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Pølse Med Lompe: The Norwegian Hot Dog

A look at the fading Norwegian national dish: Pølse Med Lompe—the lefse-based hot dog.

Before Fredagstacoen took the throne as Norway’s national dish of leisure, the hot dog reigned supreme. Specifically, the pølse med lompe—a wiener sausage wrapped in potato lefse, topped with a selection of accouterments.

Two hot dogs in lompe
Pølse (hot dog) in lompe (potato lefse) topped with ketchup, mustard, and fried onions.

The pølse med lompe was ubiquitous in Norwegian culture. Any self-respecting children’s party would serve them, and pølseboder—hot dog kiosks—stayed open well into the mornings, providing bar patrons with wieners, franks, and other types of sausage-based wraps.

Man buying a hot dog from a stand
A traditional, albeit run down, pølsebod.

That was then, but as Norwegian tastes grew more adventurous, the hot dog fell out of favor. That’s not to say you won’t find pølser at many get-togethers—it’s a favorite on the 17th of May Constitution Day—but no longer is there pølseboder on every street corner. The Guardian ran a piece a few years ago claiming only one was left in Oslo—that’s not entirely accurate, but the kiosks’ glory days have passed. The pølse med lompe is now a domesticated animal.

The “Recipe”

You can quickly prepare yourself a pølse med lompe, even in the US. Traditionally, there are many variations, but, in my mind, the children’s party version is the baseline. To assemble one, follow these simple steps:

  • Boil a wiener dog. Sure, you can also grill a frank, but a boiled wiener is the real thing. You’ll be surprised at the flavor burst from the infused water.
  • Place the pølse on a proper potato lefse. Many stores carry Mrs. Olson’s [sic], which is adequate, though a touch dry. Visit your local Scandinavian specialty store for better options. (All Things Nordic is a Seattle favorite.)
  • Top with ketchup. I’m not a big fan of the condiment, but so goes the rule: Ketchup is a must.
  • And some mustard. Just the regular stuff, nothing too fancy like the Grey Poupon.
  • Strew on some roasted onions. IKEA carries the real stuff, though French’s will do in a bind.
  • Roll the lompe around the pølse for an authentic handheld experience.

And that’s it! A grown-up would often take it further with shrimp salad or other advanced toppings, but I remain a purist. The above pølse is so stuffed with flavor that you don’t need anything too fancy. Embrace your inner child and enjoy pølse med lompe as it was intended.

Unexpected Uses of the Lefse

Those who have experienced the wonders of pølse med lompe often ask me: What other unexpected dishes can the potato lefse be used in? Shortly put, the lompe can always substitute tortillas or pitas. The best example is Fredagstacoen—the lompe is lighter than taco shells or flour tortillas and has an almost transformative effect on the taco. Almost.

Photo Credits

Skal det være en matbit fra pølsehimmelen? Britisk storavis hyller Oslo-kiosk
The Guardian har vært på besøk i den lille pølseboden ved Alexander Kiellands plass i Oslo, den eneste gjenværende av sitt slag, ifølge britene.