Earlier this month, I traveled to Copenhagen, a city built on canals that has retained its beauty and enterprise.
One highlight of Copenhagen was lunch at Noma 2.0. My friend who was showing me around Copenhagen made the reservation a full three months in advance. Her enthusiasm had been slowly growing on me. That and the anticipatory and artistic youtube videos.
Chef Rene Redzepi’s idea for Noma is to prepare meals around the seasons based on ingredients harvested from the Nordic region. Gathered may be a better descriptor. As in ‘hunted and gathered.’ We were lucky enough to catch the last week of Noma’s seafood menu (see list at the end of this blog). A fourteen course and three hour meal filled with flavors and textures I have never experienced before and likely never will again.
Due to all the exotic dishes I saw in the videos, I was nervous going into the meal that I would be unsure which utensils to use and what to eat and what not to! Thankfully, each dish was presented by the cook who prepared the meal, with instructions on how to enjoy it.
The space the Noma crew has created is truly breathtaking. It is open air; filled with natural light. Everything speaks closeness to nature.
Noma was a once in a lifetime gastronomic experience – the flavors, the textures, the variety and the unfamiliarity.
At the end of this journey, my friend (shout-out to Batzul) was forward enough to ask for a photo with Rene. Batzul was quick to point out we were from Mongolia. And Rene, in turn, was quick to acknowledge our unique cooking and eating traditions, including our multitude of dairy products and… bloodtapping! I did not know bloodtapping was a tradition in Mongolia. To be taught about my history by a Dane – that is truly something else. I am still gathering information on this, but apparently riders on long journeys (messengers, warriors, etc.) would tap into the artery of their horse and drink the blood for nutrition and energy. The horse probably suffered, but remained alive. I wonder if this is still practiced today, considering how many Mongolians still herd livestock? I wonder how Rene learned of this tradition? So many questions.
This goes to show there is always more to learn. And Rene definitely earned my respect as a chef for knowing more about Mongolian eating tradition than I. His passion as a chef really showed.
Thanks, Batzul, for the invitation and experience.
And here is the only photo I took at Noma – of plankton juice.
Noma Seafood Menu
- sea snail broth
- razor clams
- best of the mussel
- dried fruits and shrimps
- cured trout roe and eggs
- seafood platter (scallop, mahogany clam, limfjords oyster, sea urchin, dried sea cucumber)
- squid in seaweed butter
- sea snails and roses
- head of the cod
- pear and roasted kelp ice cream
- cloudberries and pine cones
- sugar kelp tart
- plankton cake
- green gooseberry
- saffron and arctic thyme
- pumpkin seed and plankton
- smoked octopus and aronia
- tomato and fig leaf