Chanoy Honeymoon: Copenhagen, November 2015

Note – photo gallery at the bottom of this post.

Our time in Copenhagen coincided with the celebration of our wedding anniversary. I’ve already talked a little bit about the amazing anniversary meal we had at Amass, but I also wanted to touch upon a few other reasons why it was the perfect place to spend our anniversary week.

Firstly, we paid a bit more than we normally would for our accommodation. This meant that we had a nicer Airbnb apartment in a very cool neighbourhood where we could properly relax, chill out, and enjoy some downtime at night. This apartment included a good quality bed with a memory foam mattress topper, a lounge room with a projector TV, and a fully-stocked kitchen with an oven where we could cook a roast – a far cry from a small studio apartment where you have a single hotplate and a single frypan to cook your meals.

Secondly, we were blessed with decent weather while we were there – cold, but sunny. There were some days that were a bit rainy and windy, but there’s enough indoor attractions in Copenhagen to make up for it. Most importantly, the first snow of the season happened on the day of our anniversary – we watched kids having snow fights in the street below our apartment as the world around us was transformed into a winter wonderland.

Thirdly, as I’ve just mentioned Copenhagen has some excellent indoor museums and galleries – most of which are free on at least one day of the week. This comes in very handy when you’re in one of the most expensive cities in Europe but still want to go out and do things!

So, what did we do while we were there? We did galleries and museums – the National Gallery and the National Museum, both of which were free entry on the days we went. We did a very comprehensive free walking tour of Copenhagen with an English guide named Roger, and a second walking tour around the island of Christianshavn with a foray into the ‘free living’ area of Christiania. We spent a day walking around our neighbourhood of Norrebro, ducking into little design shops along the way. We visited landmarks like the Opera House and the Little Mermaid statue, and watched the changing of the guard at Amalienborg Palace (where we selfied in front of ‘Our Mary’s’ house). We visited a number of Christmas markets around the city. We did a day trip to Malmo in Sweden.

We ate – of course! Our anniversary meal at Amass was a highlight, as was our meal at Baest after an afternoon movie. We had a traditional Danish smorrebrod lunch at Hviids Vinstue, and ate six hotdogs during our stay. We also had some Danish pastries (ha!) along the way from both small independent bakeries and larger bakery chains. We also splurged on buying some nice produce and cooked some nice meals at home – a good grilled steak, some roast vegetables, and more.

The beautiful thing about Copenhagen is that it’s a very liveable city. While everything is more expensive, they really make things easier for residents, if a little bit harder for tourists. As someone said to me, as a resident they pay only 360DKK a month for their travel pass – whereas tourists pay almost 200 DKK just for a three-day pass. At least the fact that everyone speaks flawless English does make things easier for tourists to get around – there’s no expectation that you should know Danish, reputed to be one of the hardest languages to learn.

Copenhagen is a beautiful city, and I’d love to visit Denmark again. Next time, I’d like to see more of the country outside its capital, visiting some of the more regional areas. K in particular was disappointed that we’d missed out on visiting Legoland by just a few weeks (it closes in winter), so we’ll definitely have to go back for that!

Hot Dogs in Copenhagen, Denmark

The humble hotdog is a Danish culinary tradition – there are hotdog stalls located on key intersections and transit points all across Copenhagen (and the whole country!). It’s not uncommon for people to quickly grab a hotdog to eat while waiting for the bus, or just as a quick snack to satiate hunger pangs before heading out for a late dinner.

Given that Copenhagen is very expensive for a traveller who’s become accustomed to the prices in countries like Portugal, Spain and Germany, hotdogs became our food of choice when out and about. Most days we would pack a light lunch (sandwiches and a piece of fruit), and supplement our meals with a hotdog in the afternoon. All in all, we ended up having six hot dogs during our stay in Copenhagen.

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Our first dog was a standard hot dog topped with both fresh and fried onions, pickles and different sauces from the Helle’s Poelser hotdog stall at Norreport station while we waited for our bus back to our Airbnb apartment in Norrebro.

The most popular hotdog sauces are ketchup, mustard and remoulade – and this seems to be a standard topping for hotdogs everywhere. Interestingly, the hotdog bun itself is only about half the length of the sausage, so it makes for particularly treacherous eating as you run the risk of losing the structural integrity of the dog and spilling pickles and onions all over yourself.

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Our second hotdog was a ‘French hotdog’, or a Fransk Hotdog, from a stall outside Christianshavn metro station. The French dog is very simple compared to the usual Danish dogs with their elaborate toppings, consisting of a simple sausage with a squirt of mustard stuck into a warmed and toasted bun.

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Our third dog was a ristet hotdog from Mikey’s Corner in our local area of Norrebro, located at one of the major intersections near the cemetery. This was very similar to the first hotdog that we ordered, but with what seemed to be a slimmer and longer sausage, and fewer toppings. Again, it was served in a tiny bun.

This was when we started to realise that not all hotdogs are made equal. While it seems that a lot of the hotdogs are supplied by one of a handful of Danish suppliers so there’s consistency in that sense, there’s also many different ways that stalls can distinguish themselves – perhaps thinner, sweeter pickles, or crispier fried onions. In this case, the pickles were definitely sweeter and not as deliciously tangy and sour as the pickles from our first hot dog.

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We became a little more adventurous with our fourth hotdog from Hos Tina & Michael, a stall located on the plaza near the entrance to Kongens Nytorv metro station. We ordered the Kaempe hotdog with a svob sausage – where the sausage is wrapped with bacon before being grilled. This was definitely an indulgence and a half, with the deliciously salty and savoury bacon drippings soaking into the bun. The sausage was a lot plumper, and seemed a lot meatier than the other sausages – this is more of an Aussie barbeque sausage, rather than a frankfurt.

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Our second-to-last hotdog in Copenhagen was from John’s Hotdog Deli outside Copenhagen Central station. John’s Deli is one of the brightest lights of the Copenhagen hotdog scene, with John apparently one of the most adventurous experimenters in the hotdog industry – while he’ll do all the standards, he’ll also offer seasonal specials like the “Jule/Christmas Hotdog” we saw on offer. We went for something plain and simple though – another French hotdog.

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With 40 Danish kroner left in my wallet as we waited at Copenhagen airport for our flight to Alesund in Norway, we thought we might as well have one last hotdog to use up our Danish currency. We found a Steff Houlberg hotdog stand in one of the terminals and ordered the ‘big and spicy hotdog’ which was essentially a fat chorizo-style sausage served in a hotdog. It still used the same small bun, and had the same toppings, but with a different sausage. This was actually quite delicious and juicy – I got surprised with my first bite into the hotdog as spicy sausage juices spurted everywhere!

So there you have it – six different hotdogs in Copenhagen. It really is a Danish tradition, so I encourage you to have a hotdog (or six!) if you visit Copenhagen – you can go to almost any hotdog stand and get a pretty delicious dog to eat. If you can’t wait until you get into the city, you can even have a hotdog as soon as you land at the airport – there’s a stand at the baggage carousel area as well, so have a hotdog as you wait for your luggage to come out!

Review: Hviids Vinstue, Copenhagen Denmark

On our free walking tour of Copenhagen, our British guide Roger stood in front of the Magasin department store on Kongens Nytorv, explaining how it used to be a hotel, renting rooms out to the likes of Hans Christian Anderson who lived there when he first moved to Copenhagen to try breaking into the theatre as an actor.

“And just down the road there on the corner,” he said, “is a little Danish pub that’s been around for hundreds of years. They do a great lunch deal for only 75 kroner with smorrebrod and a drink if you’re interested – I go there all the time with my friends.”

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That little pub turned out to be Hviids Vinstue – I won’t pretend to know how to pronounce the name, but I venture that it’s probably something like “Hivi Vins”, as the Danish seem to swallow the second half of all their words! Hviids Vinstue in winter is very different to what it’s like in summer – in winter they boast about having Denmark’s best festive glogg drink, and in summer, the pavement outside the pub is lined with tables and chairs for customers to enjoy a glass of beer out in the sunshine.

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The beer of choice in Hviids Vinstue is Tuborg, the competitor to Denmark’s more famous Carlsberg beer. We were told by our guide that one’s choice of beer becomes a real point of contention in Denmark as one always has an allegiance to one of the two premium brands. This stems back to times when almost everyone in Copenhagen had a relative who worked for either one of the brands, and he told a story where he turned up at his friend’s house with a 6-pack of Tuborg, only for his friend’s grandfather to insist that he leave it outside as he was a life-long Carlsberg employee.

Having tried both beers, K doesn’t really have any allegiance to either – in his words, Tuborg is just as drinkable as Carlsberg. Clearly he would never become a true Copenhagener.

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The lunch offer is for one drink (beer for K, orange juice for me) with three assorted smorrebrod of the pub’s choice. Luckily, our waiter brought out six different smorrebrod for us, so that we could try a bit of everything. On this plate, the pate and pickle smorrebrod was probably my pick – the savoury meaty pate was set off particularly well by the sweet and salty pickle.

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Of the other three smorrebrod, the fish ceviche smorrebrod was probably my favourite. The ceviche was served in a little silver patty case next to the brod, so it’s an ‘assemble your own smorrebrod’ situation. I thought the sourness and freshness of the ceviche was really more-ish, and much more memorable than the boring boiled egg and tomato combination.

Overall, if you’re looking for a pretty standard Danish smorrebrod lunch experience, Hviids Vinstue on Kongens Nytorv offers a great value lunch in a central part of Copenhagen. It’s probably the best value lunch you’ll find – certainly much cheaper than most other meals in expensive Copenhagen. The only thing that beats it on price and authenticity is a hotdog from a Danish hotdog stand…and that I’m saving for my next blog entry!

Hviids Vinstue is located at 19 Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen.