Crowning the top of the world, the Arctic Circle is known for many things, from breathtaking icy glaciers and untamed wilds to wallowing seals and powerful polar bears.
Perhaps one thing many people don’t consider is the cuisine that is characteristic of this region. However, there’s no better way to gain insight into the daily lives of those who live here than by learning about – and maybe sampling – some of the food consumed by the locals.
Here are some of the foods eaten throughout the Arctic.
A traditional type of Norwegian stew, you’ll find this dish both on mainland Norway as well as the Svalbard archipelago. Made with meat (usually beef), potatoes and other vegetables, this thick stew is the ultimate comforting dish on an icy Arctic day.
These delicious waffles are a favourite sweet treat in both mainland Norway and Svalbard, often made in the shape of a heart and served with jam.
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Commonly eaten in Greenland, reindeer is one of the game meats enjoyed by the locals, alongside smaller game such as snow hares and ptarmigan bird.
These large crustaceans are commonly found in west Greenland, and have a bright orange outer shell with a subtly flavoured white meat.
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The Arctic region relies on the bounty of the ocean for many of its culinary staples. As such seifilet fersks (which translates to ‘fresh fish filets’) such as pollock, salmon, haddock and mackerel and can be steamed, grilled, poached or cured – the options are almost endless.
These tasty meatballs, also known as kjøttkakers, are another hearty Arctic dish you’ll find in Svalbard.
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Found throughout Sweden and Arctic Norway, Polarbröd is inspired by traditional flatbread, and is a staple accompaniment to many meals in the Arctic.
Translating roughly to ‘stockfish’, tørrfisk is a type of dried cod that has been eaten since the days of the Vikings. The fish is dried in the open air on racks called stocks, before being stored inside to mature for up to 12 months.
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Considered the national dish of Greenland, suaasat is a soup that is traditionally made from various meats such as seabird, seal, venison, reindeer and even whale meat. This hearty soup often contains potato and onion, as well as rice.
Longyearbyen, the icy capital of Spitsbergen, hardly seems like the place you’d find locally-brewed beer, but the locals have managed to rise to the challenge, resulting in the world’s northernmost beer being brewed in 2015. Using glacial water, the range of beers from Svalbard Brewery are a great accompaniment to a hearty Arctic meal.
Read more: Top 10 things to see on a Spitsbergen cruise
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If you’ve been dreaming about glistening glaciers, tranquil fjords and the unique wildlife, there’s no time like the present to set out on your very own Arctic adventure.
Choose from our range of voyages in the European Arctic, visiting Greenland, Norway and Svalbard, all the while accompanied by your expert guides. To learn more, take a look at our brochures online.