Two competing palates of Nordic Cuisine in Stockholm

In the previous post, we explored traditional Swedish food at Hotorgshallen, the food in those restaurants were proudly and traditionally Swedish. But we also live in a modern world and Stockholm is a connected global city, so how is classical Swedish cuisine changing today?

Now before we begin let me start with a clarification. When I ask the question on how Swedish cuisine is modernised, I do not mean food that comes from a non-Swedish culture, but rather Swedish cuisine as it has evolved after taking in influences from other parts of the world.

We begin at Urban Deli, the classical example of a modern take of Swedish dining.

Actually Urban Deli is more than restaurant. Urban Deli is a concept that fuses restaurant, rooftop bar, food hall, café, convenience store and a hotel all into one. It’s food is glocal, since it uses Swedish ingredients and fuses it with international flavours. If you like the dish, there is a whole convenience store that stocks the very stuff you ate, so you can prepare it at home too.

It is telling that its most popular menu item is a Korean Steak Tartare. Steak tartare is a raw beef dish, that has origins in both Mongolia and France. And was a popular way of consuming food among the upper classes in Europe. It is also a traditional dish in Sweden, called råbiff and served with a raw egg yolk, raw onions, diced pickled beetroot and capers. Urban Deli changed things up by adding Korean and Asian flavours (korean mustard, cilantro, red onion, spring onions, sesame, fried garlic, fried rice paper, chili mayonnaise) to an already popular local dish to give it more texture and spice.

There is the modern embrace that one palate of Swedish cuisine does, and then there is the classical bulwark. And for that, look no further that Restaurang Tennstopet.

More that 150 years old, Tennstopet sells everything that is super Swedish, following the seasons to place on their menu only items that are in season (including a full day of Surstromming).

It is here that you will find some of the most traditionally made meatballs (although I think Restaurang Pelikan will have something to say about that), and where modern takes like Meatballs for the People are scoffed at. Here meatballs are served the traditional way, purist will argue the only way it should be served, with potatoes, pickled cucumbers and lingonberries.

The title of this post has a double entrende, while I described both a modern and traditional approach to cuisine, I also do mean that within Swedish cuisine is a consistent dual taste – sweet and savoury, salty and sweet, sour and savoury. Perhaps a stop to the chocolate shop best highlights this. Swedish and Nordic cuisine is well known for licorice – a flavour that either draws favour or disgust. I fall in the former camp, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to taste a seasalt caramel licorice chocolate at Chokladfabriken – the saltiness from salt, sugary sweetness from caramel, bitter-after sweetness from licorice and creamy taste of chocolate. I should go buy some soon…

This is certainly not a classical Swedish dish and represents a modern take on Swedish cuisine, influenced by global trends and international flavours, it may not be traditional, but it sure is more exciting on the tongue.

ON THE MAP (Urban Deli)

ON THE MAP (Tennstopet)

ON THE MAP (Chokladfabriken)


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