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Food shopping in Denmark!

No matter where you are from, almost everything in Denmark is expensive. Food is no exception, and here we are going to look at how to shop cheaply for food and where to find ingredients for different dietary requirements.

AU Photo: Søren Kjeldgaard

In order to shop cheaply, you must use supermarkets.  Internationally recognized budget supermarkets, such as Aldi, Netto and Lidl, can be found everywhere.  In Denmark that list also extends to Fakta (Danish) and Rema 1000 (Norwegian).  We suggest starting your weekly shop at one of these: although quality can vary wildly, the basics will be very affordable.  Next, you can visit the larger supermarkets, such as Føtex, Kvickly and Super Brugsen, for anything you can’t get at the cheaper stores. These stock a much wider variety of products at a more consistent quality but are comparatively more expensive than the budget stores.  This is the standard way to shop in Denmark and you will often find a budget supermarket and a larger supermarket in close proximity to each other.

Good quality vegetables, meats and fish can be found in individual shops such as green grocers, butchers, fish mongers and delis.   Mostly, you get what you pay for, and these will be much more expensive than the supermarkets.

Local markets can be very reasonably priced and good fun to walk around.  Bazar Vest in Brabrand contains over 100 shops, including a huge fruit and vegetable market; Turkish and Arab bakeries; and oriental grocers.  The shops are full of lentils, beans and spices that you cannot get elsewhere.  Prices are good and there are a lot of other non-food related shops here. www.bazarvest.dk  Ingerslev Marked is held every Wednesday and Saturday from 7am until 2pm in the biggest square in Aarhus on Ingerslev Boulevard.  There is a large selection of vegetables, fruit and flowers, as well as cheese, meats and handicrafts.  You can find more information here (in Danish) http://www.erantis.dk/guide/danmark/aarhus/torv-ingerslevs-boulevard.htm

Special Dietary Requirements: being vegetarian or vegan is unusual in Denmark and therefore harder than in many other European countries.  People who don’t are gluten intolerant will not fare too badly here with the abundance of rye bread and other alternatives, and most supermarkets have a wheat-free section.  Supermarkets tend to be hit-or-miss for the lactose intolerant, although things are changing in this regard.  Generally, the bigger the supermarket, the better your chances of finding the ingredients you need.  Most big supermarkets will stock some soya products and maybe even rice milk and other alternatives.   Sometimes you will find ready-made vegetarian food.  Tinned beans, lentils, chickpeas and pulses are not widely available but dried pulses are much easier to find. There are a few halal butchers and grocers Aarhus (including in Bazar Vest, see above).  These can also be good places to buy vegetables; delicacies like olives and hummus will be of good quality.  There are plenty of health food shops Aarhus and other large towns: tend to be very well stocked for any dietary requirement, and although more expensive, vegetarians and vegans will find some good products here.  Asian supermarkets are common, where you can find all manner of interesting ingredients that are harder to find or cheaper than in the supermarkets, including soy products and tinned lentils, beans or chickpeas.  You can also bulk buy dried pulses, bags of rice, nuts etc. very cheaply.  

Wherever you choose to buy your food, remember to bring bags with you!  Smaller shops do not provide bags and the larger ones provide ‘bags for life’ which you must pay for.

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