Norway LOVES “fredagstaco.” And Now I Do, Too
Exploring the “fredagstaco” (taco Friday) tradition, also known as the most delicious, easy, and Norwegian way to kick off your weekend.
“The reach of taco in Norwegian society has spread and seeped into the cultural identity of Norwegians so deeply that it currently holds a seemingly irreplaceable position in household eating habits,” explains Miriam Angela Folland. Many Norwegians do gather for a “fredagstaco” dinner with their loved-ones to celebrate the upcoming weekend. They build their own tacos from a buffet-style spread that includes a range of ingredients such as fried minced meat or vegan alternatives, tomatoes, cheese, and guacamole.
To delve deeper into this Norwegian tradition, I spoke with 5 Oslo-based current and former students.
Taco Tales from Oslo
Vegetarian Tacos: A Tasty Alternative
“Ask a Norwegian you know if you can have a taco Friday dinner together – taco is something social!”
Brigitha's taco tip
Birgitha, a UiO student and Oslo native with a passion for politics, shared with me her love for the Norwegian taco tradition. She explained, “My parents remember when taco came to Norway – they remember the before and the after, but for me taco has always been a part of my life, and I have lots of good memories from eating tacos.”
Birgitha prepares tacos whenever she needs an easy meal, not only on Fridays. She makes sure to involve everyone in the preparation process. As a vegetarian, she goes for a bean-based filling with a taco spice mix. Once everything is ready, different toppings are passed around the table for people to add to their tacos.
Birgitha told me how different Norwegian families have different special ingredients, some adding for example pineapple to their tacos. She shared: “Everyone has a personal order for putting things in the taco. I start with the sauciest ingredients such as hot salsa and creme fraiche, followed by warm beans, and then cheese so it can melt a bit. Then I add toppings like spinach, bell pepper, cucumber, and very finely chopped red onion.” For a crunchier texture, she likes putting nacho pieces in the taco. And for those of you interested in trying a salmon taco, Birgitha recommends adding small pieces of mango on top for a touch of sweetness.
One of the rare moments when an unknown Norwegian approached Birgitha in the street was taco related: “I was celebrating my birthday on a Friday, we had ordered a lot of pizza and we were walking home with it. Then a woman I didn’t know jokingly asked us, ‘Is this a protest against taco Friday?’”
“Try eating your taco with kidney beans in chili sauce. If you want some extra protein you can add lentils!”
Elias’s taco tip
“Fredagstaco”: More Than Just a Meal
Elias is a UiO student from Oslo pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Pedagogy. He sees the “fredagstaco” as more than just a meal. For him, it is “a celebration of the weekend and a fun thing to do with the people you love!”
To make his taco, Elias usually opts for tortillas over taco shells, as they are less messy, but he likes the taste of taco shells as well. Being a vegetarian, he prepares it with soy meat cooked in the same way as regular meat, just for a shorter time. Another meat alternative that Elias suggests is chili beans: “I put butter or olive oil in a pan and fry garlic and onion until they reach a golden color. Then I add the beans and let them heat up.” Elias’s family uses the Mexican fajita spice instead of the taco spice mix found in supermarkets for their taco filling.
To heat up taco tortillas or shells, Elias recommends putting them in the oven for a bit. Tortillas should be covered in foil to keep them soft, while shells can be heated uncovered to make them even more crispy. Elias also advises, “Make sure not to overfill your taco!”
Some people prefer to drink soda, coke, or even cold milk with their taco to help with the spiciness, but Elias usually sticks to water. During a “fredagstaco” dinner, he enjoys watching TV with his family, especially The Big Bang Theory.
“Customize everything: do your taco your own way!”
Eivind’s taco tip
From Minced Meat to Mango
Eivind, an Oslo based screenwriter from Tønsberg and former UiO student, associates taco with an upcoming weekend. During our interview, Eivind shared, “I am glad that taco came to Norway!” He prepares his tacos mostly on Fridays using minced meat, taco spices, rømme (sour cream), and an array of other ingredients such as beans, tomatoes, salad, taco sauce, mango, guacamole, and sometimes even leftovers. He occasionally makes shrimp tacos, too.
Eivind describes taco as a way of eating that brings people together: “You are forced to connect to all parts of the table to hand out the toppings and that makes it more social.” To ensure the tortilla closes properly, he advises against overfilling it and likes to mix all the ingredients up a bit before closing it. Eivind enjoys eating tacos with both friends and family. Although he cannot recall when he tasted tacos for the first time, he does remember when his grandparents tried it out and how they made the taco “extra” Norwegian, something that can not be explained and has to be seen first hand.
“Make it a collective cooking experience rather than your own, and invite people!”
Elleni’s taco tip
Tacos, Disney Shows, and Family Bonding
Elleni is a Nursing BA student at OsloMet who has been living in Norway since she was 9 years old. Elleni shared: “Taco Fridays are a family thing for me. When we came to Norway, my parents wanted to make us feel included in Norwegian culture, they always did the small things that we didn’t even think about. That’s how I got introduced to the ‘fredagstaco’ tradition.” When she was younger, she and her little sister would make the tacos: “Tacos were so easy that it didn’t really matter how old we were, we would go to the kitchen and we dominated. Taco was kind of our comfort meal.” It was mostly on Fridays that they ate tacos, sitting around the couch and watching new episodes of their favorite shows on Disney Channel.
“When I think about tacos, I think about the Meny supermarket, since they sometimes have a sale in the taco department.” She likes to buy the crunchy taco shell, and if she uses a tortilla, she will include pieces of the crunchy shell or nachos inside. Elleni’s go-to taco is made with chicken and different toppings such as rømme, tomatoes, salad, and cucumber. Her family makes their tacos with the spiciest salsa sauces and adds extra spices. “Always put the rømme on the bottom and always put the salsa on top”, Elleni advises.
“There are a few places that sell authentic tacos in Oslo, but if they serve them with rømme, or if they are sweet, you are in the wrong place! For a snack at home, you can always grab a lompe, add a little Norvegia cheese, and melt it. That's a quesadilla, a taco cousin that's amazingly easy for a midnight snack.”
Liza’s taco tip
From Mexico to Norway
Elleni and Elias both shared with me that they want to learn more about the Mexican style taco. I knew just the right person to talk to – Liza! Born and raised in Mexico, she has been living in Norway for more than 10 years. She is a Screen Cultures MA student at UiO who is also taking courses in Materials Science and Nanotechnology.
“In Mexico, taco is a whole culture by itself,” explained Liza. Taco is the name of the special way of eating, where you put something inside a tortilla or bread, fold it, and eat it. Tacos can vary based on the city you live in and even the time of the day: “There are, for example, the morning chorizo and egg tacos, steamed tacos popular with students, smaller fried tacos eaten at night, and more nutritious 3-in-the-morning-tacos – excellent hangover food.”
Liza told me about her first memory of a Norwegian taco: “When I came to Norway and they gave me a taco, I was like: ‘What is this?!’ I had never seen anything even similar in Mexico, so for me it was a shock!” She was very surprised by the rømme that Norwegians add to their taco and also by the spices used. Now she has learned to view the dish as a “Norwegian Taco” and she has grown fond of it: “It is actually really good!”
Trying out the Norwegian taco tradition for the first time ever!
After my taco investigations, I was inspired to host my very own “fredagstaco” dinner with my roommates, Elleni and Tz-Shiuan, and a close friend and fellow Inter Universitas journalist, Salome.
Opting for tortilla tacos with a choice of beans or chicken as the base, we prepared an array of toppings according to the tips and tricks I had gathered from my interviews. Just as the people I interviewed had promised, making tacos with friends turned out to be an incredibly fun, easy, and delicious experience!
Tacos From Inter Universitas – ingredients for 4 people:
- 2 cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon of butter
- 100g of shredded cheese (gulost works well)
- 1 package of nachos
- 8 big tortillas
- 1 packet of taco seasoning
- 1 jar of salsa sauce
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 ripe avocados, sliced
- 250g of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 package of baby leaf salad
- 1 container of sour cream (rømme)
Preparation time: ½ hour
After trying out “fredagstaco,” I created the following recipe, using what I had learned from my interviews, as well as my own experience:
Preheat a large pan over medium heat. Add the drained and rinsed kidney beans, 1 tablespoon of butter, and the taco seasoning. Stir to coat the beans and cook until heated through.
While the beans are cooking, wash and prepare the vegetables. Finely chop the red onion, slice the avocados, halve the cherry tomatoes, wash the salad and set them aside in separate bowls.
Warm up the tortillas in a pan for a couple of minutes.
Serve the cooked beans and all the other ingredients in bowls on the table.
To assemble your tacos, start with a warm tortilla, add a spoonful of sour cream, a scoop of the cooked beans, a sprinkle of shredded cheese, some cherry tomatoes, chopped red onion, a few slices of avocado and salad. Top it off with crispy nacho pieces and salsa before closing the tortilla.
For extra inspiration, check out Norwegian vlogger and entertainer Sunny’s YouTube video, where apart from her own recipe you will find an easy tortilla-wrapping technique.
Enjoy your delicious homemade tacos!