Leaving Italy behind (and together with the delicious pizzas, pastas and gelatos), we now head to a beautiful Scandinavian country - Denmark!
If we had visited Denmark a few years back like during our 42-day Europe trip, we would most likely just "touch" the capital, Copenhagen, then head off to another country. Maybe it's a thing with age, but as I grew older, I don't want to travel like this anymore - rushing from place to place on a tight schedule without being able to immerse ourselves in the place and in the culture. I want to slow down and soak in the views, the people and the food. So this time, we devoted a whole week to Denmark (which actually is still not enough to see everything), exploring not just the capital, but also a few cities that most tourists won't visit.
Denmark consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 names islands, of which 70 are inhabited. Copenhagen, the capital which is located on one of the islands named Zealand, is our first and last stop for the trip. And instead of doing a day-by-day travelogue for Copenhagen, I've split it into 2 posts - a what-to-eat post (and I'll tell you where to eat them too!) and a what-to-do post, so that it's much easier for future travellers! And without further ado, here we go!
Snegl, which means "snail" in Danish, is a Danish spiral bread (now you know why it's called snegl) packed full of cinnamon and butter, and usually topped with icing sugar. There are different variations for this classic pastry - some with chocolate, some no cinnamon, some no icing, some with icing... so you can be sure that you will find something that suit your palette.
2 bakers, Ole Kristoffersen and Steen Skallebaek, ran their own bakeries through the 1990s, then joined forces in 2008 to open Lagkagehuset, which means "The Cake House". Today, it is a popular bakery chain in Denmark with more than 30 outlets and is consistently rated as one of the top bakeries in Copenhagen for their - you guessed it - snegl!
Even if snegl isn't your thing, Lagkagehuset has many other pastires and sandwiches to offer. We visited Lagkagehuset on the first day and only got the snegl as we wanted to save our stomach space for other food and unfortunately, we didn't manage to try anything else from there after that.
The bread had a lightly crisp exterior, and when I bit into it, it revealed a soft and chewy interior. Paired with a generous amount of buttery cinnamon sugar, it's the perfect breakfast food for me! The plain icing on top is a tad too sweet for me and I'd be happier if it's not there or if it's a chocolate icing instead.
Damage: DKK 18 for 1 snegl
For the full list of outlets and their operating hours, click here (in Danish).
On Day2 morning, I was looking for a pastry and a coffee to start the day and despite passing by several cafés, none caught my eye until we passed by Meyers Bageri (Meyers Bakery). How can you not go in when the rack of fresh bread is just screaming at you to go in?
Claus Meyer, an entrepreneur, professional and celebrity chef and a cookbook author, founded various Meyer food companies since 1989, from catering to deli to cooking school to bakeries to producing their own Meyer products... which is quite an amazing feat he achieved in less than 30 years!
If you are a fan of all things organic, this bakery is for you. Most of their bakes (I'd like to say all, but I cannot confirm) are made with their own brand's organic flour and other organic ingredients. The bakery offers a wide array of bread, but we didn't get the snegl this time round. Instead, we got a crispy braided bread that is covered with poppy seeds, sesame seeds and parmesan cheese. The bakery also offers their own brand's organic flour and other products, bottled juices but not coffee - then again, not to worry, we passed by a Meyers Deli just one block down with a takeaway counter to satisfy my coffee needs!
In the evening after 5 p.m., you can also head to the bakery for some pizza, with their pizza dough made from their own organic flour. We ordered the Kartoffel & røg (which means "Potato and Smoke") on our last day in Denmark, an extremely delicious and cheesy pizza topped with slices of potatoes, bacon, mozzarella and scamorza. Yum!
Just a block down from the Meyers Bakery is the Meyers Deli, where they offer pastries too, and other fine dining choices. There's also a takeaway counter, where I happily ordered my coffee.
Damage: Coffee DKK 40; Pastry DKK 20; Pizza DKK 85
Gl. Kongevej 103, 1850 Frederiksberg
Daily 0700 - 2100
(Pizzas available only after 1700)
Gl. Kongevej 107, 1850 Frederiksberg
Daily 0800 - 2200
For full list of outlets and their operating hours, click here.
2) The Danish Pølsevogn
Hot dogs are ever so popular in Denmark - not only with tourists but also with locals and it's easy to understand why - it's cheap (by Danish standards), it's pretty filling (if not you can just eat 2 of them at one go) and it's freakin' delicious.
These delicious hot dogs are sold in restaurants-on-wheels (known as pølsevogne) throughout Copenhagen - it's impossible to miss them! Apparently in the golden days of pølsevogne, there were more than a thousand of them in Copenhagen - today it's just under a hundred of them left.
To be honest both X and I refrain from eating hot dogs as they are known to be unhealthy - heavily processed food, high amount of salts, unknown meat fillers, preservatives and flavourings... but I guess when you are on a holiday, you just don't care anymore haha.
And here's our hotdog - the classic ristet hotdog. The soft bun encases a tender sausage, which is smothered with remoulade, mustard and ketchup, then topped with fresh raw onions, deep-fried onions and pickled cucumber slices. The remoulade and deep-fried onion, in my opinion, makes all the difference - you must make sure to never omit them when you order your hotdog! The bestseller no. 2, which is a fransk hotdog, is not a good one to me at all as the sausage is stuffed inside the bun without any of those toppings - and while it's easier to eat, it lacks the unique taste that only the fried onions and pickled cucumber can offer.
And the above has no address - seriously these hot dog stands are everywhere, so just give them a try when you are itching for a bite!
Damage: DKK 25 to DKK 30 for the classic ristet hotdog
But this hot dog stand, however, is a different story.
Den Økologiske Pølsemand, known as "The Organic Hodog Man", or Døp for short, reinvents the simple hotdog by using only organic ingredients (apparently organic stuff is the rage among Danes too), with most of the sausages gluten-free and the buns made from slow-fermented sourdough. If you don't like the bun, you can swap it for a potato and parsnip mash. And if you are vegan, they have (ta-dah!) the Vegetarpølse, a vegetarian sausage for you!
The hotdog stands are located in central Copenhagen, with the one at Round Tower smacked right in the shopping district - great to grab a bite after the busy shopping (or while your partner is shopping heh).
The menu and the extremely busy staff
We got ourselves the classic ristet hotdog with ostepølse (cheese sausage). With a heftier price tag, the Døp hotdog definitely has more substance than the rest - bigger sausage and generous toppings in a delicious, lightly toasted bun. The queue was quite horrendous, but mainly because there was a tour group in front of us and they took way too long to decide what they wanted. Go for a bite, and let me know what you think!
Damage: DKK 39 for 1 hotdog
DØP (Round Tower)
Købmagergade 52, 1150 København K
Mon - Sat 1100 - 1815
DØP (Church of the Holy Ghost)
Amagertorv 31 1160 København K
Mon - Sat 1100 - 1815
Sandwich-eating in Denmark is a very fancy affair. The Danish sandwich, known as the smørrebrød, is an open-faced sandwich - i.e. a piece of bread, topping, garnish and that's that. But it's not that simple - the bread is usually a buttered dark rugbrød (a Danish specialty which is a dense and dark brown rye bread), thinly sliced into squares / rectangles. The toppings can be cold cuts, fish fillets, cured herrings, scrambled eggs, sunny side eggs, shrimp salads (and the list goes on) and they are not simply slapped onto the bread - they are carefully lay on top of the bread. The garnish can be a thin slice of lemon, chopped chives, fried onions (and the list goes on again). All these create a visually appealing treat - in short, it's an art piece, and a very delicious one!
On our last day in Denmark, we purposely made a trip to "hunt down" Rita's Smørrebrød - a small, authentic and budget-friendly smørrebrød café that many locals frequent. Apparently most locals make their own smørrebrød at home, so those that we often see at restaurants are actually "touristy" ones.
Most people eat 4 to 6 pieces of smørrebrød to satisfy their tummy, but as usual, we only ordered 3 to share between X and I so that we have space to stuff more food later on. Each piece is simple and delicious, and they cost only DKK 12 each, which is really cheap! I love how it's small as I can try out different combinations without feeling overly stuffed (especially those anchovies, liverpaste, smoked mackeral!) Do go early if possible as they close at 2 p.m. and by then not much choices will be left.
Damage: DKK 36 for 3 smørrebrød
Fælledvej 11, 2200 København, Danmark
Mon - Fri 0700 - 1400
Aamanns is a highly-rated restaurant known for putting a modern twist on the classic smørrebrød. When I saw its menu online, I couldn't decide if we should try it as the prices are really expensive. Look at the menu below and you'll know what I mean.
With each smørrebrød priced 12 times more than those at Rita's, we couldn't order whatever we want (well they don't have much to choose from in the first place anyway) and we opted to takeaway to save ourselves a bit of money.
I have to say the presentation of the food itself is much better than how it tastes. The smørrebrød were piled so high that we found it hard to eat all the components in one bite - the components just fall apart and onto the box as we cut into it. And these 2 sandwiches feel like nothing in our stomachs - I guess each person will have to eat at least 2 smørrebrød in order to feel full. Granted, the ingredients looked more "high-class" and more effort is put into creating the individual components (I especially like the freshly deep-fried onion), but for the price tag, I don't think it's very worth it.
Damage: DKK 120 for 2 smørrebrød
Aamanns Deli & Take Away
Øster Farimagsgade 10 DK-2100 København Ø
Mon - Fri 1100 - 2000
Sat 1100 - 1630
Sun & holidays 1200 - 1630
With Copenhagen founded as a fishing village in the 10th century, it's no wonder that seafood is a huge staple in Denmark cuisine. We didn't have a lot of time to visit all of the seafood restaurants in Copenhagen, so the one I chose to go was Kødbyens Fiskebar, which serves seasonal fare, offering a ton of fresh raw and cooked fish dishes.
We reached the place at around 3 p.m. and was lucky to be able to catch the last order for lunch. Apparently they close from 4 to 5.30 p.m. for break, but you could still order drinks during the 1.5-hour break.
We started off with some oysters - now, I'm not an oyster fanatic so I have no idea if they are good or not. But X said they are fresh, so I guess they are pretty good. I liked the apple cider vinegar and cucumber relish that was served together with the oysters.
I cannot remember what the mussels were steamed in, but I remembered tasting lemongrass in the sauce, which imparted a Thai-feel to the mussels. The mussels are pretty small but the portion is pretty huge. We hadn't had mussels for a really long time so we couldn't wait to dig in!
Hake was a highly recommended choice when I was doing my research on what to eat at Kødbyens, so I was really suprised when the hake served to us was really small. The pan-fried hake is fresh and the horseradish sauce is delicious, but I still couldn't help finding it a tad not worth the price tag.
Damage: DKK 500 (3 dishes + 2 glasses of wine)
Flæsketorvet 100, 1711 København, Denmark
Mon - Thu 1730 - 0000
Fri 1730 - 0200
Sat 1130 - 0200
Sun 1130 - 0000
On Saturdays and Sundays, the kitchen is closed from 4 p.m. to 5.30 p.m., you can only order drinks during this period.
5) Ice Cream
Well I'm not sure if Copenhagen is known for its ice cream, but we happened to pass by this ice cream shop (and chocolatier) on our way to Frederiksberg Garden and being a I'll-eat-as-much-as-I-can-when-I'm-on-holiday kind of person, I pulled X in for a look.
I opted for a 2-scoop ice cream, with the chocolate for me and the sorbet flavour for X. And dipping the cone into melted chocolate is free too!
Damage: DKK 32
Frederiksberg Alle 64, 1820 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
Oct - Mar: Daily 1000 - 1800
Mar - Sep: Daily 1000 - 2100
Website (in Danish)
6) Copenhagen Street Food
Technically this is not a food, it's actually a lot of food in one place! Copenhagen Street Food, located on Papirøen (known as Paper Island), is Copenhagen's first and only street food market. There are many small food trucks inside this giant warehouse-loPloking building offering food from all over the world -and you can enjoy it indoors or outside in the sun overlooking Copenhagen's waterfront.
As it was recommended by our AirBnB host, we made a detour to go there on Day1, and as it was a Friday, it was bustling with people both inside and outside the place.
We couldn't possibly try everything in the Copenhagen Street Food (there were too many stalls) and after the disappointing burger, the churrasco and a pint of beer, we were absolutely stuffed - I guess it could be a hit and miss with the food.
Damage: Burger DKK 95; Churrasco DKK 100; Beer DKK 50;
Copenhagen Street Food
PapirØen (The Paper Island), Trangravsvej 14, Warehouse ⅞
Opening hours vary by the season, so check it out here.
And that's all for Copenhagen's food trail! I've embed a map of the food places we've been to - you can export it out and import it to your own map to add more places that you are planning to go. Are there any other Danish food that you've tried and love? Do share it with me and the other readers! And stay tuned for the next travelogue!