Next to the Burger King in downtown Bergen, Norway, across from the 7-11, is another fast food restaurant beloved by anyone who has ever called Bergen home.
In 1929, two sisters came to Bergen and opened a little restaurant that today is not your typical fast food joint. It’s not a chain — not like it’s next door neighbor that can be found around the world. This is a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
The Söstrene Hagelin specializes in fish — primarily cod and haddock, which the people of Bergen and much of Norway eat in abundance.
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Söstrene Hagelin – a Local Favorite in Bergen, Norway
It’s a bright and pleasant place with a few ice cream parlor-like seats inside and big windows to observe the world beyond. Historic photos of the Sisters Hagelin and the rest of their family fill one wall. Another wall of shelves is filled with buckets of some of Sisters Hagelin’s favorite products to go. Like all Norwegians, the employees were friendly and spoke perfect English.
We were told the fish pudding was a must. They say that when people who live in other parts of the world come home to Bergen, their first stop is at Söstrene Hagelin for some fish pudding. And when they return to the part of the world they now call home, a bucket of the sisters’ fish pudding goes back with them.
I recall my days in college when bags of Sliders from White Castle made their way across Missouri to our dorm rooms late at night. I guess it’s kind of the same thing, maybe.
Eating Like Locals in Bergen Norway
As a mojotraveler, I know I should be more gastronomically adventurous. But on that day, I just couldn’t quite wrap my head around the idea of fish pudding. Neither could Bruce. Actually, I can’t imagine any day when I’ll be excited about fish pudding. So we opted for a simple fish sandwich — a cod patty between two gigantic pieces of whole grain bun. Perhaps we should have added some condiments.
The bun was really good, fresh bread. The cod patty was, well, like that bag of greasy White Castle sliders that showed up in our college dorm rooms. We loved our sliders, but they are indeed an acquired taste.
We found much of the food in Norway very flavorful and compatible with the Midwestern American palate. One Sunday, we came across a little rural restaurant featuring a pot roast with potatoes and carrots that is surely just like your grandma makes.
But on this day in Bergen, as our stomachs were adjusting to the new longitude and latitude, the cod patty sandwich was just not our thing. Probably the same reaction Norwegians would have if they ate a bag of cold White Castle sliders. It’s an acquired taste.
For another dining experience, check out the cafe at the beautiful public garden in Bergen.