What comes to mind when you think about Denmark? Long winters? The welfare state? Well, what about smørrebrød.
Smørrebrød is a traditional Danish open-faced sandwich that usually consists of a piece of buttered rugbrød (dense and sour Danish rye bread that they’re deeply proud of) topped with anything and everything under the sun.
The word first appeared around the turn of the 18th century, and by the late 19th century it had become a lunch staple at Copenhagen restaurants. Herring is a very traditional topping, but now smørrebrød has become a dish that invites innovation. Got leftovers in the fridge? Slap it on top of rye bread with butter and some sauteed onions and viola, you have a delicious smørrebrød lunch.
That being said, there are a few “rules.” For example, rye bread is always the base, the smørrebrød should usually be savory, not sweet, and smørrebrød should be eaten with a fork and knife. So many goodies are piled on top of the bread that it makes it almost impossible to elegantly eat with your hands.
You can find smørrebrød shops in every corner of Copenhagen, but my favorite is Lillian’s. Lillian’s may look like a hole in the wall, but it has been serving delicious smørrebrød since 1978. What makes it my favorite, however, are the vegan options!!
Smørrebrød is traditionally pretty meat heavy which doesn’t fly with being a vegetarian. So, when one of my professors mentioned Lillian’s and pointed out their vegan options, I knew I had to try it. They have chickpea salad, potato, beetroot hummus, and chickenless salad. Out of the four, the only one I haven’t tried is the chickenless salad and I think the chickpea salad tastes the best. But they are all worth it. It’s worth noting that an individual slice is pretty small, so I would recommend getting two or even three depending on how hungry you are.
If you come to Denmark keep an eye out for smørrebrød, and if you’re vegan or vegetarian (or not), definitely check out Lillian’s. Because can you really say you been to Denmark if you didn’t try smørrebrød?
*Featured Image: Smørrebrød. Credit: Unsplash.