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Sweden

hot dawg.

to be honest, my impression of danish food wasn’t too good for a long while – associating the food with semi-raw herring and dry salmon. then came rene redzepi and noma, which piqued my interest as to what local danish food could offer. and boy, i was so willing to spend 400euro for a meal at the best restaurant in the world for 3 years running but alas, even with a two month advance notice, everything was booked up.

there must be quite a lot of foodies and/or rich people in the world eh?

well nevertheless, i was determined to have a taste of copenhagen’s food culture – and well, it wasn’t too difficult to do so actually at a fraction of noma’s price. copenhagen’s food culture seems to be one focused on appreciating what the environment has to offer and to put healthy, good food in your body. which to be honest, is a pretty darn good food philosophy to live by.

case in point: you don’t see much oily, fried foods around the area – most of those are accounted by kebab stores and greasy chinese take-out. copenhagen food seems to focus quite abit on the freshness of produce, having many fruits and vegetables to offer. even the seven eleven is stocked full with fruit smoothies, vitamin water and (healthy looking, protein filled) teriyaki chicken skewers.

so of course, one the cheapest and easily accessible food product is the hot dog, what with all the hot dog stands around. I recommend dop, easily found right next to the Round Tower which improves on the simple hot dog by using organic sausages on a sourdough linseed bun (see picture above). the result? a hot dog that is delicious and yet kinda healthy. kinda. the bread is crisp and sweet whilst the sausage hella juicy. yumm.

another  favourite is aaman‘s smorrebrod (open-faced sandwiches), which (once again) serves healthy-feeling, delicious open-faced sandwiches topped with a assortment of toppings. come here for lunch, by the way, cos they don’t serve the smorrebrod for dinner. the waitress (speaking perfect english and pretty, of course) recommended me getting two to three smorrebrods for lunch (which ain’t exactly cheap) and also recommended a really refreshing juice made of elderflower and lemon. i highly recommend the drink, to be honest, because it’s superbly refreshing and the elderflower is a fragrant, subtly sweet addition.

food wise, you have to get the sirloin beef, remoulade and fried onion rings (see right). the remoulade sauce is to die for, just the right amount of tanginess and sweetness and accents the beef perfectly. and well, you can’t go wrong with onion rings.

desserts anyone? try the delicious danish pastries from any local bakery, especially the snegle (snail), which is a gigantic cinnamon pastry with glaze on top. it’s really good and (need i say it?) yet again, it doesn’t ever get jelak make you feel guilty. it’s something in the air man… their coffees at cafes are surprisingly good as well (this coming from a guy living in Rome now)

for a more unhealthy, American option there’s Agnes cupcakes which is a really artfully designed, beautiful cafe with yummy, interesting looking cupcakes. i got the carrot cake cupcake one day, and a chocolate indulgence cupcake (see above) the next. and to be honest, this was the only meal i felt kinda guilty of and i could actually feel the sugar that i was ingesting down. tsk tsk.. Americans..

i want to return to Copenhagen. for noma. =(

dop | 52a kobmagergade, copenhagen | hot dogs

aamans | 10 oster farismagsgade, copenhagen | smorrebrod

agnes cupcakes | svaertegade 2, copenhagen | cupcakes

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up and coming.

guys, im officially really exhausted from all this travelling, switching of times and weather. my current body is singing the tunes of simple plan’s “jet lag”. doesn’t help that there’s gonna be race tomorrow (first time for me). so well.. enriching life eh? =)

anyways, i chanced upon this really sleek, cool cafe joint at the check-in lounge in copenhagen airport and was instantly attracted to the concept and execution methods and in my mind, the words “franchise” flashed past. joe & the juice as i so happened to read from monocle a little while later, is a danish concept cafe that aims to use starbucks methods to sell fruit juices and sandwiches with a heavy slant toward sensible, healthy eating. and this is such the in thing nowadays. sales would fly if we cite the shop right at the CBD area for those young execs intent to starving themselves thin.

ok let’s describe this place. decor-wise, this place has a sleek, modern, industrial feel, with granite slabs and simple, minimalist black tables and counters. this industrial feel is spiced up by eccentric furniture including plastic armchairs, a largely oversized plastic white chandelier and the likes. smooth lounge music completes this trifecta of tasteful design that creates a hip, youthful environment.

drinks-wise, one mainly orders fruit juices, with quirky names labeling combination of fruits and sold at 38/50 DKK for medium/large. (if you think about it, this is actually quite pricey, considering that 50 DKK roughly translates to more than $10! and then start thinking how singaporean fruit stalls at hawker centres charge like a third of the price -_-) there are smoothies and coffee as well to cover most of the breakfast drinks, and then for food, the place serves healthy-minded sandwiches. most of the sandwiches have avocado in them, and are clasped in toasted, thin rye bread (i think). it’s simple but very very filling but well.. taste-wise, it’s a little underwhelming. it doesn’t feel refreshingly healthy nor interestingly tasty, but its passable.

tunacado sandwich, 48DKK (tuna with dill and onion + avocado) along with immunity (red grapefruit, passionfruit & apple), 50 DKK

service-wise.. this place wins again. hiring young, trendy, good-looking servers that are genuinely friendly and charismatic, these servers make you want to be like them. they recorded your name just like starbucks and called you when your order was ready. but what was surprising was that when i was done with my meal and was about to leave, a serve nearby actually said “have a great flight, frank!”

count me impressed.

i think the key thing to takeaway here is that branding, branding, branding is key. jones & the juices serves pretty pedestrian food at quite pricey rates, but people still come — they come because this places makes them feel like they are making a conscious healthy choice. ain’t that what’s important? so yeah.. someone with money, come collaborate with me leh.. i’ve written down my business ideas to market and brand a similar concept to bring to singapore. =)

hmm.. or maybe there are such places already… anyways, when you’re transiting through copenhagen airport, drop by and soak up the ambience of the place.

view of fisktorget, karlskrona

fisktorget is the swedish word for fish market, but guess there’s no crowd for a market now eh?

what a difference a few months make. i kinda yearn for the sunny warmth that embraced the lands when i was here in august — the warmth inviting you to head out for a run, or to sit among the rugged rocks along the coast and just think. it’s inconceivable now unfortunately, with temperatures hovering around the 5s – 10s, and all you want to do is grab some hot chocolate and snuggle in your bed.

kind of annoyed that i seem to be on the verge of plunging into another bout of cold/flu. it’s like that annual go-overseas-fall-sick routine that started last year during my birthday. -_- there’s really nothing worse than falling sick overseas, what with the sudden craving for hot chinese soup and lo-han-guo drink (that of course goes unsatisfied) and just the aversion of heading outdoors into the cold.

something in me just yearns to head home this time. i don’t know why.

bratwurst set (includes drink), 6.80 euro

so i’m back on my traveling legs again, this time round only for a short duration though. traveling on work trips always makes me feel like traveling on my own trips to far flung exotic locales as I browse through krisflyer magazines and the likes and see all these wondrous pictures and locations that have been captured and duly documented.

anyways, got this bratwurst set during the long sojourn today, despite the obvious overprice simply because there wasn’t much of an alternative, and I kind of missed the bratwursts i had in reykjavik, iceland and currywursts in munich. but alas i shouldnt have put too much expectations on common airport snack-food, even at a norwegian airport. the sausage was decent and juicy, but the proportion of the condiments somehow just didn’t make the dish come together — the mustard dominated the entire dish, overpowering the fried onions or the chilli sauce completely. which is kinda sad. =(

i miss my cheap, by-the-cold-seaside-reykjavik bratwursts that would compel us to troop out in the cold night just for this simple and yet tantalizing comfort food. oh yah, and the lobster bisque. mmm.. memories..