The Eating Guide to Oslo, Norway

Norway

Amidst the Norwegian natural landscapes of endless fjords, towering mountains and pristine lakes, lies the vibrant city of Oslo. The capital of Norway is a city that boasts modernity, state of the art infrastructure and chic city dwellers. Despite the fact that it’s in late May, strong winds cutting through the streets is so common that most locals sport a leather jacket. On the other hand, I fear getting swept off my feet whenever I get close to Aker Brygge, the hip area for youngsters. To get warmed up, I escaped into the restaurants to try what the city had to offer.

Look forward to: Fish and seafood

Fiskeriet

IMG_1653_edited

IMG_1654_edited

IMG_1650_edited

Where: Fiskeriet Youngstorget, Youngstorget 2b, 0181 Oslo
What: Fish and chips
For: Seafood lovers

Fiskeriet needs no introduction. Locals frequent this tiny little shop that promises great seafood. Half of the shop is occupied by the fishmonger that sells fresh seafood. The other half is made up of bar counter seats and and a few tables. If you’re looking for a quick bite, swing by this place for their takeaway fish and chips. If you love seafood, all the more you should make a stop at Fiskeriet. The menu is small but is everything you can dream of if you’re a seafood lover. Choose from the classic fish and chips, bacalao or fish soup. For those who are into raw food, sashimi is also available accompanied with a generous helping of bread.

Olivia

IMG_1656_edited

IMG_1651_edited

IMG_1652_edited

Where: Stranden 3, 0250 Oslo, Norway
What: Norwegian Italian food
For: CBD crowd lovers

While you’re admiring the sea views of Aker Brygge, pop into Olivia, Oslo’s version of an Italian restaurant. Despite being a large restaurant, this place was packed since 7 in the evening. A mixture of businessmen having dinner, working women meeting up after work and the sound of wine glasses clinking; the atmosphere at Olivia is a good break away from rural Norway.

The food is a great example of how Italian cuisine can be redefined to suit the Norwegian taste. Spaghetti al Profumo di Mare is a seafood spaghetti with a lemon, buttery cream taste. Another dish to try is the Carpaccio di Tonno, which is a starter of sliced raw tuna topped with sea salt, rockets and olives.

Eating in South Island, New Zealand

New Zealand

The South Island sure lives up to its magical reputation of being one of the most untouched places in the world. Farms are sprawled everywhere and the water runs clean even in the city. Everything is organic right down to that slab of butter you get next to your toasts. Oh yes, butter and toasts, the things great breakfasts are made of. There’s nothing a traveller loves more than wholesome breakfasts, and New Zealanders are certainly brilliant at making just that!

What to expect: Luxurious breakfast spreads

The Grange

IMG_0314_edited

Where: 56 Armagh Street, Central City, Christchurch 8001, New Zealand
What: Pancakes and eggs benedict 
For: Bed and breakfast

One of the best breakfasts I ever had in South Island was while I was staying at The Grange. It’s like waking up to mum cooking breakfast for you. You’re talking about fluffy pancakes with cinnamon and bananas, full English breakfasts and poached eggs on English muffins with hollandaise sauce. Definitely the place to start the day!

Dimitris Greek Food

IMG_9774_edited

Where: 79 Cashel St, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand
What: Gyros and Souvlakia 
For: A Greek alternative

If you ever get tired of New Zealand’s grilled steaks and fish & chips, head to Dimitris Greek Food at the Re:Start Mall. Sold in a food truck, you’ll get drawn by the smell of meat and pita bread on the grill. The portions are massive! Gyros are loaded with meat, tomatoes, vegetables and awesome feta cheese that really adds a little something to this traditional Greek wrap.

The Wrinkly Rams

IMG_9523

IMG_0329_edited

Where: 24-30 Omarama-Twizel Road, Rapid 10, Omarama 9448, New Zealand
What: Wholesome food
For: A breakfast stop 

One of the perks of eating at The Wrinkly Rams is the cute little lambs you get to play with just next to the café. But of course, the hearty breakfast is another reason why you should make a stop here. The classic breakfast was humongous. Toasts came with a selection of spreads such as honey, jam and butter. The salmon scrambled eggs on toast is a great alternative to the regular eggs benedict and English breakfast.

Matheson Café

IMG_0313_edited

Where: Lake Matheson Rd, Fox Glacier 7859, New Zealand
What: Wholesome food
For: A café stop if you’re visiting Lake Matheson

If you’re heading to Lake Matheson or even to the Fox Glacier, swing by Matheson Café for great coffee and food. Like The Wrinkly Rams, Matheson Café serves interesting breakfast options such as grilled pesto mushrooms and salmon bagel benedict.

8 Foodtastic Things to do in Central Japan

Japan

I believe I’m not just speaking for myself when I say I absolutely love Japanese food! Central Japan has one of the most well-preserved Japanese culture in the entire country. Soup is slow cooked on charcoal fire, menus are handwritten, and food is served on plates that look like they are a hundred years old.

If you’re heading to Central Japan, here’s a list to make sure you don’t miss out on any awesome food!

1. Taste the real wasabi at a wasabi farm

IMG_5485_edited

Nagano is one of the few places that can cultivate wasabi. Wasabi cultivation is a highly complex matter. Most places don’t even serve the real wasabi due to the high price of such a rare plant. If you want to have a taste of the real thing, head to a wasabi farm.

Daio Wasabi Farm in Matsumoto accepts visitors. This might sound a little gimmicky but they sell all kinds of wasabi food such as wasabi ice cream and wasabi croquette.

2. Splurge on a kaiseki meal

IMG_5370_edited

Well, this can be said for anywhere else in Japan. Kaiseki is the Japanese idea of fine dining. It usually takes an hour to enjoy the full course meal. Menus are entirely up to the chef’s discretion and are seasonal. Part of the joy of having a kaiseki meal is feasting your eyes on the delicate food arrangements. If you are into food photography, you’ll be snapping away like mad! Kaiseki meals can be enjoyed at ryokans or specialised restaurants.

3. Have sashimi for breakfast

IMG_5384_edited

I know, this sounds a tad adventurous for the tamed stomach. I can’t say I wasn’t surprised to see sashimi served for breakfast while I was on a trip there. The Japanese sure love their raw food any time of the day.

4. Indulge in Hida beef

IMG_5526_edited

If you are a wagyu beef connoisseur, you would have heard of Hida beef. If you haven’t, doesn’t matter, I’ll fill you in on the juicy details. There are many grades when it comes to Japanese beef. I won’t bore you with the technical details. This prized beef basically needs to meet grade A or B to be certified as Hida beef. If you are a meat lover and you are in the Gifu Prefecture, you have to try this! I won’t say it comes cheap, but hey, we live to eat right?

5. Snack on street food at a festival

IMG_0331_edited

The people in Central Japan loves their local festivals. One of the things you can’t miss in a festival is the local street food. These finger food are so amazing, you will end up going for seconds. Skewers, also known as kushiyaki, are often sold. You can even have a taste of Hida beef on these skewers!

6. Try hoba miso

IMG_5628_edited

No, this is not like the miso soup you have been drinking. Hoba miso is a speciality of Takayama, and I hardly see this anywhere else in Japan. It tastes a little sweeter than regular miso, and is often roasted on a leaf with other ingredients such as vegetables or mushrooms.

7. Eat anything red bean

IMG_5637_edited

The Japanese loves red bean. There are many variations of this dessert, and can be served with green tea, rice cakes or even ice cream. This delicate dessert can be found almost anywhere in Central Japan. You are bound to find it in one of the traditional wooden shops that are everywhere!

8. Enjoy handmade soba

IMG_5625_edited

Handmade soba might seem like nothing special in Japan, but Nagano is home to Shinshū soba. This unique soba contains two parts wheat and 8 parts buckwheat. The proportion of ingredients gives the soba a nice texture and makes it healthy too!