Hey guys. I've got some updates as to what's been going on here in Copenhagen. My first full week of classes has been completed and I'm finally starting to settle down into a routine. Monday and Thursdays I have class starting at 8:30 which means I need to be up at 6 so I can get ready and catch the train into the city while Tuesday and Friday I have class starting at 10 so I can get up a little later. Thankfully, everyone at my school has Wednesday off which we can use to do work or just explore or just be lazy. As for classes, everything is still smooth sailing so nothing to report there. Next week I will be going on the first of my series of study tours. This short study tour will be to Western Denmark in the Jutland region. We're doing a few company visits and a little sightseeing while there. It looks to be pretty exciting and is a good prep for my long tour to Paris later in September/October which I'm getting more and more stoked for.
I'm going to try and chronicle some of the many unique aspects of Danish culture and living in Denmark during my months here, so this time I'm going to go over something that is near and dear to my heart and my stomach - food. Living with a host family has allowed me to experience a nice variety of home cooked meals- some more authentic than others.
Something I've noticed about Danish cooking is that overall it's very bland, especially compared to the food I get at home which is full of herbs, spices, and all sorts of flavourings. Many of the dishes I've had here - roasted chicken, lamb, pasta - are all simple to the point of boring. When I say bland, I don't mean just through the lack of herbs and flavourings, there is also a serious lack of salt in many of the dishes served here. It's nourishing of course but I'm craving some excitement.
Danes also see to eat a lot more lightly than I'm used to back in the USA. Portion sizes are on the smaller size and also are much more protein and vegetable oriented than starch oriented. At least from when I've eaten out and at home, pasta and rice portions, staples of American plates, are tiny in comparison. Bread does play a larger role, especially rye bread which I don't mind but I can see why others might find it more difficult to develop a taste for. At dinner, every night we also have a crudite platter of raw vegetables which is nice, but I miss my cooked veggies and carbs. Each night I end up fourth mealing on cereal to get that extra carb fix.
My host family is pretty international when it comes to their taste in food. Having traveled around the world on multiple occasions, they don't mind the spicy, the sour, and occasionally the bizarre, or so I've been told. When it comes to having me try out traditional Danish dishes however, they find what I feel is a dark glee in trying to feed me specialties like herring and salty licorice. I tried smoked herring in a traditional smørrebrød or open-faced sandwich earlier with week with my host dad. It's served on dark rye bread with minced onion and a raw egg yolk on top. The dish's name - I don't recall right now - is supposed to be along the lines of "Sun rising over some danish town" which the sandwich is named after. We bought the fish whole at a farmer's market for about 23 DKK (Kroner) which isn't too bad (about $4). We had to "peel" and debone the fish before fileting it and serving it one the bread. It was a pretty simple process and I did a solid job according to my host dad for my first time. The taste itself is pretty good - a lot more mild than I expected and also a lot less fishy. I would give it a thumbs up for sure.
|Looks scary, quite delicious|
|Begone foul defiler of tastebuds!|
Eating out in Copenhagen is also something very interesting. Along the Strøget there are a few Chinese restaurants that have something called a "China Box" which is basically a to-go box which you can fill with a mix of dishes like you would from a Panda Express except less glamourous. These little 35 DKK boxes apparantely are the cool thing to eat while walking around but never while sitting, lest you be shunned by the Danes and their Ice Queen glares. The food itself looks like a cheapened version of mall Chinese food, especially since what look like onion rings are considered Chinese here. Apart from the China boxes are your regular assortment of restaurants that you would expect to find in any major city - Micky Ds, Subway, and the like, but also more bakeries per kilometer than anywhere in Europe, except for maybe Paris. What we call danishes are actually called Wienerbrød here and they're freaking delicious. They make the danishes we get back in the US taste like cardboard in comparison. I'll probably gain 20 pounds just from eating those....except not because I've been walking and biking more in a day here than I usually do in a week at home. Danes are all so active it's hard to keep up sometimes. It's probably why everyone here is so skinny. I'm also trying to find a gym near where I live so I can lift while still being able to eat pastries and drink tons of beer, because, y'know, that's just what Danes do.
Alright, I think that covers the basics of Danish food so far. I'll be sure to keep things updated if I get to try anything truly disturbing or good while here. I've been told that Western Denmark has some "fun" delicacies which I will get to try out soon enough. Goody.