gravy, smoke salmon, smoked eel with scrambled eggs and a fish fillet with Danish remoulade, to name a few. There are a few rules to remember when enjoying smorrebrod so that you survive your first “Danish cold table” without issue. Always eat herring first, then any other fish, then meat, then cheese. Use a knife and fork instead of your hands, and toast (Skal!) frequently making sure to clink everyone’s glasses while looking them in the eye before you drink. Some traditional venues to sample Smørrebrød when visiting Copenhagen, a great destination for the delicacy, include Peter Liep’s House, Orangeriet, Tivolihallen, Aamanns and Restaurant Kronborg.

Tip: Check out this guide if you only have one day in Copenhagen, and this one if you’re traveling to Copenhagen alone.

This article was originally published on Epicure & Culture

About Jessie Festa

Jessie Festa is an New York-based travel content creator who is passionate about empowering her audience to experience new places and live a life of adventure. She is the founder of the solo female travel blog, Jessie on a Journey, and is editor-in-chief of Epicure & Culture, an online conscious tourism magazine. Along with writing, Jessie is a professional photographer and is the owner of NYC Photo Journeys, which offers New York photo tours, photo shoots, and wedding photography. Her work has appeared in publications like USA Today, CNN, Business Insider, Thrillist, and WestJet Magazine.

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  1. I’m headed to Copenhagen in the spring and looking forward to trying smorrebrod. But why do you have to eat the herring and all of the other fish first? Is it just a matter of Danish etiquette?

    • jørgen kronborg hansen on at 2:54 pm

      No . We don’t use etiquette much; actually i never experienced any “rules” for eating smørrebrød. We just eat what we like in the sequence we like it. The danes are very down-to-earth, so you just be yourself and relax and youl’ll be just fine. We don’t put a lot of emphasism on neither fashion nor food. What we like is fellowship and humor and a smile 🙂

      • jess2716 on at 5:46 pm

        @Jorgen: Good to know. I definitely got that vibe 🙂

        • Jørgen Kronborg Hansen on at 10:33 am

          Thanks, Jess. But it was only afterwards i noticed that Dana Carmel’s question was quite old, so i diden’t know if she’d ever read my answer. Anyway, if i could assist you in the future concerning “danish things” on your blog and in your writings, i’d be happy to assist you with hints and/or information. Just let me know.
          Kind regards, jørgen.

          • jess2716 on at 1:52 pm

            @Jorgen: I’ll let you know. As of now my upcoming travel plans include Israel, Colorado and The Azores, so those will be the focus in the upcoming weeks 🙂

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