Know your reindeer

When it comes to ordering reindeer, know your suovas from your poronpaisti.

Remember that by ordering reindeer from the menu you’re choosing to support a strategic part of the Lapland economy.

Whilst non-Scandinavians are sometimes wary about eating reindeer, it is without doubt the dish of choice for most people of the far north. In taste it resembles beef, though with a more gamey flavour.

It’s extremely low in fat and comes in several varieties:

– thin slices of sautéed reindeer meat (a bit like kebab meat to look at), usually served in a deliciously creamy mushroom sauce with mashed potatoes and lingonberries, are known as poronkäristys in Finnish, finnbiff in Norwegian and renskav in Swedish;

– suovas (Sámi for ‘smoked’) is salted reindeer meat, which is cold-smoked and served in small rounds;

– the other main alternative is a regular steak of reindeer meat, mouth-wateringly tender and very lean, known as poronpaisti in Finnish, reinsdyrstek in Norwegian and renstek/renytterfilé in Swedish.

© Rovaniemi Tourism & Marketing
© Rovaniemi Tourism & Marketing

Remember that by ordering reindeer from the menu you’re choosing to support a strategic part of the Lapland economy.