Norway Ranked As The World’s Worst Cuisine By TasteAtlas

TasteAtlas has recently published their “World’s Best Cuisine” awards for 2022, and has scored Norwegian cuisine to be the worst ranked national cuisine of all the 95 participating countries!

The rank was made on the basis of user feedback, user ratings, professional food blogger’s and critiques feedback, and scores from a wide selection of dishes from each country in the world. Norway took the last place, just a tad lower than Moroccan, Latvian and Australian cuisines.

A plate with pinnekjøtt, rutabaga purée (kålrotstappe) and potatoes. Photo by
A plate with pinnekjøtt, rutabaga purée (kålrotstappe) and potatoes. Photo by

Norwegian cuisine is generally very bland for most people

Some people were surprised by this low ranking, but many were not. Norwegian cuisine mainly consists of mutton with a single vegetable (usually potato or carrot), and salt and peppers as the only spices.

I have heard from countless foreigners that Norwegian cuisine was one of the low points on their experiences from Norway, and even plenty of Norwegians agree that it’s not particularly good or interesting.

One of the big issues with Norwegian cuisine is that the country had little species, variety of vegetables and other types of meat available traditionally, since growing different crops in Norway has historically been very challenging.

This has lead to Norway’s national dish being “fårikål, which means “mutton in cabbage”. The name tells you all the ingredients, and the only spice is pepper. In other words, boil mutton and pieces of cabbage together with grains of pepper, and serve it with a few boiled poatoes, and you’ve got yourself fårikål.

Homemade fårikål, Norway's national dish
Homemade fårikål, Norway’s national dish. Photo by Nicklas Iversen / The Norway Guide.

That said, there are many good restaurants in Norway, and some of these have made modern versions of the national cuisine which are absolutely worth checking out. There’s even a few of them that has gotten Michelin stars for their efforts, so it’s not all bad.

Italian, Greek and Spanish cuisine are ranked the best cuisines in the world

It should probably come as no surprise that the countries ranked to have the best cuisines are places like Italy, Greece and Spain, closely followed by Japan, India and Mexico. You can see the full list of all countries and their score over at TasteAtlas’s website, but you’ve got to scroll far down to find Norway on it.

They have also ranked the top 100 dishes in 2022 based on user feedback and professional food critiques rates, but there are no dishes from Norway on it at all.

What is your opinion on Norway’s cuisine? Is it as bad as TasteAtlas has ranked it to be, or does it deserve to be higher up on the list? Let us know your opinion in the comments below!

33 thoughts on “Norway Ranked As The World’s Worst Cuisine By TasteAtlas”

  1. Well deserved! The food is one of the main reasons I’m leaving after several years in Norway. That includes both the restaurants, which are quite bad compared to other places, and supermarket selection, which is even worse.

    • The supermarket section is a complaint I often hear from people who are visiting or moving to Norway. There’s just way too little competition for the grocery story supplies here, making the selection very poor quality. And since there’s no competition, people end up having to buy it anyway..

    • Then go to meny or a butcher, there the selection is better going to Kiwi or rema wont leave you with anything good

    • Yes, there is some evil stuff in the local cuisine you have to get used to or better to be a Norwegian. However after 4 years life in Norway I have to contradict. Did you ever try the unbelievable variety of local seafood? Salmon+ galore!

  2. Hei Nicklas.
    I am also from Skien Norway, heia Odd. Flyttet til Canada 1966. Min mor og far var gode kokker og jeg liker ogsaa aa koke.
    Jeg bor naa i Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
    Min kone og jeg liker aa reise, we closed our eyes and put our finger on Canada. Herkules var min klubb for jeg bodde I Industrigata # 10.

  3. As an American living in Norway, I have come to appreciate traditional Norwegian meals. But the quality of the food in general is very average to below average. I have given up trying to find a good steak, even at good restaurants. And for all the marketing around Norwegian salmon, good luck trying to find wild caught salmon. Everyone eats farm raised salmon in Norway.

    • I don’t really think you can compare food around the world. As we individually have different taste and what is best to someone else might not be the same for others. Similar to music and beauty.
      I personally prefer Vietnamese ,Korean, Cameroonian, and Mexican Cuisine. Yum yummy 😋🤤😋

      • Yeah, that’s true.

        The ranking is obviously based on peoples tastes, but asking many different people to rate different food based on their favorite is probably as good measure as any when it comes to ranking food.

        But most people will obviously not agree 100 % with the rankings.

    • Yeah, that’s a complaint I hear about Norway often. There is virtually zero competition in the grocery store supply sector, so many products including meat tend to be very poor quality compared to other places in the world.

      If you want wild caught salmon, you probably need to get to a fish market or go grab your fishing pole.

  4. There’s a Dovrefjelle-themed restaurant in Oslo that serves trout in cream sauce. It’s wonderful. We visited in ’08, so I hope it’s still there. Then there’s the cafe in Glasmagazinet(?) where we had reindeer carbonade with lingon, and that famous old hotel restaurant near the palace where I confess I had hval.

    • Restaurants in Norway tend to be very high quality. We have many incredible chefs, and multiple restaurants with Michelin stars at this point.

      I’m not sure about the exact restaurant you’re speaking of, so I can’t tell if it is still there or not.

  5. What is this? First picture is showing “Pinnekjøtt”. A cuisine served tradationally on christmas in West-Norway.

    Second picture is “fårikål”. A cuisine that is only served during end of September and early October.

    Why is “fårikål” considered a national dish when some people only eat it once a year?

    Both are poor man’s dishes from Norway. We have some of the best chefs in the world. It’s funny we are only showing of our simplest and cheapest dishes. One of our biggest export are our fish. Like salmon and cod.

    • From what I understand, the ratings are based on ranking traditional dishes from each country. It does not include restaurants and dishes made by chefs. You can see a full list of all the dishes they used for ranking purposes here: . Both pinnekjøtt and fårikål was a big part of their ranking of Norway’s dishes.

      Norwegians have a long history of viewing fårikål as our national dish. Ministry of Agriculture and Food (Landbruks- og matdepartementet) ordered an opinion from Ipsos to determine the national dish of Norway, and over 45 % wanted fårikål, 36 % wanted kjøttkaker, and all types of fish got less than 5 %. Here’s the source for this, but it’s in Norwegian only:

    • Maybe you should Google Norges Nasjonalrett? Norwegians themselves deem Fårikål to be their national dish and specialty. Even though this dish is seasonal and wrapped in ancient traditions, there is no doubt that the title is deserved.
      What do you suggest instead? Pizza? 🙂

  6. Com on! This can not be a serious ranking.
    If it was up to me i would rank the Greek and Italian kitchen in the lower part of the list.
    If one of the credentials was use of spices, how can Greek or Italian food score hi compared to multiple asian cousins.
    Who is the selection of people that did this ranking? Probably Italian and Greek’s 🤣 and some American.
    It is impossible to to make a ranking like this, and it always comes out subjective.
    Not that i would rank the Norwegian kitchen high on the list either.

    • Yes, it’s subjective, and rankings like these will always be.

      The basis of the ranking is from people voting on different dishes from around the world. I have no idea about the demography of the voters.

  7. As a chef for many years in some of Norways finest hotels, I recent the implications in such ranking. Yes, traditional Norwegian cuisine might seem a bit bland, but using the same ingredients, we provide the worlds best chefs year after year in Bocuse d’Or and the cooking olympics. Go figure. Also we have some of the worlds finest restaurants including three star Michelin restaurant Maemo wich uses Norwegian produce and honours traditional Norwegian cooking.

  8. In all fairness, I will never understand how come Norwegian aren’t capable of utilising whatever they had available from foraging. I come from a tradition of using whatever you can find out there as most of the people were very poor.
    Marjoram, dandelions, stinging nettle, other healing herbs, wild mushrooms, berries etc, it was all used to supplement people’s food. They still obsess about the best place to find wild garlic in spring, then cherries, blueberries, wild mushrooms, compete between each other how many jars of preserves they managed to produce. Tripe is considered disgusting but properly cooked and spiced with paprika and lots of garlic, it gives you the best stew. All you need is to use your spices cleverly – nobody would be able to eat bland stuff. I remember being kids and eating my Grandma’s absolutely delicious bean soup with sour cream and cutting little pieces of a very hot pepper into it. We had fun watching for the one who bit straight into it, it was hilarious. Eating bland food would never do, it was boring. Even salt is treated like it’s forbidden in Norwegian food. You don’t have to look at the Greek and Italian cuisine for clever use of spices, just look at what people managed to do in Central or Easter Europe, very frequently in areas, where winters could be so bad, they would resort to eating bark of the trees in the worst years. Nevertheless, it’s not all bad – the brunost is delicious and actually very easy to make at home. I recently made my own curd cheese (milk and a bit of lemon juice) and used the whey to make my own brunost. Very happy with the result.

  9. oh no, sensitive topic. Some of your articles don’t get a single comment, but when speaking of dishes everyone has something on their minds.

    I would vouch for Japanese and Greek food as the best, Italian and French as overrated, and German as the worst. Feels that whatever they have they copied it and dip in chocolate to make it taste better, and not even the good type of chocolate either… that milka nutella kind of chocolate. I mean, Pumpernickel chocolate cake/bread/biscuits… (rye)

    I have no trouble with Norwegian food, just a bit too salty for my heart to handle. Some of these fish dishes, fiskekaker, fiskeboller, fiskepudding, meats contain so much I bet for shelf life and preservative.

    while I’m at it, I wonder why Svolvær wasn’t mentioned in the Narvik/Harstad airport article?

  10. I feel like the blandness is kinda the point for most of the traditional dishes. For me who is a “super taster”(tons and tons of taste buds), the blandness is nice. I can see why other people would be turned away immediately though. It really is extremely bland. I think last place is harsh, but at the same time, understandable. I’ve never eaten food more bland than Norwegian food.

    The reason we shy away from salt is kind of because our food is so bland, if you add salt, it’s just gonna taste salty and that’s that.. The salt will dominate the flavor, and salt in itself isn’t very tasty. If our food was more flavorful, salt would make a lot of sense.

    All that said, as a norwegian, my favorite food is definitely tacos, pasta, burgers and pizza. Meatballs, pea stew and potatoes with brown gravy is probably as good as traditional food gets tbh.


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