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Being Vegan in Northern Norway

As a long term vegetarian now living in the arctic, I have been more than aware of the perceived difficulties of maintaining alternative diets and in particular veganism here in rural Norway.

“Eating meat and fish means survival”

When I first travelled to Lyngen in 2011, I have to say being a vegetarian was a bit of a challenge, particularly when eating out, however this has changed significantly over the last few years. I have a good friend who affectionately refers to me as the “village idiot” as he could not get his head around the fact I didn’t eat meat or fish. “Up here in the arctic” eating meat and fish means survival, especially in a land that can sustain nothing accept some hard core reindeer in the darkest coldest winters, so vegetarianism and veganism is not fully understood in this context.

Challenge

Living in the Arctic Circle is a challenge, as nothing much grows here and the communities rely on local meat and fish and other produce that is imported. Lyngseidet itself currently has one small supermarket (this is about to change with another one opening in the middle of June 2019) which services the whole area. With limited shelf space, and with the majority of people eating more traditional foods, the more perceived specialist markets were often overlooked so it was initially difficult to find simple things like soya milk, yogurts and other plant based foods.

Good choices available

Although fresh vegetables are readily available the majority are imported and this in itself can cause “ethical debates” so it’s now wonderful to see how much the area has (in my opinion) changed and the good choices that are available even in a relatively small place for vegetarians and vegans.

Hidden amongst the moose steaks

Soya, plant based milks and other vegan products are readily available including vegan “mince”, schnitzels, meat substitute products and deserts. I personally love the “Halsans Kok” products where you can get a variety of tasty vegan meals and the COOP supermarkets have introduced their own products called “Vegetar Dag” and have items like mushroom burgers, and the majority of the items are veganisk (suitable for vegans). You will have to hunt for these items in the shops (sometimes they are hidden amongst the moose steaks for example) and due to the limit on space there is not a dedicated area for these items, however they are there and its simply amazing to see new products arriving on a regular basis.

All dietary requirements

At Lyngen Adventure we take pride in the fact that we cater for all dietary requirements and if you attend one of our tours please be rest assured your will get something tasty and wholesome to eat. We can provide a range of foods to suit the majority of different diets be it vegetarian or pescatarian, vegan or gluten free, so you can relax knowing that not only can you have a unique and exciting adventure, you won’t go hungry either.

Useful Phrases (English to Norwegian)

  • Vegetarian – Vegetarianer
  • Vegetarian Food – Vegetar mat
  • Vegan – Vegan
  • Meat Free – Kjøttfri
  • Gluten Free – Glutenfri

When checking for ingredients:

  • Bacon – Bacon
  • chicken – Kylling
  • eggs – Egg
  • milk – Melk
  • fish – Fisk (Torsk, sei, hyse, ørret, laks)
  • reindeer – Reinsdyr
  • moose – Elg
  • beef – Okse/Storfe
  • Pork – Svin/Gris
  • lamb – Lam/kje
  • cheese – Ost
  • gelatine – Gelatin
  • animal fat – Fett/Spekk/Smult/talg