I love food. If you have read anything on this blog nothing could be more clear. I eat everything and I love it all. Personally, I think there is no better way to get to know a city than learning about their food. Food and drink are interconnected with a country’s culture. Only a few bites can tell you so much about a place. So let me ask you this, if you haven’t tried the local fare have you really been to that country? So of course, one of the first things we did in Copenhagen was take a Food Tour.
Copenhagen and Food
Copenhagen has one of the fastest growing food scenes in the world. Currently Copenhagen has 17 restaurants with Michelin Stars, including Geranium which has 3 stars (ranked 19th best in the world). Another 49 restaurants have also received either Bib Gourmand or Michelin Plate distinctions for their great food. The problem is with all of this great food… it is so damn expensive to eat in Copenhagen. Generally a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in copenhagen will run you about $18 a person. A meal at a mid-range restaurant can run you about $90 per person. Given this, it is really hard for the average traveler to indulge themselves in Copenhagen’s food scene.
This is why I really like food tours. Food tours allow you to immerse yourself in the local food scene with a knowledgeable guide. The guide teaches you the history of the food, the proper way to eat the food, and has tons of insight of the local scene.
Booking the Copenhagen Food Tour
There are a lot of food tours offered in Copenhagen. Generally, a Copenhagen food tour will run you in copenhagen will run you upwards $100, but will leave you stuff full of great food. As we were trying to do this trip on an extreme budget, we decided to go with a more budget option Sandemans New Europe Copenhagen food tour. This tour will run you about $45 and is less than half the price of your typical Copenhagen food tour. But is less than half the value?
Copenhagen Food Tour
Our Copenhagen Food Tour started at a coffee shop in Central Copenhagen. As it was the cheapest food tour offered in the city it was extremely crowded. Luckily they had multiple guide and broke us out into 4 groups of 20ish people.
Like most food tours in Europe, this tour also focused on the local drinks. Denmark as whole, but especially copenhagen, has a huge beer culture. While Carlsberg and Tuborg are the most well known Danish beers, Denmark has a huge microbrewery scene and is becoming one of the biggest beer exporters in the world. Currently, Denmark is the 10th biggest beer exporter in the world (United States is the 5th with only twice what Denmark exports).
If you want to try some Danish microbrews, or heck just some really good beer, taphouse is the place to go. Taphouse always has 61 beers on tap and no two days at taphouse are the same. Taphouse’s beer offering literally changes by the keg. Once a keg is empty and a new beer takes its place the lights at taphouse will blink red. This lets everyone know a new beer is available. No matter what type of beer you like, so long as you like beer, taphouse is the place for you.
Our guide gave us a huge print out of the current 61 beers on tap and let us as a group determine which beers we wanted to try…so long as it was Danish. I wish i had the forethought to write down which beers we tried, but we ended up trying a local IPA as well as a stout. Personally, I am not a huge fan of IPAs, but this IPA was actually pretty good. Though the stout was my favorite of the too. It was extremely dark and rich. Kind of like a Guiness, but with even more flavor.
As both of our Moms, and a few others, do not drink there was plenty of extras to go around. So by the time we left, I had a good buzz going.
The Copenhagen Dog
Our next stop on the Copenhagen Food tour was my favorite stop on the tour. We went to a street hotdog vendor to get a traditional Copenhagen hotdog. For the longest time hot dogs in copenhagen were the number one food on the go. There were hot dog carts on most street corners. However, there has been a recent rise in international fast food and convenience stores opening in Copenhagen. This has led to a decline in the number of hot dog stands Copenhagen. However, you can easily find a Copenhagen Dog.
The first thing you will notice about a traditional hot dog in copenhagen is that the casing is bright red. Historically this is done to show that the hotdogs are fresh. The vendors would traditionally dye the hot dogs red so you could tell the age of the hot dog by how much it has faded. Obviously, this is no longer an issue but they still keep the casings bright red.
These were absolutely fantastic. I mean it perfect. When something is this this perfect I have to turn to Stephanie for a little bit of her poetic magic in describing it. Nothing about the Copenhagen Dog should work. However, much to my delight, it was so wrong that it was right. When it comes to hot dogs I am a simple gal. Mustard, maybe a little bit of chili and cheese if I am feeling fancy, is all I need. So when our tour guide described the Copenhagen Dog to us, I was skeptical but always love a good food adventure. The fully loaded dog is piled with copious amounts of raw onions, fried onions, a tangy Danish remoulade, ketchup, mustard, and pickled cucumbers (not pickles, fresh pickled cucumbers). My taste buds danced to the texture and flavor rave in my mouth.
Danish Fish Ball
Our Copenhagen Food tour then headed to Torvehallerne KBH. Torvehallerne is an indoor market that has over 60 stands selling some of the best foods from all over the world. Some stands sell ingredients, others sell products, and many of them sell cooked foods. It has become one of the many food havens in Copenhagen. Torvehallerne is a go to place for fish. As a coastal town, fish is a staple of Danish cuisine and at here you can get some of the best fish in the city without paying Michelin Star prices.
Here we got a fried fishball, with a spicy mustard dipping sauce, and rye bread. It was good, but honestly nothing special to write home about. However, we were given some time to wander the market and there were so many delicious options. Torvehallerne is without a doubt a great place to stop and try a few small bites to help get a feel for Copenhagen.
Our final stop on the Copenhagen Food Tour was for the most traditional Danish dish, Smørrebrød. This dish is an open-face sandwich on buttered rye bread topped with meats, fish, cheese, or other spreads and garnishes.
This started as a working class lunch. Factory workers would pile leftovers from dinner onto a piece of buttered rye bread for an easy lunch. This dish has since exploded and is basically the most popular dish in Denmark. Elevated smørrebrød are on the menu Copenhagen’s fanciest restaurants. While simple more traditional versions are in affordable restaurants all over the city. It is a must have if you ever visit Denmark.
Our Smørrebrød was shrimp, egg, red onion, and dill. There is a reason that this dish is so popular. It is freaking fantastic. While it comes in many varieties, ours was an amazing combination of salty, sour, and rich buttery flavor.
Sandemans New Europe’s food walking tour was a tasty introduction to Copenhagen. While not providing as much food as most food tours, it is less than half the price of all of the others. Their knowledgeable tour guides provided great information about the city, its food, and its food history. Most importantly we left happy and full.