The Mall of Scandinavia in the Solna district of Stockholm was officially opened less than a month before we arrived in Stockholm. While it claims to be the largest shopping centre in Scandinavia, I think that claim probably takes into account other spaces in the complex that aren’t shops, like the offices or apartments. I found it mid-sized as far as shopping centres go – probably on par with Westfield Bondi Junction, and definitely smaller than complexes like Chadstone in Melbourne. Still, a brand-new shopping centre is always an experience.
Our Airbnb apartment in Stockholm was only minutes away from the complex, so we did spend a day walking around the complex. It was also particularly convenient for quick meals at the end of the day on our way home after a big day out sightseeing – simply walking into the complex and having an early dinner was definitely a bonus. All in all, we had three meals at eateries in the Mall of Scandinavia – all three of which have branches elsewhere in the city of Stockholm for those who might be interested in trying out their menu!
Our first meal was at Sook – a breakfast on our first day in Stockholm after a long afternoon and night when our train from Oslo was delayed and replaced by buses, turning a five hour journey into a thirteen hour ordeal. Understandably, we were more than a little bit shattered the day afterwards, and needed a good breakfast to help wake us up.
We ordered the Shakshuka Pan (110SEK) and the Manakish Zaatar (70SEK) with a drink each (20SEK each). In hindsight, I wouldn’t have ordered the Manakish Zaatar – what I didn’t realise is that Sook offers free flatbread and manakish to all their customers. You can simply go up to the counter and grab as much as you want. Had I known that, I would have ordered something else (perhaps the falafel plate) rather than wasting 70SEK on ordering something I could get for free. Keep that in mind if you go to Sook – ordering from the Bakery menu won’t be particularly good value!
At least we enjoyed the Shakshuka Pan of spiced tomato baked eggs with capsicum, eggplant and zucchini. It’s the perfect example of a hot breakfast that can really help to satisfy you after a terrible evening – spicy, tangy and tasty, but still relatively healthy given it’s really just made up of healthy veggies and protein! I’d order this again, or perhaps try something else from their ‘Pan in the Oven’ menu.
Sook is also located at Kista Galleria and Täby Centrum.
After our breakfast at Sook, we spent a little while walking around the mall and walked past Icha Icha which immediately caught my attention. Obviously you can tell from the name that it’s Japanese-inspired, but what I liked about their setup was the simplicity in the menu, and the ability to customise your own dish. Basically when you order from Icha Icha, you choose a base (egg noodles, rice or ‘low-carb’ zucchini noodles/zoodles), a topping (chicken, salmon fillet, pork or beef), and a sauce (teriyaki, ginger, spicy sour or red curry). Pricing is based on the protein that you choose and you can add on extra base, extra topping or extra sauce if you’re so inclined.
What I also liked about Icha Icha’s menu was its focus on healthy options. Not only do you have the low-carb base option, but each of the bases, toppings and sauces have their calorie counts listed next to them. My order of the low-carb zoodles (50kcal) with salmon fillet (250kcal) and spicy sour sauce (100kcal) came to 400 calories, or 1673 kilojoules. K’s order of the noodles (420kcal) with beef (174kcal) and teriyaki sauce (98 kcal) came to 692 calories, or 2895 kilojoules. If you’re watching your weight (as we should be on a holiday where we’ve easily put on a few kilos each!), this kind of thing is really useful to know!
I highly recommend Icha Icha for those who are a little more health-conscious – it’s a simple but tasty meal (I loved my salmon fillet, and the zoodles as well!), and while it’s a little more expensive than other ‘fast’ food options in Stockholm, you get your money’s worth in healthy eating!
Icha Icha is also located at Kista Galleria and Mood Stockholm.
Max Burger is Sweden’s answer to McDonalds (I believe there are also branches in Norway and Denmark), offering a similar fast food burger experience, but with noticeably increased quality of ingredients. They’ve been around since the 1960s, but are also based firmly in the modern century with electronic ordering at a kiosk in store rather than at the counter (a phenomenon prevalent in Europe which hasn’t quite penetrated into the Australian market), and developments such as mobile app ordering with pickup at your latest store – a new feature that we saw advertisements for while we were in store.
One small point which I liked was that their systems seem to be more people-oriented, rather than purely focused on selling their newest products. While McDonald’s ordering system might encourage you to order their new burger, Max’s feature is “Today’s most popular burgers at this store”, telling you what other people are ordering, and what’s hot right now. This is particularly useful for tourists like us! We ended up ordering a Chicken & Bacon Burger meal and a Pepper Jack & Bacon Burger meal.
The burgers are infinitely superior to McDonalds – you can taste real meat texture in the hamburger patty, and in the case of my chicken burger, it was a real chicken breast in the burger. The fries are superb – extremely crispy and with a strong savoury potato flavour. They also ostensibly offer soft drink refills for 10SEK ($1.64 AUD) but I saw lots of people going up to the drink fountain to refill their drink without paying, so I imagine the suggested extra charge is more of an honour system that many people ignore!
Fast food isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but I have the firm belief that it has its time and place. We’ve eaten fast food a few times on this trip – one notable time when we’d spent 10 hours driving in the car and all we had energy for was a quick meal at McDonalds before collapsing into bed in our cheap French motel. In Stockholm, K in particular needed a meal at Max Burger after I made him visit the ABBA museum with me – something quick, cheap, tasty, easy and satisfying was all he had energy for!
For a full list of Max Burger locations, visit their website.
There you have it – three different Stockholm-based casual eateries offering everything from Middle Eastern food, to fast food burgers, to healthy choices. All three can be found in the newly-opened Mall of Scandinavia in Solna, but can also be found in other locations around Stockholm. Casual eating has its place in expensive Stockholm as the average traveller definitely can’t afford fancy meals out every day in this expensive city!
Mall of Scandinavia is located at 2 Stjärntorget, Solna, Stockholm.