What Is Nordic Street Food?

At a recent Brooklyn Brewery event, we got the lowdown on pølser, smørrebrød and more.

Magnus Nilsson and Rene Redzepi have helped bring fine Nordic cuisine to the culinary forefront, but what does casual Scandinavian food look like? And more importantly, where can you get it in New York? On November 4, we teamed up with Bröd Kitchen, Revolving Dansk and UNNA Bakery to host “How to Prepare a Nordic Feast” at the Brooklyn Brewery. Rekorderling was also a partner, and provided cider for the evening.

Husband/wife duo Martin and Sera Høedholt founded Revolving Dansk and started making Danish hot dogs, or pølse in 2013, and demonstrated the best way to prepare and top their Copenhagen Street Dogs. Their red, smoky røde pølser and brown, savory grillpølser bear considerable resemblance to what you’d find on the streets of Copenhagen, right down to the pickles, fried and fresh onions, ketchup/mustard/mayo combo and natural-casing snap. They make theirs using pasture-raised pork from upstate.

Monette de Botton, creative director of Bröd Kitchen on the Upper East Side, prepared a few of their own variations on smorrebrod, the traditional Danish open-faced rye sandwich, featuring different combinations of salmon, roast beef, cornichons, lemon (not all on the same sandwich, of course). De Botton also invited a member of the crowd to make her own smorrebrod, opting to use tomato, shrimp, dill and egg salad.

To finish off the demos, Ulrika Pettersson, UNNA Bakery’s founder, talked about the importance of baking and fika (coffee break) in Swedish culinary culture, and brought butter cookies to boot. Pettersson, who grew up in northern Sweden and moved to Brooklyn from Stockholm five years ago, discussed the history of kafferep, the Swedish-style, late afternoon “high-coffee” meal where women would meet and chat. “Some say that this may have been the start of the Swedish women’s rights movement,” she added. Also of note, “Swedish Cakes and Cookes,” the seminal 1945 text on Swedish baking, was at one time the number two best selling book in the country, only behind the Bible.

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Ben Jay

Ben Jay is a freelance journalist and photographer. In addition to Edible, he’s also contributed to WNYC’s The Leonard Lopate Show, Gothamist, Deadspin, the Village Voice, and more. His hobbies include dark beer and brisket.