Norwegian queue culture

posted in: cross-culture, oslo 0


I think this ad, by the public transportation authority of Oslo (ruter), is hilarious–and passive-aggressive. It says: “THANKS for showing a queueing culture…”. And yet if you’ve ever been on a bus or train in Norway you would know that Norwegians don’t queue, they mob (while jabbing with their elbows, or at least that’s how it feels to me). Same thing happens at the canteen at work–while the foreigners have carefully and patiently formed a queue, some Norwegians don’t appear to notice and just cut straight to where they want to go. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and say they just don’t have a “queue culture”.

Go ruter.

the oslo cronut

posted in: food, oslo 0

oh, did I fail to mention that I’ve tasted the cronut here in Oslo?


Quite tasty, and didn’t cost me $100 on the black market. (Surprisingly, at 29 kroner it’s about the same price as in New York–and not any more expensive than other pastries here.) You can get them at Maschmanns, an ultra fancy (read: awesome) food market in Skøyen.

korketrekkeren: the best tobogganing you’ll ever do

posted in: oslo 1

Winter is generally a crappy time to visit Oslo: it’s cold, it’s dark, and it ain’t pretty. But upon my family’s visit this February, I decided to take my brother out to try Korketrekkeren (“the corkscrew”), a toboggan run I’d often heard about. So one afternoon we took the subway all the way to the end (about a 45-minute ride), dropped the parents and baby off at Kafe Seterstua, and found the rental shop next door to grab toboggans (and helmets).


Why in the world didn’t I try this sooner?? The track was amazing! Apparently it used to be the bobsled track for the Winter Olympics (Oslo = 1952), but now it’s a lit, groomed path solely for toboggans, complete with bumps (or were those jumps?)! With a length of 2 km (and a 255 m drop), the run conveniently starts and ends at a subway stop (Frognerseteren to Midtstuen), so all you have to do is hop on the train and ride the seven stops back to the top. (Whoever came up with this idea is a genius, a genius!)

Fellow sledders waiting for the subway at Midtstuen

Notice that none of these sledders are kids… 😉

meet the somalis

posted in: cross-culture, oslo 0

meet the somalis

Over the past year, my colleague Cindy Horst has been researching how inclusion and exclusion processes have affected the Somali community in Oslo. As part of a larger “Somalis in European Cities” project, it has just released a wonderful set of illustrated stories depicting life in seven different cities around Europe (click image above to access). Somalis are one of the largest and perhaps most conspicuous refugee groups in Norway, and do not receive the most flattering portrayals in the media–particularly given the recent Westgate attacks being potentially linked to a Somali-born Norwegian. But these stories illustrate the diversity of asylum-seeker experiences here, from the difficulties of those who wait years before being “processed” by the state, to the children of refugees who want little to do with Somali culture. Check it out!

Meet the Somalis is a collection of 14 illustrated stories depicting the real life experiences of Somalis in seven cities in Europe: Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Leicester, London, Malmo, and Oslo. The stories allow readers a unique insight into what everyday life is like as a Somali in Europe. Meet the Somalis is based on the firsthand testimonies of Somalis in Europe interviewed during six months in 2013.

the ultimate in food laziness

posted in: food, oslo 1

saw this in the freezer section of our local (Kiwi) grocery store yesterday:

frozen toast

since when did toast become so difficult and time-consuming that we would need a ready-made frozen version of it? only in Norway. (or at least I hope so.)

focacceria (villa paradiso)

posted in: food, oslo 0

One of our favourite places to eat in Oslo is Focacceria, a small takeout joint run by Villa Paradiso (which is the best pizzeria in town, hands down). The focaccia is amazing; this is my favourite, with eggplant, buffalo mozzarella, basil and tomato:


Focacceria is just up the side street from Villa Paradiso, and ever since discovering it we’ve basically stopped going to the latter: the focaccia is just as good (if not better) than the pizza, and as a bonus we avoid the constant lineups at VP. In addition to several types of tasty focaccia with different toppings, Focacceria also sells pre-packaged dough, tomato sauce and flour (but I’ve found a much cheaper place for the special flour–more on that later).

As in Villa Paradiso, the servers are often Italian (even listening to Italian radio) and don’t speak Norwegian. This is only bizarre because we know the owners aren’t Italian. All to make it seem more authentic? Who knows, but it’s great!


Markveien 34

crêperie de mari

posted in: food, oslo 0

I was never tempted to go in when you were just a little crêperie on torggata. But now that you’re a full-fledged restaurant attached to a yuppie swedish store in Grünerløkka, you’re irresistible.

crêperie de Mari

nice crêpes, too. (I think this was the “italiano,” with pesto, olives and pine nuts.)

Crêperie de Mari (facebook page)
Thorvald Meyersgate 63-67
0552 Oslo

norwegian advertising

posted in: cross-culture, food, oslo, video 1

Sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever understand Norwegian mass culture. This ad for vanilla sauce, for example:

endelig skrukork

NYHET! Endelig med skrukork! (“NEW! Finally with a screw cap!”)

It doesn’t market any other feature. No great taste, no new recipe, just… a screw cap. Read More

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