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Eat: if you see shrimp on the menu in Norway, order them. But not before you've read this.

The Norwegians possess a profound affinity for all that emerges from the sea: crabs, cod, and more. This predilection is hardly surprising when one considers that the world's finest fishing waters lie just off the coast of Norway. Especially near Senja's shores, the fish almost leap into your lap (slight exaggeration, but not by much). If you're a seafood enthusiast or enjoy angling for it, I recommend perusing my earlier article on Senja. Nevertheless, I digress slightly.

A firm favorite among Norwegians, shrimp grace the menus of many a quaint eatery and seafood restaurant. Even on private terraces, boats, or piers, they constitute a customary ritual throughout the summer. However, this can occasionally bewilder tourists. You expect to order a shrimp dish, and you receive a mound of unpeeled shrimp, a few slices of bread, some mayonnaise, and a couple of lemon wedges. But once you're in the know, it all becomes clear. Picture a sun-drenched day in July. You're seated at a seaside terrace, with an ice-cold beer or a glass of Riesling in front of you, indulging in colossal, freshly-caught shrimp. There's truly nothing better in that moment. But how to eat to eat shrimp in Norway? That's what I'm about to tell you and prepare you to not be caught off guard when that platter of unpealed shrimp is placed before you.


So, you might wonder, how does one proceed? Firstly, take a slice of bread and spread it with a touch of mayonnaise or aioli, as per your preference. Add a pinch of pepper to taste. Then, embark on the delicate task of peeling the shrimp. Begin by pressing with two fingers just behind the head; once it detaches, place it in a dish for the shells. Next, start at the belly of the shrimp and gently remove the remaining shell. Repeat this process about 15 times until your bread slice is generously adorned. Sprinkle a bit of lemon over it, order another glass of wine, and you're ready to enjoy your meal.


Shrimp often grace the menus of many simpler eateries and brasseries, but there's no need to limit yourself to restaurants. What's even more enjoyable is purchasing shrimp on your own, preferably directly from a fisherman. This is often possible in smaller coastal towns. It may not be prominently advertised, but inquire with a local Norwegian, and you'll likely receive an excellent tip on which fisherman is arriving at the harbor and whether they've caught any shrimp. There are even entire WhatsApp and Telegram groups where nearly the entire village is a member of, sharing announcements of available fish or shrimp. If all of this sounds too complex, you can always buy individual shrimp. For two hearty eaters, a kilogram is often more than sufficient. Just be sure to choose fresh, not frozen shrimp.


So, if you see shrimp on the menu in Norway, order them. This summer for example, I found myself in Narvik, a town not particularly renowned for its culinary culture. However, it boasts a "fiskehallen" (fish market) where you can truly acquire the very best shrimp. There's also an adjacent seafood restaurant that is absolutely worth a visit. If you find yourself in Narvik, make it your lunch destination—you won't regret it.


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