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Life

Falsterbo Sweden

Okay, heavy topic. But hear me out.

Ever since this COVID-19 stuff began sweeping across the world, I have been struggling to know what is appropriate to post on this online platform, and what isn’t. Many creators are posting work-from-home tips, lists of things you can do if you’re bored at home, and other positive and uplifting messages. Some others have continued business as usual, posting their normal travel-related content to inspire others to explore this big, beautiful world once this weird period passes.

But to me, none these things felt like what I wanted to share.

At my day job, where I work for a large tech/security company and I am responsible for the global blog platform, we’ve had to make some difficult decisions in the past couple weeks. Decisions about what kind of content can be helpful, or useful, and what qualifies as capitalizing on an “opportunity.”

Everyday we are bombarded with COVID-19 content. And I refuse to contribute to the hysteria.

But, one thing I have been thinking about a lot is the definition of home. And what “home” really means when you’re an expat. A couple days ago I posted about this in a caption on an Instagram post, and received an outpouring of comments and support from people who could closely relate to the question I was asking…

...so what is home, anyways?

Skanör beach houses

A note about the photos in this post: All photos were taken in Skanör-Falsterbo prior to the COVID-19 escalation.

it all started with a call to come home

When COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic, I initially didn’t consider flying back to Canada. But, when Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, called for Canadian’s abroad to come home shortly after… I paused. “Should I fly back to Canada?,” I asked myself. Especially considering my Swedish visa situation is still very much up in the air while I wait for a renewal to be processed. Maybe staying is a bit riskier than I initially thought.

Although I did question my decision, I admittedly didn’t think about it long… ultimately the choice was pretty easy. My job is here. My fiancé is here. And so is my cat (who I had no interest in lugging back across the Atlantic ocean). I have an apartment I love. I’m in a city I love. I have a local support system of friends and family. So, albeit with a little bit of reluctance, I decided to wait it out.

From the moment I made that decision, I have experienced every emotion imaginable.

the realization that I literally cannot go "home"

The realization that now, here I am, stuck in Sweden. And while I still stand firmly behind the choice I made, it still feels very scary. This feeling of fear has been coupled with moments of panic and sadness. Had I made the right choice?

Knowing that I quite literally can’t go home to the people that mean the most to me. To my hometown, which has always been my “safe space.” It is enough to leave me crippled with anxiety.

Over the past couple weeks, I have gotten over a lot of this anxiety. I feel calmer and more accepting on this situation that I literally cannot change. I also feel more confident that everything is going to be okay. Sure, the world is going to be a bit different, but it’ll be okay.

"home" has never felt so far away

In the past when people have commented on the fact that I have chosen to live so far away from Canada, I have always brushed it off. “It’s only a seven hour flight, I can come visit whenever I want,” is my typical response. But, then, countries across the world closed their borders. And coming home whenever I wanted to was no longer an option. Home all of the sudden was in fact “so far away.” And that has been a very weird thing to wrap my head around.

Skanör-Falsterbo
Skanör-Falsterbo in the spring

but i have realized something pretty special...

"home" can be defined in so many different ways

I have been questioning the definition of “home” a lot over the past couple weeks. And I have realized that it can be defined in many ways. For many expats, there are two types of homes (or maybe even three or four). There is the home you choose. Similar to how you choose your friends, or a career path – it is a conscious choice. Sweden, in my day-to-day life, is home. I made a very conscious choice to move here. And I am very happy – and thankful – to have the freedom to make that choice.

There’s something really special about the home you choose. And I owe a whole lot to this new country I’ve chosen to call home. Sweden has made me feel welcome and provided me with the safe space that I so desperately need during this scary time. My gratefulness for that is endless.

And then there’s “HOME home”…

This is the home that is written on your passport. This isn’t the home you choose. It’s the home you were “born in” (although maybe not literally because I realize that the world is not that simple). And just like you can’t choose your family, you also don’t choose this home. There are also many people that may not like this home (just like there are people who don’t like their family) – but I’ve gotta say, I’ve hit the jackpot in both these categories. I am so thankful to call Canada my inherent home AND have most of my favourite people living there.

so what is home, anyways? it still isn't super clear.

And I know there are people all over the world that can relate to this. When I travel, when I meet other travellers who ask where I am from, there is always a moment of pause. “He’s Swedish, I’m Canadian … but we live in Sweden,” is the response you’ll typically hear when Sebastian and I travelling are together.

Sweden may not be “HOME home.” But it is where I have chosen to lay down my roots right now. And even though I may be experiencing waves of feeling scared, overwhelmed, and anxious about the state of our world, I am thankful to have chosen to lay down these roots on Swedish soil.

Skanör-Falsterbo in the spring

one final (important) note: i am not blind to my privilege

I know I am lucky to call two of the world’s best countries home. I know I am lucky to have a job, an apartment, friends and family in Sweden I love, internet so I can FaceTime loved ones and a job that gives me the flexibility to work from home… I could go on and on, but the point is that I am not a hero, nor a victim, in this.

I also am very lucky to be here in Sweden with Sebastian. I have people close to me that are postponing weddings, navigating life with newborn babies in quarantine, dealing with being separated from their partners who live in another country, and others who are stuck indefinitely on the other side of the world unable to go home.

And then there are the true heroes – those on the front lines. I also have many people who are very close to me who are working on the front lines right now in essential jobs. They are tired, overwhelmed, and scared. They are putting their lives on the line EVERY SINGLE DAY so I can have the privilege that I do to stay home and work from my cosy apartment. Be thankful for these people and don’t forget to tell them how much you love them. 

And most importantly: be responsible. be unselfish. be safe.

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Hoi An Eco Cooking Class

Travelling to Vietnam with food allergies can be hard. And it can often mean you have to succumb to “missing out” on cultural experiences, like popular cooking classes in Hoi An, because they aren’t able to cater to your allergies (and Sebastian has a whole laundry list of them: peanuts, sesame seeds, beans, peas, other nuts…). 

Before we were headed to Hoi An, I researched a lot of Hoi An cooking classes. And trust me, there is a lot to choose. In fact, picking the best Hoi An cooking class can feel completely overwhelming.

But, with keeping in mind that we were travelling in Vietnam with a peanut allergy, I emailed A LOT of cooking classes to see if any of them were able to accommodate our allergies… and I received many non-responses and apologies. Then, I received a response from owner Mr. Kien at Hoi An Eco Cooking Class, who was happy to accommodate, confirmed a customized menu, and invited us to cook with him!

In ways, I looked for a Hoi An cooking class willing to settle on “whatever I could get.” Never did I expect to have such a truly wonderful, personal, hands-on, and authentic Vietnamese cooking experience. And I’m left with such wonderful memories and skills I can bring home to my own kitchen. I am so thrilled that Hoi An Eco Cooking Class invited us to spend this wonderful day with them.

See also: The perfect Hoi An City Guide for spending 5 days in Hoi An.

Hoi An Eco Cooking Class

hoi an eco cooking class is the best hoi an cooking class.
read on to learn more!

Full Disclosure: I was invited to join this experience as a guest of Hoi An Eco Cooking Class. However, as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

ABOUT HOI AN ECO COOKING CLASS

Hoi An Eco Cooking Class is a locally-owned family business that offers an immersive, hands-on cooking experience. Located in Cam Thanh Village, they operate the most beautiful, clean, and – most importantly – fun Vietnamese cooking experience. The husband and wife owners, and their team, are eager to engage and teach attendees their craft. The goal: To make us feel confident in returning home to make these wonderful traditional Vietnamese dishes for our family and friends.

Hoi An Eco Cooking Class : The Tour Details

an early morning start

Get an early start on your day with an 8:00 am pickup. The Hoi An Eco Cooking Class team will arrange an early morning hotel pickup, and you’ll be on your way. Be prepared to be gone for between 4.5 and 5 hours.

TIP: You may feel like skipping breakfast beforehand, since you’re heading to a cooking class. But don’t. You should have a small breakfast before you leave because you won’t be eating the food you cook until about four hours later.

First Stop: A Market Tour

On your way to the cooking school, you’ll make a stop at a local market. This spot feels much more authentic than the central market in Hoi An and you’ll be able to see the morning shopping routine of Hoi An’s locals. It’s a space that’s guaranteed to give you sensory overload, buzzing with people, sounds, and smells. And I loved getting to experience this.

While at the local markets, be smart and watch your bags (this was instructed by our guide). Also, if you’re tall like Sebastian, be prepared to duck the entire time because the ceiling is VERY low.

Market in Hoi An

A quick pit stop: basket boat rides

One of the great things about this tour is that it offers a cooking class and bamboo boat ride. Visiting a local village and riding in the famous Hoi An bamboo basket boats is something that is on many cooking class itineraries in Hoi An. Here, you’ll hop in a large woven bamboo basket and a local paddles you through the coconut forest outside Hoi An. The views were beautiful and it was a cool experience getting to see how the locals fish.

Bamboo Basket Boat Ride Hoi An

onto the (most) fun stuff: cookin' up a storm

OKAY, this is where this tour gets reaaaal goodIt’s time to do some cooking!

The entire cooking experience was hands-on and immersive, with Mr. Kien, his wife, and his staff guiding us every step of the way. When you arrive they have all the ingredients laid out, and instruct you on how to prepare the dishes.

One of my favourite parts was that we all cooked our own individual meals. This meant, we were enjoying the direct result of our hard work (and didn’t have other cooking class strangers preparing parts of our meal – which made everything feel very allergy safe and clean). 

The menu includes seven unique dishes (which is more than most Hoi An cooking classes). 

My favourite: bánh xèo (sizzling pancakes) and fresh spring rolls (paired with the best homemade fish sauce I have ever tasted)! Other dishes included: a fresh aubergine and tomato dish, pho, and banana leaf salad. All the ingredients were extra fresh, which made the dishes so insanely tasty.

Cooking at Hoi An Eco Cooking Class
Pho at Hoi An Eco Cooking Class

The class has an immersive teaching component is extra fun, too. I love learning about other cultures, and their traditions, and Mr. Kien and his team were eager to teach us about the historic food traditions of Hoi An locals.

I particularly loved making our own rice paper over a hot fire (I have to admit, it’s easier than it looks). And learning how the locals have historically made their own rice milk.

Below, you’ll see us peeling rice, making rice paper, and manually churning rice milk.

Rice at Hoi An Eco Cooking Class
Making rice paper at Hoi An Eco Cooking Class
Making rice paper at Hoi An Eco Cooking Class
Making rice milk at Hoi An Eco Cooking Class

After three hours of cooking, it is time to indulge. And I have to admit – I was impressed with myself. I mean, look at this spread. (Note that this is my dish which is why you see peanuts… Sebastian received a customized menu).

Food at Hoi An Eco Cooking Class

Ready to go? Here's How To Book!

Unfortunately, with such stiff cooking class competition, Mr. Kien and his team have faced some challenges with other cooking classes mimicking his business and tricking customers into booking with them (by using very similar business names). One of these is Hoi An Eco Cooking Tour. This is a common practice with many businesses in Vietnam, and something you should always be aware of when booking excursions. 

In the case of Hoi An Eco Cooking Class, these other “imitation” classes have also placed pamphlets in many hotels (we saw them in ours) and are giving commissions to hotels for referrals. For this reason, do not book a cooking class through your hotel.

To book with Hoi An Eco Cooking Class, send a message directly to Mr. Kien through his website link below (feel free to let him know I sent you!). Cost is 32 USD per person … and worth every single penny.

LIKE WHAT YOU READ? PIN IT BELOW.

And don’t forget to check out my other Vietnam content here, including my Hoi An Travel Guide.

The Best Hoi An Cooking Class
The Best Cooking Class in Hoi An
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Bowl of Pho at Khoi in Hanoi

Navigating the street food scene in Hanoi can be very overwhelming for tourists. In fact, we talked to MANY tourists who mentioned they didn’t even try it because it was too intimidating. Many people referenced the fact that many of these spots look like a food poisoning incident waiting to happen.

When we showed up, we didn’t even know where to begin looking and were totally intimidated by every sidewalk restaurant we passed. That’s why, on our first full day in Hanoi, we decided to book a street food tour to help ease us into the street food scene. We had heard from many people that it was some of the best food they had ever had, and we were determined to give it a try.

Not to mention, it is CHEAP. A typical meal, including beers, would cost us around 100,000 VND (just over $4 USD) and the portions are typically huge.

After our tour with With Locals, we felt confident to eat street food in Hanoi on our own and I have come up with a list of some of the best street food restaurants in Hanoi that you MUST TRY. The reason the street food is so good in Hanoi is because many of these spots only make one or two things. This means that they are making it fresh everyday and have perfected the recipes.

In this list, I have also included are some street food in Hanoi restaurants that we didn’t have time to make it to, but came highly recommended to us by a Hanoi local. So think of this as your very own, super-comprehensive guide to everything street food in Hanoi.

CLICK HERE to receive 15 euros off on your first With Locals booking (valid in every city they operate in worldwide).

Street food in Hanoi
Street food in Hanoi

ready to eat the best street food in hanoi?
read on for more info on where to find it!

Phở Sướng

What to Eat: Phở bò (beef noodle soup)
Location: 24B Ngõ Trung Yên
Why We Loved It: The beef pho here was really good! It’s also tucked down a really cool, private alley right in the centre of the Old Quarter. Just make sure you go easy on the hot peppers, they are spicy (Sebastian learned this the hard way, lol).

Pho Suong in Hanoi

Quán Phở Bò Khôi Hói

What to Eat: Phở bò (beef noodle soup)
Location: 50 Hàng Vải
Why We Loved It: The beef pho here was also amazing! This is a more authentic street food experience versus Pho Suong, where you sit on tiny little stools on the side of the street. On the tables, you’ll see jars of garlic vinegar. Add a small spoonful into the bowl of pho – it it is a game changer!

Nhà Hàng Thanh Hop

What to Eat: Bún chả (fatty pork with noodles and dipping sauce)
Location: 12 Đinh Liệt
Why We Loved It: I really loved the bún chả at this spot. It is also located on a great, moderately busy street in the Old Quarter, perfect for people-watching. And if you’re tall like us, you don’t have to worry about sitting virtually on the ground… the stools are a bit taller here 🙂

Bun cha in Hanoi

my hai

What to Eat: Fried spring rolls
Location: 63 Lò Sũ
Why We Loved It: My favourite fried spring rolls we had in Vietnam (and we had a lot of them). We sat here one night for a couple hours, ate over 20 spring rolls between the two of us (they were small…) and drank cheap beers.

"unknown" street food restaurant

What to Eat: Bánh cuốn (steamed rice rolls filled with pork)
Location: 91 Hàng Điếu
Why We Loved It: This is one of my favourite dishes I had in all of Vietnam. Order to the bánh cuốn, and dip it in the fish sauce they provide you and top it with a bit of lime. 
(I’ve searched high and low and cannot figure out the name of this spot but follow the address and you won’t be disappointed!)

Banh Cuon in Hanoi

Bún riêu cua Hàng Bạc

What to Eat: Bún riêu cua (vermicelli soup topped with fresh crab)
Location: 11 Hàng Bạc
Why We Loved It: This spot felt like a “true” street food experience because it was quite literally a hole in the wall with a small bar with two stool, and a couple tables on the sidewalk. The bún riêu cua (make sure you get the “cua”/crab version) was so incredibly delicious. 

Chè Dung

What to Eat: Coconut ice cream with fresh mango
Location: 95 Hàng Bạc
Why We Loved It: This is a dessert spot, so naturally it was one of my favourites. The mangos in Vietnam are next level. In fact, I don’t think I can ever eat mangos again at home. Pair that with coconut ice cream and fresh coconut, and this is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had (this coming from a girl who LOVES sweets).

Bún riêu cua in Hanoi

Left: Bún riêu cua (crab soup); Right: Coconut ice cream with fresh mango

Street Food in Hanoi: The Places We Didn't Try...
...But Wish We did!

Here’s a list of places that came HIGHLY recommended by another tour guide we had in Hanoi (who has lived in Hanoi his whole life). I wish we had more time to try to some of these spots, but because we were travelling close to the Vietnamese New Year, many spots were intermittently closed holiday. I hope you take some of these recommendations and enjoy them for me!

MUST TRY dishes IN HANOI (and where to find them):

Bún Thang (5 Hàng Trống)
Bánh Cuốn (14 Phố Báo Khánh)
Cháo sườn (1 Ngõ Huyện)
Nem Nướng (10 Ấu Triệu)
phở bò (34 Ấu Triệu)
coconut coffee (any Cộng Cafe location)
egg coffee (Cafe Giang or Cafe dinh)
Iced lime tea with sunflower seeds (Cafe Tra Chanh on nha tho)

Other restaurants in Hanoi
(That aren't traditional street food)

We didn’t eat JUST street food in Hanoi. Here’s a list of a few other non-street food spots that you need to check out.

best brunch in hanoi: the Hanoi social club (6 Ngõ Hội Vũ)
great lunch or dinner spot: Noodle & Roll (39C Lý Quốc Sư)
eat like anthony bourdain: Bún chả Hương Liên (24 Lê Văn Hưu)
for great vietnamese food: Luk Lak Vietnamese Restaurant (4A Lê Thánh Tông)
amazing bao can be found here: bao wow (No. 31a Alley 12 Đặng Thai Mai)

Shown here: The Hanoi Social Club

Need help finding the best street food in hanoi?
check out the map below.

pro Tip: Google Maps does not pin locations in Vietnam with 100% accuracy.
Therefore, you should note the exact address of the location. Use Google Maps to Help you find the street, and then follow the street numbers until you find the exact address. also, google maps will often "auto-correct" the street name and lead you in the wrong direction. before you start walking, make sure you double check that you have the right street name (or else you might end up 15 minutes late for a food tour like us, lol).

interested in taking a street food tour?

Make sure you use THIS LINK to get 15 euros off on your first With Locals booking (it can be used in any city worldwide).

LIKE WHAT YOU READ? PIN IT BELOW.

The best street food in Hanoi
The best restaurants in Hanoi
Where to eat street food in Hanoi
Where to find the best restaurants in Hanoi
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. As a reminder, I only recommend products and companies that I stand behind 100%. Thanks for supporting Madeline Rae Away.
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The best egg coffee in Hanoi at Cafe Dinh
Hanoi knows their coffee. Seriously, this list of “best cafes in Hanoi” has the potential to be so long. This opinion is coming from a girl who lives in Scandinavia, otherwise often referred to as the “Coffee Capital of Europe” (okay, I may have made that up but Scandinavian’s love their coffee). Now I have to admit, I used to hate coffee. But, over the past couple years I have been quickly converted to a coffee-obsessed… I mean, I go to bed dreaming about waking up to my morning coffee. That’s why seeking out a cuppa joe and cutesy cafes has become one of my most treasured travel traditions. What I’ve learned as I’ve sipped my way across the world, is that no matter how the coffee is served, the concept of coffee serves the same purpose all around the world: It is a cultural foundation that brings people together. This is no different in Hanoi. I’ve had some of the best coffee I’ve ever sipped on here, served in so many different ways: hot, cold, sweet, very VERY strong. And it’s all DELICIOUS. And with lots of research and a little help from Backstreet Academy’s “Coffee Lovers Walking Tour,” I was able to check off some of the best cafes in Hanoi off my list. 

want to know where to find the best cafes in hanoi?
read on to find out!

Full Disclosure: As a Backstreet Academy Ambassador, I was a guest on Backstreet Academy’s “Coffee Lovers Walking Tour.” As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. About Backstreet Academy:  Their motto is “Do Good as you Travel.” Through offering unique handcrafted experiences, they offer authentic local experiences, they identify individuals in BOP (bottom-of-the-pyramid) communities and turn them into Backstreet Hosts. You can find our more about Backstreet Academy’s mission and tours here.

LOADING T

One of the best cafes in Hanoi was introduced to me on our “Coffee Lovers Walking Tour” and I was obsessed. Located in a French mansion in Hanoi’s Old Quarter, it was so busy and I can understand why. Loading T is the only place in Hanoi that offered this special iced cinnamon roasted coffee and it was TO DIE FOR. I’m not kidding, I dream about that coffee. It was easily the best coffee in Hanoi’s old quarter (that I tried!).

Must Try: Cinnamon roasted coffee with coconut milk (you can thank me later).

Loading T Hanoi

The Note COffee

The Note Coffee an insta-famous spot that is definitely worth a spot if you’re wandering around Hoan Kiem Lake. The entire cafe is covered head-to-toe in stick notes with messages from visitors all over the world. It’s a unique spot to enjoy a coffee and grab some photos.

Note Cafe in Hanoi

Cafe Dinh

Looking for the best egg coffee in Hanoi (like the one shown in the first photo of this blog post)? Look no further than Cafe Dinh. This is another spot that we were brought to on our “Coffee Lovers Walking Tour” and I loved it! Egg coffee might sound a bit weird, but you must try it. It’s actually quite delicious, and super sweet like a dessert.

Cafe Dinh is owned by the daughter of the man who founded egg coffee in Hanoi. Most travellers visit Cafe Giang, owned by the son of the inventor. We went to both Cafe Dinh and Cafe Giang, and female support and empowerment reasons aside, I actually preferred the version served at Cafe Dinh.

Pro Tip: Cafe Dinh, in true Hanoi fashion, is found down an alley and up a very unsuspecting set of stairs. If you think you’re at the wrong spot, you’re not. I’ve included the location of this spot on the map below.

La Place

If you’re looking to sip on a cup of coffee (or even a beer) and get a unique viewpoint of St. Stephen’s Basilica, La Place is the place. Go up the stairs to the second floor and you’ll be able to sit on a quiet balcony overlooking the cathedral. The views are beautiful!

ANYWHERE ON TRAIN STREET

Okay, I know what you’re thinking – Is the famous Hanoi train street still open? I heard it closed. Well, technically, yes – it is “closed” for wandering. However, many of the businesses lining the street have remained open. And while I am all about respecting local rules and customs while travelling, I also am all about supporting tourism-dependent, bottom-of-the-pyramid businesses that have been negatively affected by government regulations and are therefore struggling to survive.

If you go by the entrances to the train street, you’ll notice barriers and guards blocking the street. However, there are also often local restaurant owners standing nearby who will ask you to come have a coffee. If you’re escorted by the owners, you’re welcome to visit the street.

And what’s better then enjoying a coffee track side while a train speeds by?!

Coffee Shop on Hanoi Train Street

Cafe Duy tri

Another stop on the “Coffee Lovers walking Tour,” Duy Tri is a bit away from the typical tourist hot spots and close to The West Lake. It was one of the first five coffee shops in Hanoi, and is home to some of the best Vietnamese drip coffee in Hanoi. They source and roast their own coffee, and the results were easily some of the best coffee we had in Vietnam. 

The Hanoi Social Club

I loved Hanoi Social Club – both for coffee, and for brunch. It is the definition of cute cafe in Hanoi. This place needs to be added to your list of places to eat and drink coffee in Hanoi, and not only because of the good food and coffee. The cafe aesthetics are so pretty.  

See Also: My complete food guide to Hanoi, including details on the best street food spots.

Coffee at the Hanoi Social Club

MUST TRY COFFEE IN HANOI:

Egg Coffee
Coconut Coffee
Traditional Vietnamese Drip Coffee (with condensed milk)
Cinnamon Roasted Coffee
Weasel Poop Coffee (if you're feeling daring, but please be a responsible traveller and do your research - there are a lot of fakes out there)

Need help finding the best coffee shops in hanoi?
check out the map below.

pro Tip: Google Maps does not pin locations in Vietnam with 100% accuracy.
Therefore, you should note the exact address of the location. Use Google Maps to Help you find the street, and then follow the street numbers until you find the exact address. also, google maps will often "auto-correct" the street name and lead you in the wrong direction. before you start walking, make sure you double check that you have the right street name (or else you might end up 15 minutes late for a food tour like us, lol).

LIKE WHAT YOU READ? PIN IT BELOW.

The Best Coffee Shops in Hanoi
Where to find the best egg coffee in Hanoi
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. When you make a purchase using an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. As a reminder, I only recommend products and companies that I stand behind 100%. Thanks for supporting Madeline Rae Away.
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Copenhagen Food Guide

Copenhagen and food might as well be synonymous. Because, in case you weren’t already aware, Copenhagen is a foodie’s dream city. It would take you weeks – maybe even months – to properly eat your way through the city. And I by no means am claiming to be an expert.

BUT, I have spent a ton of time in Copenhagen. And the foodie in me as been (eagerly) waiting to write this point until I felt that I could aptly do the Copenhagen food scene justice.

Well, I think that time has come. I have had easily some of the best meals of my life in this city, and I can’t wait to share with you all the best restaurants in Copenhagen – including everything from classic nordic tasting menus to international eats. 

So, here is (in My opinion) one of my mOST exciting posts ever:

A foodie's guide to the best restaurants in copenhagen

BEST BRUNCH IN COPENHAGEN

MAD & KAFFE

I am obsessed with with spot. Dare I say, it’s one of my favourite brunches ever. As a self-proclaimed brunch connoisseur, this is a HUGE statement… So hear me out.

What’s the biggest dilemma you face when you’re out for breakfast for brunch? Well, if you’re like me, it’s the impossible choice between having something savory OR sweet.

Mad & Kaffe makes this choice easy with BREAKFAST TAPAS.

Yes, you heard that right. It isn’t just that the food here is good (although it is very good). But, I love this concept of choosing three, five or, if you’re feeling reeeeal hungry, seven small plates and getting the best of both worlds.

Price: $$ (mid-range)
Mad & Kaffe Copenhagen

Bang & Jensen

For the early weekday risers, Bang & Jensen offers a “Morgenbuffet” or morning buffet from 7:30 until 10:00 for only 65 DKK (roughly 9 EUR). If you have ever caught a glimpse of food prices in Copenhagen you’ll know this is a pretty fantastic deal. 

After 10:00 on weekdays and on weekends, opt for their “Morgenmadstallerken” or breakfast plate for 115 DKK (about 15 EUR) which is an awesome spread of fresh bread, cheese, yogurt and muesli, egg, jam, and – most importantly – coffee with refills included!

Bang & Jensen is also a large space with free wifi, so it offers a really great coworking space in Copenhagen for freelancers looking to get some work done.

Price: $ (cheap eats)

BEST Burger IN COPENHAGEN

Tommi's Burger Joint

Located in the Meatpacking District, Tommi’s Burger Joint is a delicious and affordable restaurant in Copenhagen. The ambiance is great, and the entire area really comes alive in the summer months. I’d also highly recommend opting for the sweet potato fries – they are GOOD.

Price: $ (cheap eats)

BEST INTERNATIONAL EATS IN COPENHAGEN

SMUSHI

Smushi offers an interesting concept that combines the classic Danish open-faced sandwiches and sushi – it is a delicious, fun experience! 

Please note: I just discovered that this place has closed. However, word on the street is that they will be reopening. Check out this link to their website for up-to-date info.

Price: $$ (mid-range)

La Neta Nørrebro

La Neta Nørrebro serves up classic Mexican cuisine in one of Copenhagen’s trendiest neighbourhoods. The interior is super cute, the margaritas are strong, and their taco game is on point.

If you’re in Vesterbro, you can also check out the location there.

Price: $$ (mid-range)

BollyFood

BollyFood is your spot for Indian food in Copenhagen. Located in the Meatpacking District, they offer a good assortment of Indian dishes, delicious samosas and naan bread, and a large drink menu. In the summer, they also have really affordable combo deals where you can pair a cold glass of lassi with your meal.

Price: $$ (mid-range)

BEST PIZZA IN COPENHAGEN

NEIGHBOURHOOD

Neighbourhood is a popular pizza spot in Copenhagen, and after visiting (and going back a second time), I can completely understand why it’s so popular. The pizza is creative and delicious. 

There are two locations in Copenhagen: Istegade and Frederiksborggade. I’ve been to both, and have absolutely zero preference of one versus the other. However, the advantage of going to the Frederiksborggade location is that they take reservations, whereas Istegade does not. This spot is popular, so booking ahead is strongly advised, especially on the weekends.

Price: $$ (mid-range)

BEST STREET FOOD IN COPENHAGEN

REFFEN

Reffen, Copenhagen’s top street food spot, is an item that cannot be missed on any Copenhagen itinerary. Do as the locals do, rent a bike, and escape the outskirts of Copenhagen to Reffen (and make some stops along the way, because this area of the city is so cool). 

Here you can sit along the water, indulge in street food eats at some of the best restaurants in Copenhagen (at the biggest street food market in the Nordics with 41 stalls), shop as the stores scattered throughout the market, listen to live music, and take lots of pictures (because it’s very insta-worthy).

Opening Hours: Reffen is outdoors, and therefore only open in the warmer months (from April until October). Check out their website to confirm their opening hours before visiting.

See Also: My complete city guide to Copenhagen where I dish the details on all my favourite off-the-beaten-path Copenhagen spots, including this place.

Price: $ (cheap eats)
Reffen, Copenhagen
Reffen, Copenhagen

BEST "scandi-inspired" food IN COPENHAGEN

H15

If I could refer to H15 in any way, it would be a “scandi trendy cafeteria.” And while I know that isn’t a thing, it should be – because the food here is great. And the atmosphere is too!

Located in one of my favourite Copenhagen neighbourhoods, The Meatpacking District, is this cosy, casual cafeteria-style spot that makes delicious and affordable dishes with Nordic-inspired and seasonable farm-to-table ingredients (think white bean “mac and cheese” topped with pumpkin and roasted kale, or marinated herring with beetroot).

The menu looks a bit weird at first glace, but trust me when I say the food is SO GOOD. And is the perfect spot for lunch (or dinner).

Price: $$ (mid-range)
H15 Copenhagen

BEST nordic food IN COPENHAGEN

108

If you’re after a premium, authentic Nordic tasting menu, look no further than 108 to satisfy your taste buds because this is easily one of the best restaurants in Copenhagen. The head chef, Kristian Baumann, apprenticed under the famous René Redzepi (head chef at Noma, aka “the best restaurant in the world” – which is also in Copenhagen).

While it is surely a bit easier to get a reservation here than Noma, 108 also offers a premium Nordic dining experience, with all ingredients being locally-sourced. We were in the mood to splurge  on the 10-course tasting menu with wine pairing and it was easily the most extraordinary dining experience of my life. However, if you aren’t in the mood to “go all out,” you can opt for the regular dinner menu, and still have the opportunity to experience top-notch Nordic cuisine.

Price: $$$$ (PREMIUM FINE DINING)
108 Copenhagen

Marv & Ben

If 108 is a out of the budget, Marv & Ben is another outstanding option if you’re looking for an exceptional Nordic meal. Similar to 108, all menu items are locally-sourced and the food is also some of the best I’ve ever had.

Price: $$$ (FINE DINING)
Marv & Ben Copenhagen

Vækst

Another great Nordic dinner spot with the most beautifully greenery-accented interior. I was invited by COFOCO to dine at Vækst earlier this year and it was a great evening. You can read more about that here.

Price: $$-$$$ (Mid-RangE/FINE DINING)

BEST COCKTAIL BARS IN COPENHAGEN

Ruby

I love Ruby so much. Not only do they make high quality cocktails, but their space is so chic, with beautifully lit-up wall-to-wall liquor cabinets, velvet and leather seating, and a dim light that makes you feel like you’re in a 1920s bar. Ruby is popular, but good news – they take reservations. Book your reservation here

Ruby Copenhagen

Duck & Cover

Another speakeasy style spot, Duck & Cover is another easy favourite with a cosy hygge atmosphere, great cocktails, and a fabulous staff.

Brønnum

A sister restaurant to Ruby, Brønnum is another one of my go-to cocktail spots in Copenhagen. A little more laid back then Ruby, I love this spot when I am looking to grab a high quality cocktail in the city centre. And they also take reservations!

1656 Cocktail bar

Ok, I know I’ve referred to “speakeasys” already in relation to other bars. But, if you’re looking for the ultimate speakeasy experience, this is your spot. This is simply based on the fact that it is very difficult to find this bar. We walked past the door a dozen times, convinced we had the wrong address, until we located it behind an very inconspicuous graffiti-filled door. But I promise, this spot is WORTH finding because the cocktails are perfection and the ambiance is plain cool. 

BEST spots for beer IN COPENHAGEN

Mikkeller Bar

There are Mikkeller Bar locations scattered all over Copenhagen, as one of Denmark’s most recognizable craft beer franchises. I particularly love this location in Vesterbro. But, if you’re interested in visiting their other spots, you can check out a list of Mikkeller locations here.

Below, you’ll see one of their pop-up locations at one of the Copenhagen Christmas markets.

Halmtovet 9

Halmtorvet 9 is located in the Meatpacking District and offers affordable drinks and a cool, rustic atmosphere. And while 150 DKK (approx. 20 euros) for a pitcher of beer may seem a bit steep for beer in almost any other country, this is cheap in a city as expensive as Copenhagen. Plus, they have an awesome outdoor courtyard space with space heaters in the winter for an added level of Danish cosiness.

BEST WINE BAR IN COPENHAGEN

nebbiolo Winebar

Nebbiolo Winebar is located in the heart of the city  and offers a really cosy hygge-esque atmosphere for enjoying a glass of vino. If you’re in the mood for a tasty snack, I’d also recommend opting for their cheese or charcuterie boards. They are both beautiful to look at, and tasty.

Nebbiolo Winebar

BEST Coffee shop IN COPENHAGEN

Prolog Coffee

This tiny shop has good coffee and desserts (I had an earl grey tea bread there that was to die for!). Located in the heart of the Meatpacking District, it is also the perfect place to sit outside in the summer months… and the winter months too! This is Copenhagen, after all.

Kaffe

Another tiny spot in the middle of Vesterbro on Istedgade, this is my favourite coffee shop in Copenhagen. I love the tight-knit feel of it, and the coffee is some of the best I’ve had. Word on the street is that it has been coined the unofficial “best coffee in Copenhagen” too.

SEASONAL BONUS MATERIAL

EAT YOUR HEART OUT AT COPENHAGEN CHRISTMAS MARKETS

It’s no secret that I love Christmas markets. So much so, that I have planned entire vacations around seeing certain markets across Europe. This year, we’ll be staying closer to home and exploring some of Scandinavia’s best markets, starting with one of my favourites: Copenhagen’s Christmas Markets

Scattered throughout the city, the Christmas markets of Copenhagen are the perfect spot to find some cheap and delicious holiday eats – And drink all the gløgg your heart desires (warm Danish mulled wine).

 

See Also:  If you love European Christmas markets, check out my guide to Stockholm in the winter here (featuring the best Christmas markets in Stockholm).

Feeling overwhelmed about conquering the food Scene solo?

Or want to make sure you get the full Copenhagen foodie experience? Check out these food tours with my favourite tour company Get Your Guide to experience the city from a locals perspective.

READY TO EAT your heart out IN ONE OF THE WORlD'S beST FOODIE CITIES?

Copenhagen has it all when it comes to food, and is truly a foodie’s paradise. I hope you feel equipped to experience everything this amazing city has to offer and visit the best restaurants in Copenhagen. And if I missed anything, feel free to add it in the comments below. I’m always eager to try new spots.

If you liked this guide, don’t forget to check out my complete city guide to Copenhagen by clicking here.

If you’re heading over to Malmö, don’t forget to check out: The Best Spots Eat and Drink in Malmö Sweden and A Complete City Guide to Malmö.

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The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Copenhagen
The Best Bars in Copenhagen
The best restaurants in Copenhagen
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Simrishamn Beach in October

WOW. Nine months. I’ve officially spent nine months living in Sweden. But seriously… where has the time gone?

Before we dive into this I want to start by saying that I love Canada with all my heart. I am
forever grateful for the ultimate lottery of being born in one of the world’s
best countries. And for the endless opportunities growing up in Canada, and
being a Canadian, has provided me.

But, even though Canada is great (and still #1 in my heart)…

I’m convinced that other countries could learn a thing or
two from the Swedes. Life in Sweden is a bit slower, a bit more balanced, a bit
more “lagom” (if you’re like whaaaat is that?… I explain it a bit more about
it below).

And after living in Sweden, I have some takeaways. Here are the best things about living in Sweden.


1. LAGOM

You probably have heard the Danish concept of “hygge,” which has become synonymous with Danish lifestyle, and is being emulated around the world. Similarly, the Swedish concept of “lagom” is something that has been hyped internationally (I mean, even Vogue was talking about it). However, I had a difficult time actually understanding this concept until I began to immerse myself in Swedish culture.

Lagom |là:gom|: Neither too little, or too much; just right. Doing, being, and having just enough.

This principle is truly indicative of the Swedish lifestyle.
Simple, balanced, and, above all else, contentment. It is about living life in
moderation, and appreciating what you have in that very moment.

I think the outside world has this view of hygge or lagom as a bunch of Scandinavian’s sitting around cozy fireplaces eating kanelbullar (cinnamon buns) – this isn’t true. It is a principle that is ingrained in the culture of the locals, and not something that, in my opinion, can easily be mimicked.

However, I still think that many other countries can learn a bit from the Swedish lagom principle about being content with what you have, and being a little more selfless. Because, ultimately, the reason Sweden has been coined such a great place to live is because they focus on the common good, where hierarchy and status is not important, and everyone is living their own definition of “lagom.”


2. FIKA

Surely you’ve heard of the Swedish concept of fika. It is easily one of the most famous Swedish concepts. But what does it really mean?

Fika |fi:ka|: a Swedish concept meaning “to have coffee” or “coffee with friends,” is typically coffee accompanied by a sweet treat, and is a moment to slow down, and appreciate the good things in life.

Before I moved here, I was aware of the concept. But I was
certain it was just a fun gimmick. Boy, was a wrong.

Fika is a way of life in Sweden. We have “Fredagskaka” or “Friday cake” at work. We get together with friends and family for afternoon fika on the weekend (or even after work). It is a concept dating back to the 19th century and is an integral part of Swedish culture.

And while I love a good cup of coffee and a sweet treat, fika is so much more than that. It is an opportunity to take a break from the nuances of your day to just be with the people closest with you. To catch up. To bond. To tell stories… and laugh. And I mean, how special is that?

See Also: My favourite spots in Malmö for fika.


3. SOMMARSEMESTER

Or, in English, summer holidays.

Taking time for yourself – and enjoying time with your families – is important. That’s why 5-6 weeks of paid vacation is standard in Sweden.

And to add to that, Swedes believe that vacation should be enjoyed for longer than one or two weeks at a time. In fact, in Sweden it is normal to take up to four or five weeks of vacation straight, especially during the summer.

After working at a global Swedish-owned company, I can confirm that Swedes live by the principle that work is important – but that in order to be the best employee, you need take care of yourself (and your family). And that means taking time off without questions or feelings of judgement, whether it be to take a mental break, spend time with family and friends, or see the world. And this is something that I think that countries around the world could learn from.


4. “DET FINNS INGET DÅLIGT VÄDER, BADA DÅLIGA KLÄDER”

Translation: There is no bad weather, there are only bad clothes.

This is easily one of my favourite Swedish sayings. Despite living in the north, Swede’s love to be outside.

In Sweden, the number of summer days a year is limited. Most
days hover around 20 degrees, however it is not unusual for it to be 15 degrees
and rainy in July. And let’s not even get started on the cold, dark winters.

What does this mean for the locals? They make the most of every single sunny day – and spend lots of time outside, even if it’s a bit chilly (or rainy… and it can be very rainy in Malmö). During the summer, it is not unusual, or frowned upon to leave the office early just because it is nice outside. The reason why: nice days are limited, and should be enjoyed. Especially when it is light out until 10:30 pm. As far as Swede’s are concerned, they can make up for it at the office during the cold, dark winter.

However, that doesn’t mean Swedes don’t make the most out of every day. It is not unusual to see Swedes bundled up on a sunny day in March, outside on a patio, having fika with friends (likely with a baby bundled up in a stroller next to them – because yes, the stereotypes are reeeeal. And on that note, the stereotype of fathers on a solo stroller walks with their babies are true too).

See Also: A photo diary of autumn in Skåne, Sweden.


5. SWEDE’S ARE MULTI-LINGUAL

Jag talar Svenska (“I speak Swedish”).

Okay, no I don’t. But I swear I’m working on it. However, learning Swedish is proving to be quite the challenge, because in order to live in Sweden, you really don’t have to speak Swedish.

Did you know that Scandinavian countries are home to some of the best English-as-a-second-language speakers in the world? I mean, after years of cheering on the Detroit Red Wings and their Swedish roster with perfect English, I already knew this. But I didn’t realize that there is some crazy statistic like more than 95% of the population is fluent in English.

This makes it very difficult for an expat like me to learn to speak Swedish – because locals love to practice their English with native speakers.

With that being said, many of the Swedes I’ve met speak more than two languages. They are taught English in school and movies and TV shows are not dubbed (which means they are also expert subtitle readers). Because of this, they have this inherent interest in learning new languages.

Needless to say, I’m totally inspired. And am hoping that in
due time, I can add “proficient in Swedish” to my CV (but I am not getting to
eager yet, because this learning Swedish thing is no joke).


6. YOU DON’T NEED A CAR

Living in Sweden? No car required.

Locals that live in the city almost exclusively travel by
bike. In fact, Malmö is littered with bike lanes and is often considered one of
the most bike-friendly cities in the world.

Alternatively, you can take public transit. You can get virtually anywhere you need to go by bus and/or train – even rural villages. And the public transit operates at nearly all hours of the day, which means you always have an option to get where you need to be.

After living for most of my life in a city where you need a car, never could I have imagined have a 30 minute walk/bus ride to work everyday. But, truthfully, I love my commute. It is a time to get fresh air and listen to my favourite podcasts – all while helping reduce the carbon footprint. Which brings me to my next point…


7. ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY

Surely, at this point, everyone in the world has heard of Greta Thunberg (but in case you’ve been living under a rock, she’s the Swedish teenage environmental activist who has been actively advocating around the world for climate change).

However, after living in Sweden, it doesn’t surprise me that this young environmental trailblazer is a Swedish native – because Swedes are very conscious of the environment.

As I mentioned before, it is not unusual for locals to rely on bikes and public transportation (especially with the price of gas). Additionally, simple initiatives like recycling and composting are made very easy. And don’t even think about buying a disposable water bottle, or using a plastic bag, because you’ll surely be judged. And besides, Swedish drinking water is some of the cleanest (and tastiest) in the world!


8. HIGH TAXES, HIGH REWARDS

Daycare? Free. University? Free. Cleaning services? Subsidized. Healthcare? Mostly free (you’ll never pay more than 1,000 SEK or roughly 100 EUR per year). I could go on and on about all the fantastic government-incentivized programs.

And let’s not forget the parental leave. 480 work days, which is often shared by both parents (yes, you heard that right, it isn’t weird for new dads to take parental leave; in fact, 90 days are required to be used exclusively by the father). This parental leave can also be used until the child is eight years old, which means it also isn’t uncommon for parents to only work four days a week or take extended summer holidays to spend with their families.

Of course, these programs come with the stigma of being costly. And although some of that is true, my income taxes certainly aren’t any higher than they were in Canada (although, sales taxes are a hefty 25%). Despite the stereotype that the Nordic countries are expensive, I don’t feel like my cost of living is higher here than it would be in Canada.

With many basic everyday bills, like cellphones, internet, and education being very affordable, the only thing that is expensive are the “luxuries” like entertainment (going out to eat, or going to the movies), cars, and gas. And really, I’m happy to reallocate that 90% savings on my monthly cellphone bill to a night out with friends, anyways.

See Also: You can read more about my favourite spots for a night out in Malmo here.


9. JANTELAGEN

I know, another word you likely can’t pronounce. This is a
Scandinavian principle that guides how Swedes choose to act, particularly in
the workplace.

Jantelagen |jantɛˌlɑːɡɛn|: You are not to think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than anyone else.

Don’t boast. Don’t brag. Stay humble and grounded. Never
make anyone else feel inferior to you. No one needs to know about your rank in
the hierarchy of your company. Or your new, expensive car.

That, in a nutshell, is Jantelagen.


10. PROXIMITY TO THE REST OF EUROPE

For a travel bug like me, this is easily one of the best things about living in Sweden. I can travel, door-to-door, to Copenhagen Airport in 30 minutes. And Malmö Airport, also nearby, offers budget connections to many European cities for cheap weekend getaways.

Not to mention, there are so many cities accessible by train, including some incredible cities within Sweden (for example, you can get from Malmö to Stockholm in four hours by train, or 50 minutes by flights … which I’ll be doing in a few weeks, so stay tuned for that story!).


And those are, in my opinion at least, the absolute best things about living in Sweden.

Is there anything I missed? If so, add it to the comments below! And if you’re considering moving to Sweden, I’ve wrote all about the Swedish visa process here. You can also read more about expat life in Sweden here.


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