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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Explore Norwegian Culture Through the Lens of Seafood

Norway is known for its breathtaking scenery of fjords and mesmerizing Northern lights. It is a country with a 2,650-kilometer coastline and century-old fishing culture built on people, nature, and sustainability.

This Nordic country is among the top 10 happiest countries in the world having life expectancy at 83.21 years (2020)[1] faring above global average, a high GDP per capita, good ‘social support’ in healthcare, welfare systems and equality, and ‘freedom to make life choices.

Norwegians like to spend time in nature. Hiking is their favorite pastime, along with skiing and biking despite the cold weather. Most people are outdoorsy and live a very active lifestyle which greatly benefits their physical and mental wellbeing. When they are not in nature, they usually gather around the dining table to enjoy a diet rich in nutrition[3] and socialize with their friends and family. It is no doubt that Norwegian culture revolves around food; particularly, seafood. This seafood nation grew from pioneering Atlantic Cod fisheries, the most important species responsible for the settlement along the coasts, to the world’s beloved Atlantic Salmon.

A lot of quality ingredients are made available in Norway. Fish, vegetables, and daily products are fresh and produced under high standard which is why Norwegians love to prepare and cook food. They don’t eat out as much as the living cost is quite high and when the weather is cold, they prefer to stay in the warmth of their own home. Hence, Norwegians make their home cozy and spacious so they can invite even up to 30 people at time for a meal! All the rooms are nicely decorated with a lot of chairs and sofas for people to sit on, silverware on display, and natural lighting. Grandchildren who may have moved out of town to work or travel overseas come back to visit to tell the stories of their adventures to their grandparents. It is hard to feel lonely when all the family members love to hang out eating delicious food.

Yaya – Urassaya Sperbund, a Thai-Norwegian actress and the first Seafood from Norway presenter in Thailand, had a chance to visit Lofoten Islands in Norway and experienced the local culture through a seafood journey. She was welcomed to the home of Aunt Tone Rørtveit, a village’s teacher who is well loved by the people, and savored a home-cooked seafood meal one autumn afternoon. The hand-written menu was laid out by the fireplace listing out mouth-watering dishes such as Smoked Salmon with Scrambled Eggs; Mackerel or Norwegian Saba in Tomato, Rye Bread, and Cucumber; Potato Waffle, Smoked Cod Roe, Sour Cream, Dill, and Onions; and Fishcakes with Carrot Salad, and Remoulade.

Yaya – Urassaya Sperbund shared her feeling about the meal at Aunt Tone’s, “This meal reminds me of my grandma and it makes me feel really emotional. My grandma also likes to cook for everyone and we would gather around the table to write a menu card and this mini tag on each dish, just like Aunt Tone did here, drinking citrus water, talking and laughing together. I find that Thais and Norwegians share similarities when it comes to family and food. This is where we spend our quality time bonding and eating delicious meal and I am so happy to get to experience this every time I visit Norway.”

Late last year, Yaya – Urassaya, together with the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC), has launched ‘The Story from the North’ campaign to share stories of people, nature, and sustainability from Norway. Seafood such as Salmon, Fjord Trout, and Norwegian Saba have gained popularity among Thais but very few know that they are from Norway. A 2:40-minute long video was released to show Norway through the eye of Yaya – Urassaya who embarked on a journey, from reuniting with her family, cooking Thai dishes with Chef Terje Ommundsen in Oslo, witnessing the sustainability and advanced technology of traditional and ocean Salmon farms in Vesterålen, hiking the mountains of Lofoten, hunting the magical Northern light, to having many heart-warming moments with local people she encountered along the way.

Norway was the country that introduced Salmon Sushi, the most famous Japanese dish, to the world[4]. This was done under Project Japan more than 30 years ago. Today, this beloved ingredient like Salmon has become a part of many cuisines around the world due to its versatile texture and taste. One can say that Salmon is the food ambassador of Norway that inspires the ‘East meets West’ cooking style. In Thai dishes, Norwegian Salmon can soak up the flavors really well while still giving that fresh and juicy feeling. Popular dishes include Thai Spicy Salmon Salad and Grilled Salmon with Pomelo Salad. The two countries, Thailand and Norway, certainly share their love of food deeply ingrained in their culture that bond the people together.

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