Posted by: Sarah | July 8, 2011

The Norwegian Prawn Buffet…A Summer Tradition

If you’re in Norway during the summer months you will find it difficult to miss the traditional dining activity of The Prawn Buffet. Every year I meet my two good friends Marianne and Line for this experience and every year, I still don’t manage to compete with their speed and efficiency.  The Prawn Buffet needs technique, experience and patience if you’re a beginner!

With the 7th longest coastline in the world (I kid not) and sailing experience dating way back beyond the vikings, it’s not surprising to find the Norwegians are a little mad about their fish!  Despite owning vast amounts of oil and gas in the north sea, fishing is still the 2nd largest export for Norway and every morning during the summer you can find the freshest catch of the day in Oslo’s fish market near Aker Brygge. 

So how does this work?  Well first you find a good fish restaurant.  We went to Solsiden in Oslo – a fantastic fish restaurant that not many tourists know about.  Make sure you order Reker (prawns) along with a nice glass of cold white wine.  They will bring everything to your table including a bowl of freshly cooked prawns, lemon, fresh bread, butter, mayonnaise and a lot of napkins.  Here’s what you do:

  1. Butter a slice of bread
  2. Grab a prawn – pull the head off, followed by the tail and then peel off the shell
  3. Lay the prawn meat onto the bread
  4. Repeat until you have filled the bread
  5. Squeeze some lemon juice over the top
  6. Add a little mayonnaise and pepper if you wish
  7. Eat with a knife and fork
  8. Start the process all over again

Eliot isn’t so keen on this meal because he thinks it takes too long to peel the prawns when you’re hungry… unlike experienced Norwegians who will just fly through this process without getting prawn splinters or squirting juice in their face. 






It’s a really fun, social experience and absolutely delicious.  It’s also possible to buy these prawns fresh from the Oslo Fish Market near Aker Brygge.  Fishermen will catch the prawns and then boil them up in salt water during their journey back to Oslo harbour so if you buy them first thing in the morning, they’re perfectly cooked!


  1. This sounds like fun and so delicious. When I lived in Maryland, I was introduced to eating crab in a similar way. Big sheet of brown paper on the table, wooden mallets to crack the crabs, and Old Bay spice for flavoring. Marylanders loved it–but I was slow to catch on.

  2. What a life…! Fresh, fresh seafood and wine with friends in the sunshine :) Can’t quite get my head around eating your sandwich with a knife and fork though…?!

    • I know Rosie – what you didn’t see is the view we had of Oslo fjord just behind the guy who took the picture! Yes, the knife and fork thing to eat a sandwich is a Norwegian thing. They eat open sandwiches so I guess it could get a bit messy.

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