Header images courtesy of FINDS
Cold, bland, fishy. Plain meatballs. Now that may be the misconceived perception many have towards Nordic cuisine, mostly based on the colder conditions of the territory often emphasised in its international portrayal. Although the freezing winters of Scandinavia definitely influence the popular means of cooking in this scene, there are many more distinctive elements that pull together these Scandi eats. As one might expect, Hong Kong is a paradise of multi-cultural gastronomies and it has no shortage of wonderful places to sample true Nordic flavours. Start your journey up north by checking out our list of the best Nordic restaurants and cafés in Hong Kong.
Short for Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden—the countries that make up the Nordic region—FINDS is an award-winning seafood restaurant led by chef Jaakko Sorsa that brings the freshest Northern European cuisine to Hong Kong. Embracing authentic Nordic cooking, its menu features seasonal ingredients native to the aforementioned area, prepared with traditional techniques like curing, smoking, pickling, and fermenting.
Traverse the coasts and highlands on a seven-course Nordic Journey (starting from $1,388) of curated dishes showcasing flavours inspired by perennial transformations in the environment. Reminiscent of the spectacular polar lights in Norway, admire the purplish hues of the wood-topped glowing bar as you dive into the fresh woodiness of a house-smoked Norwegian salmon fillet ($288) complemented by a vodka-based lingonberry mix ($90).
FINDS, 1/F, The Luxe Manor, 39 Kimberley Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2522 9318
Sitting in a humble pocket on Hollywood Road, Hjem is a cosy gathering place for people to enjoy a moment of familiar and homelike rest for the day. Its space draws upon founder Elin Fu’s memories of growing up in Norway, reflected in the warm and wood-toned interior palette, and a nourishing menu designed by chef Jaakko Sorsa that revolves around natural ingredients showcased with signature Nordic lightness and sophistication.
Lifting straight from the deli of authentic cheeses and smoked seafood, their open-faced smørrebrød sandwiches include delectable combinations like arctic prawn ($108) dotted with burst-in-your-mouth trout roe, and mustard-marinated Baltic herring ($128). For a serving of classic wintry goodies—which can be enjoyed any time of the year, really—the giant cinnamon and cardamom bun rolls ($98) paired with the fragrant honey milk golden latte ($45) is a must-try. For something to warm you from the inside out, raise your glass to the distinct cinnamon bun espresso martini ($98) or the fruity strawberry and rhubarb cosmo ($98).
Hjem, 161 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan | (+852) 2362 9193
Swish Pizza showcases a no-frills sense of practicality whilst still maintaining a friendly buzz thanks to its cheerful staff. A homely spot complete with the mother of all comfort foods, this pizza joint tosses well-loved combinations of toppings on its head (and in the air) by introducing some feisty Swedish favourites.
Piling onto the controversial topic of pineapples on pizza, their Hawaii Special (starting from $88) raises the notch by adding sliced bananas and curry powder to an already divisive mix. As crazy as it sounds, this is actually a homage to Swedish banana curry pizza, making it a nostalgic slice of Nordic life that the Uppsala-born-and-bred founders would like to share. Diners who want a safer choice can opt for the Kebabpizza ($118).
Swish Pizza, Unit M, 5/F, Everest Industrial Centre, 396 Kwun Tong Road | (+852) 3460 2474
Getting coffee is undoubtedly an unmissable ritual in many people’s daily lives, and that is no different for the Swedish. The concept of “fika,” which is roughly translated to “a coffee and cake break,” fleshes out this habit by emphasising the social and restful quality of taking a short chunk of time off to sip on a quick cup of joe.
Perfectly encapsulating Scandi kitsch, Squarestreet Kaffe is a cool little spot tucked away in the nook of Square Street, wafting the robust smells of black brew coffee ($24) out its countertop window. It is exactly the spot to have fika at, providing authentic freshly baked pastries like the cardamom bun ($48), paired with imported coffee that is roasted weekly in Sweden. Squarestreet Kaffe also showcases a range of minimalist accessories created by store founder Alexis Holm, in addition to eyewear and timepieces produced by local and international designers.
Squarestreet Kaffe, 15 Square Street, Sheung Wan | (+852) 5107 0447
Yes, the vendor that put Swedish food on the map in Hong Kong is a furniture giant. Head to your neighbourhood Ikea and you will find that most customers are actually crowding around the bistro and restaurant areas rather than their homewares. Taking the top spot as the number one item that has somehow become synonymous with Swedish cuisine are their Swedish meatballs (starting from $13), served swimming in gravy and lingonberry jam over a bed of mashed potatoes. During your customary lap around the showrooms, be sure to swing by their supermarket section, which supplies easy-to-prepare frozen meals (yes, meatballs are also available) and packaged snacks to bring home. Do mind the differences between the branches, as the bistro dining option only offers takeaway foods.
All right, this one’s not a café or restaurant, either, but you’ll find Nordic foods here nonetheless. Stocking everything from lactose-free cheese spreads to Moomin-themed interior decoration, Sverige Shoppen offers all things Swedish, Finnish, and Norwegian. Rest assured of the authenticity of their Scandinavian offerings; the fact that liquorice occupies an entire category of candy products on its own is telling enough! Without having to cross land and sea, fill your bag with fresh finds and cute trinkets from the shop shelves, and invite in the Nordic air of hygge—a word encompassing the mood of comfortable sociality in a cosy setting—into your home.
Sverige Shoppen, Unit 523, 5/F, Star House, 3 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui | (+852) 2312 1919