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FOOD & DRINK

Denmark selects its first national dish

The Danes have spoken and their favourite meal is fried pork served with potatoes and parsley sauce. Sound good? Try the enclosed recipe.

Denmark selects its first national dish
Want to eat like a Dane? Dig in to a plate of stegt flæsk med persillesovs og kartofler. Photo: Søren Bidstrup/Scanpix
Food and Agriculture Minister Dan Jørgensen launched an initiative in September to find Denmark’s national dish. After more than 63,000 votes, the clear winner among 24 initial candidates was stegt flæsk med persillesovs og kartofler, thick fried slices of pork served with boiled potatoes and parsley sauce. 
 
Just under 28,000 Danes expressed their love for stegt flæsk, earning it 44 percent of the vote and the right to be called Denmark’s national dish. 
 
“The declaration of Denmark’s national dish initiated a debate on Danish produce and our common food culture. The national dish topped the agenda at workplace canteens, around Danes’ dinner table and in the media,” Jørgensen said in a press release. 
 
 
Traditional Danish open-faced sandwiches, smørrebrød, received the second highest number of votes, with 17,041. 
 
The national dish competition was the culmination of Jørgensen’s ‘food revolution’, an effort to get Danes to focus on eating healthier and more local foods. 
 
“Danish and New Nordic Cuisine have become known the world over. But here at home in our own kitchens, we often forget our culinary roots. The national dish has helped us to rediscover and develop our food traditions,” Jørgensen said. 
 
Stegt flæsk med persillesovs og kartofler. Photo: Jens Morten/Scanpix
All hail Denmark's national dish. Photo: Jens Morten/Scanpix
 
So, want to eat like a Dane? Here is an English-language recipe for stegt flæsk from Mikkel Gadegaard, the co-founder of recipe site Pabular:
 
Ingredients
600 g pork belly in slices
1 kg potatoes
30g butter
3 tbsp wheat flour
5dl milk (approximately)
2 handfulls chopped parsley
salt
pepper
 
Potatoes
Peel the potatoes unless you prefer your potatoes with skin. Put them in a pot and cover them with water, add salt and put on stove. They need to boil 15-20 minutes.
 
The pork
Meanwhile you should prepare the pork. Dry the slices (they should have a thickness of 5mm) and season them with salt and pepper. Then fry them for one minute on each side on moderate heat, lower the heat and keep turning the slices until they are golden and crispy. Put them on a piece of paper when they are done to drain a bit of fat. Keep them hot in your oven while you prepare the parsley sauce.
 
The sauce
Melt the butter in a pot. Once it is melted, add the flour and stir until the butter and flour is a coherent mass. It shouldn't take long and make sure that it doesn't burn so and turn brown. This should be a white sauce, with sprinkles of green. Add a little bit of milk and stir. When the milk is mixed in and has reached the boiling point stir for a few seconds and then repeat. Add milk stir, boil, stir. Repeat until the sauce has a consistency that you like. 
 
Add the parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
 
Prep time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes. Serves 4. 
 
And just how much do the Danes love stegt flæsk? Enough that Danish duo Jimi & René had a breakthrough hit in 1988 with an ode to the dish: 

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FOOD & DRINK

Nordic chef sets up world’s northernmost Michelin restaurant in Greenland

You can only get there by boat or helicopter, but Michelin-starred chef Poul Andrias Ziska hopes his restaurant in remote Greenland, far above the Arctic Circle, is worth the journey.

Nordic chef sets up world's northernmost Michelin restaurant in Greenland

The 30-year-old chef relocated his restaurant KOKS from the Faroe Islands in mid-June, leaving behind his relatively accessible address for Ilimanaq, a
hamlet of 50 inhabitants hidden behind icebergs on the 69th parallel north.

Housed in a narrow black wooden house, one of the oldest in Greenland, the restaurant can only accommodate about 20 people per service, and experiments with local produce, including whale and seaweed, with fresh produce almost impossible to find in the harsh climate.

“We try to focus on as much Greenlandic products as possible, so everything from Greenland halibut to snow crabs to musk ox to Ptarmigan, different herbs and different berries,” the tousled-haired, bearded chef tells AFP.

Double-Michelin-starred Faroese chef of KOKS restaurant Poul Andrias Ziska is photographed outside the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland on 28th June 2022

Double-Michelin-starred Faroese chef of KOKS restaurant Poul Andrias Ziska is photographed outside the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland on 28th June 2022. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

The young chef previously ran KOKS at home in the remote Faroe Islands, where he won his first star in 2017, his second in 2019, and the title of the
world’s most isolated Michelin restaurant. 

He plans to return there for a permanent installation, but explains he had always wanted to stretch his gastronomical legs in another territory in the
far north, like Iceland, Greenland or even Svalbard.

He finally chose Ilimanaq, located an hour’s boat trip from Ilulissat, the third-largest town in Greenland and famous for its huge glacier.

Greenland, the world’s largest island, is an autonomous Danish dependent territory.

Local products

“We just found it more suitable, more fun to do something completely different before we move back in our permanent restaurant,” he tells AFP from
his kitchen, set up in a trailer outside the house with the dining area.

With 20 courses, the extensive tasting menu will delight the taste buds for some 2,100 kroner ($280), excluding wine and drinks.

“The menu is exquisite and sends you to the far north and back,” Devid Gualandris, a charmed visitor, tells AFP.

“From the whale bites to the wines, from the freshly caught fish and shellfish to the curated desserts, everything is bursting with flavour.”

While whale meat is a staple food in Greenland and Ziska’s native Faroe Islands, whaling is banned in most of the world and activists have called for
an end to the practice.

A KOKS chef prepares food at the kitchen of the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland, on 28th June 2022.

A KOKS chef prepares food at the kitchen of the restaurant housed in the Poul Egedes House in Ilimanaq, Greenland, on 28th June 2022. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

An unlikely locale for a gourmet restaurant, Ilimanaq — Greenlandic for “place of hope” — is home to a small community living in picturesque wooden
houses, next to hiking trails and more fittingly a luxury hotel, making it an ideal stopover for wealthy tourists seeking to explore new frontiers.

For Ziska, the customers in Greenland are different.

“There are a lot of people for which the number one priority is to visit Greenland and then they come to our restaurant,” he says.

“In the Faroe Islands we had mainly people interested in coming and eating at our restaurant and then obviously also visiting the Faroe Islands,” the
chef explains.

In addition to the adventurers who have already been lured by the Arctic landscape, the Greenlandic Tourist Board hopes the restaurant will also help
attract gourmet travellers.   

People get seated in a restaurant overlooking Disko Bay in Ilulissat, western Greenland, on 30th June, 2022.

People get seated in a restaurant overlooking Disko Bay in Ilulissat, western Greenland, on 30th June, 2022. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

“The unique combination of high-level gastronomy, the inherent sustainability of the North Atlantic cuisine and the characteristic nature and resources of the Disko Bay, speaks to all our senses,” Visit Greenland’s director, Hjortur Smarason, said when announcing the arrival of KOKS.

Accommodation at the Ilimanaq Lodge, the current home of the KOKS restaurant in Ilimanaq, Greenland, where guests can watch whales and floating icebergs in the Disko Bay. Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

A long-overlooked destination, Greenland — an Arctic island territory nine times the size of the UK — welcomed more than 100,000 tourists in 2019, nearly double its population, before Covid cut the momentum.

Smarason said the presence of KOKS “is exactly what we strive for in our effort to reach a certain distinguished kind of guests”.  The restaurant is open between the 12th June and 8th September, 2022 and 2023. 

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