04 | Sep | 17

Richard Johnson

Coming Of Age

There’s something cooking in the Land of the Midnight Sun – Norway being one of the newest countries to become part of the street food revolution. And, given that their main ‘place to be’ for street food – a square in Oslo called Youngstorget – is one of the country’s biggest symbols of political power, you could say support is not increasing for a parliamentary party per se, but a street food party.

Sweden will be represented in the first ever European Street Food Awards. But not Norway — not this year. In Norway, a taco used to be fried burger meat with a taco seasoning, straight out the sachet probably, traditionally eaten at 3am during the drunken stumble home. Now it’s marinated meat or fish, with freshly-made salsa, shredded cabbage, and homemade habanero sauce. Who’s to blame? Just look at 4Gringos, Mission Taco, et al. ‘I wish we’d done something easy,’ 4Gringos founder Ian told The Foreigner. Thing is, now they’ve got a taste for it, the people of Oslo would rather they carried on.

This ‘quiet fightback’ within Norway’s jaded culinary scene gets thrown about a bit on travel boards and the blogosphere, but there are those who’d rather cause a rumpus than backstreet whispers. Mission Taco’s statement, to give you an example, is in their own words ‘serving Mexican street food without a friggin’ fork and knife’. Stick that up your pipe and smoke it.

Other players include Anne på Landet, with their lamb sausage and fenikkelslaw; Oh’Boy, with their poutine, meatballs, and relentlessly ‘grammable taiyaki; Go’Grilla, with their ground beef and gorgonzola-cheddar burgers; and Ice Crime, with their caramelised popcorn ice cream sarnies.

True, there aren’t that many more, because Oslo’s population is only in the six-hundred-thousands, and because the state is a bit slow in assisting new businesses in taking to the road (though Oslo Kommune should be thanked otherwise).

But the only way is up. Thousands of Norwegians turned out to Oslo’s inaugural Food Truck Bonanza last summer, and only a bigger attendance can be expected for its second time running. StreetKäk – an app that finds traders in your local area (sound familiar?) – is the first of its ilk to service the Nordic countries, and is helping put food business on the map. Literally.

All street food movements have their challenges in their fledgling years. But among Norwegians, are there doubts about its true potential? Nor-way, José. A certainty for the European Street Food Awards 2018 we reckon….