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September 19, 2010

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Fishing for compliments

SINK your teeth into hot smoked salmon and dig your spoon into iced strawberry compote with cream -- the traditional cuisines of Norway and Denmark at the World Expo offer an authentic taste of Northern Europe.

The Norway Pavilion has brought not only a unique wood structure to Shanghai with its own conception "Powered by Nature," but also a seafood restaurant right in the pavilion serving the renowned delicacies, salmon and codfish.

All fish at the restaurant are imported directly from Norway and transported by air daily.

"The seafood and the restaurant are important parts of the pavilion letting visitors experience Norwegian life," said head chef Terje Hamnes, "so we make sure all the fish comes fresh from our country."

The restaurant offers separate lunch and dinner menus.

"Many Expo visitors don't have much time for lunch so the menu is an introduction to Norwegian seafood," Hamnes said.

A set luncheon selection of fish and seafood costs 195 yuan (US$28.26) and includes a starter -- four pieces of salmon cooked with different techniques and served with various condiments; a main course -- combination plate with salmon and cod accompanied by seafood chowder; and dessert -- mixed fresh fruit with chocolate mousse and ice cream.

Also offered are creamed shellfish soup with pan-fried king crab, oven baked fillet of cod, among specialities.

But to properly appreciate Norwegian seafood, one should have dinner. The tasting set contains 17 courses and costs 425 yuan per person.

The 17 courses cover many different tastes of salmon and codfish prepared in different ways: smoked, cured, raw, baked and so on.

Although Norwegians usually want the natural flavors and use little condiments, for Chinese guests the restaurant has prepared different tastes and condiments. Chef Hamnes recommends that people who like spicy food should try the baked fillet of cod because the combination of spice with cod fish creates a robust flavor.


Nearby at the Denmark Pavilion, the restaurant offers a completely different Northern European experience.

Because Danish people enjoy picnicking at the beach, park or forest, the Denmark Pavilion has opened an outside Street Bar selling picnic lunch boxes containing traditional food.

A small picnic box costs 30 yuan and it includes hot smoked salmon with chicken salad, rye bread and potato slices. A large box costing 70 yuan contains two fish balls and a pork breast.

The most popular food at the Street Bar is the famous open-face rye bread sandwich, with a great variety of toppings including salmon, chicken salad, and meats.

Back in Denmark, the sandwiches used to be considered slightly old-fashioned, but new and trendy toppings have been added, making the national specialty popular again.

Each piece costs 20 yuan and visitors choose their own toppings.

Besides the sandwiches, visitors can have dessert for their picnic.

Cups of iced strawberry compote are popular and many Danish women pick their own strawberries and make their own compote.


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