What's Cooking

What’s cooking: Stockholm

27th August 2015

Words: Killian Fox
Photographs: Dan Dennison

During our visit to Stockholm in late June, we wanted to get a sense of what people around the city were cooking at home so we decided to go out and have a peek in their shopping bags.

First we headed to Östermalms Saluhall. This city-centre market, set in a grand brick and cast-iron building dating back to 1888, is a great place to go for traditional Swedish produce. It’s by no means cheap – you can blow a small fortune here on seafood sandwiches and giant cuts of meat – but the produce is fantastic and it’s a nice place to hang out. We spent an hour here chatting to Saturday afternoon shoppers and photographing them with their purchases, most of which was bound for the dinner table that evening.

The other notable food market in the centre of Stockholm is Hötorgshallen. There’s a fruit and veg market outside on the square but when we visited, on Tuesday morning, we headed down to the basement of this (not very picturesque) shopping mall, which is where all the interesting stuff happens. Due in part to its grungy location, Hötorgshallen feels a lot more populist than the Östermalm market. It’s also way more diverse, with stalls selling food from all over the world: Latin America, Lebanon, Turkey.

We spent a couple of hours here being nosy about local people’s shopping habits – and you can see our findings below. This is the first in the What’s Cooking series so keep an eye out for further dispatches from markets and food shops around the world.

Mattias Magnusson

Östermalms Saluhall (M Seger Eftr. Kött & Ost)

“We live on the outskirts of Stockholm but come in to the centre to shop because the stuff here is so much better. In this market you can buy kobe beef and wild things like deer. Today we’ve bought some lamb, beef and vegetables. We’re going to do a little barbeque tonight. We’re having béarnaise sauce with the meat.”


Amelie Sandström

Hötorgshallen (Hav)

“I bought some fish for lunch. It’s called abborre. What’s that in English?[footnote]European perch [/footnote] I’m horrible at fish. Is it pike? It’s a sea fish. Sea pike? [laughs] Anyway it’s breaded, with some parmesan cheese I think, and tomato sauce and some kind of bean salad. I got it for lunch and will eat it at my desk. I work nearby – I’m a planner at an ad agency right across the square. I don’t usually cook at home so it’s good to buy some nice fish for lunch.”


Krister Bengtsson

Östermalms Saluhall (J. E. Olsson & Söner Frukt, Grönsaker & Konserver)

“I’ve bought one steak, six eggs and some peanuts. Oh, and one Pakistani mango – that’s the most important thing.”


Albert and Dominique Lunnerdal

Hötorgshallen (Latinamerikanska Livsmedel)

“It’s very difficult to find good meat in Sweden. We used to live in Brazil so this market, which has food from all over the world, is where we come to get Brazilian meat. We bought some picanha beef[footnote]A prized cut of meat in Brazil, sometimes referred to as the rump cover, rump cap or coulotte. In Brazil, the fat is not removed from the cut until the steak has been cooked [source: Wikipedia] [/footnote], which you cook with Tabasco. Then we bought something special – a salt that you put around the meat to keep the juices locked in. It’s called thick salt. We have a summer house by the lake; we came in today just to stock up and we’re going back there now.”


Jan Kheir and Maria Borgström

Östermalms Saluhall (J. E. Olsson & Söner Frukt, Grönsaker & Konserver)

“We’re from a little town about 100km west of Stockholm called Västerås so we don’t know if this is the best place but the selection is excellent. So far we’ve bought some cheeses, strawberries and a baguette. Are the cheeses Swedish? Hmm, well it’s a mixture. We’ve bought five and one of them is Swedish.”


Daniel Larsson

Hötorgshallen (Himalaya Te & Kaffespecialist)

“I bought some Japanese matcha tea. I recently came back from a week in Tokyo where I tried matcha and really liked it but forgot to bring some back. So I decided to come here and get it. I don’t have a special matcha tea whisk so I suppose I’ll just use a normal whisk.”


Susanna Berg and Åke Wernelind

Östermalms Saluhall (Melanders Fisk & Vilt)

“We’re buying oysters for dinner tonight and we’re going to have them with barbequed lamb. Lucky us! There are two places in the city centre where you can buy good food – this is one, Hötorgshallen is the other.”


Helen Forsberg (with her daughters Nora and Fanny and grandson Nils)

Östermalms Saluhall (Lisa Elmqvist)

“We live in Stockholm and this is a regular place for us to shop. My sister and her husband have one of these stalls: Planet Food. They’re on vacation now so I have to come in at closing time and check everything’s okay. For tonight, I’ve bought some baguettes and shrimps and some things for the shrimps: Rhode Island Sauce and aioli. Dinner is going to be a little bit of everything.”


Östermalms Saluhall is at Östermalmstorg, 114 42 Stockholm; www.ostermalmshallen.se

Hötorgshallen is at Hötorgshallen, 111 57 Stockholm; +46 8 23 00 01, www.hotorgshallen.se

Posted 27th August 2015

In What's Cooking


Words: Killian Fox
Photographs: Dan Dennison

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