So apparently the Swedes love their hotdogs. And with no shortage of hotdog stands to be found in Gothenburg, I was in hotdog heaven. First stop was GourmetKorv, a hole-in-wall eatery frequented by locals where I sampled the “Tjockis” (which means fatso in English!): a gourmet sausage served with scoops of mashed potato, coleslaw and a red pepper relish, all topped with fried onions and the tastiest piece of garlic bread you can imagine. No wonder there’s always a queue here.
GourmetKorv: Magasinsgatan 17, gourmetkorv.se
I’d never tried herring before, but the highly recommended food truck Strömmingsluckan, located in a small square in the heart of Gothenburg’s shopping district, seemed as good a place as any to try the traditional Scandinavian dish. Served with homemade mashed potatoes and lingonberries, this fried herring was delicious. The crispy fish and creamy potato with the chunky berry sauce was beautifully presented, and was the perfect combination of tastes and textures on a plate.
Strömmingsluckan: Magasinsgatan 17, strommingsluckan.se
Coffee & Cake
It’s hard not to embrace a local custom that is essentially stopping for coffee and cake. Fika is the Swedish practice of taking a coffee break accompanied by a pastry, traditionally a cinnamon bun. So in the spirit or cultural immersion we made an afternoon visit to Café Husaren for one of their famous hagabullen, plate-size cinnamon buns. It was quite literally the size of a large dinner plate! As we struggled to get through a single pastry between the two of us, we watched as fashionable locals easily devoured the giant buns on their own.
Café Husaren, Haga Nygata 28; cafehusaren.se
The cold Gothenburg weather was the perfect excuse to make another late afternoon café stop, this time for a hot chocolate at Café Kanold, a chocolate café and Gothenburg institution that produces their own chocolates. The hot milk chocolate topped with chili flakes was a surprising variation which my taste buds loved.
Café Kanold: Västra Hamngatan 24, flickornakanold.com
No trip to Sweden would be complete without sampling Swedish meatballs. I couldn’t resist the famous meatballs at Smaka restaurant, known for its Swedish home cooking. Served with mashed potatoes and sweet gravy, with lingonberries and pickled cucumber served on the side, this dish was a far cry from the Ikea variety! I upgraded to the XL version and received a second helping of meatballs.
I opted for a different Swedish classic, also a house special at Smaka: the potato and fish gratin. The rich dish, filled with large portions of three kinds of fish as well as scallops and mussels, was generous, creamy and pretty darned delicious. It was so enjoyable I didn’t even suffer from meatball envy!
Smaka Restaurant: Vasaplatsen 3; smaka.se
Max Cheese Fries
The airport departures hall presented a last chance to get my Swedish fast food fix so I was excited to see Max, Sweden’s original hamburger restaurant chain. The cheese fries were the highlight here: crispy fried strings of potato covered in melted cheese, diced red onion and jalepeno peppers. Gothenburg had won my heart with its culinary delights!
Max Hamburger Restaurant: maxburgers.com