The Smorgasbord Crawl. Taste of Solvang & Solvang Centennial Celebration on KCRW's Good Food 89.9 FM, Sat. 11AM or anytime on

Fake renewable energy.

I'm asked quite often which people around the world eat the strangest foods? My answer might not be what you imagine. The Chinese are the obvious front runners, which I won't disagree with considering all of the far out, uncommon and just plain weird foods they eat relative to western culinary standards.

However, the other group of people who can hold their own against the Chinese when it comes to extreme cuisine are the Scandinavians. Yes, Scandinavians. I'm talking about the fair and docile folks from Denmark, Norway and Sweden whose distant relatives used to be marauding Vikings with menacing names like Erik the Red.

No rotten fish today.

Scandinavians with their tough gastronomic DNA enjoy culinary cliff diving dishes like lutefisk, hákarl and surströmming. These are dried white fish reconstituted in lye water, rotten shark and fermented Baltic herring, in that order.

Smorgasbord: Danish for All-U-Can-Eat!!!

When I visited the Taste of Solvang and the Solvang Centennial Celebration last month in Solvang, California near Santa Barbara, I wondered if I'd come across these rare delicacies in the mainly tourist town dressed up with Danish façades and decorative windmills. Sadly, I wouldn't. It's just not the type of place that could move decomposing seafood at a profitable pace. Plus, those foods aren't exactly a Danish thing.

Danish food is more genteel. You'll spy all sorts of nice baked goods, sausages made from finely ground meats, hams, cheeses and, of course, danishes.

2011-03-19 Solvang 050
Great balls of pancake!

One really popular item that had them lining up down the block was a shot put made out of pancake batter. Yes, basically, it was a round pancake, dense yet airy, topped with raspberry jam and powdered sugar. Maybe you made your own version when you were a bored, snot-nosed kid who played with your breakfast.

2011-03-19 Solvang 057
No stacks of pancakes here. Racks, maybe.

Aebleskiver is normally served during the holidays with gallons of glögg, however, in Solvang, this pancake ball is in demand all year round.

2011-03-19 Solvang 053
Just having a ball or three in Solvang.

I learned everything there was to know about this charming little snack at the Taste of Solvang while eating my way through town on its Walking Smorgasbord.

Please listen to my entire Solvang tale and the Walking Smorgasbord on KCRW's Good Food, Saturday, April 9th at 11AM or anytime on

2011-03-19 Solvang 082
Ball maker.

For more info on Solvang and its Centennial Celebration, click Solvang U.S.A..