Have you heard of the recent trending topic called #SwedenGate? It sprang from several anecdotes shared on Reddit which recall childhood experiences of house guests not being invited to dine while at a Swedish household.
While there are myriad cultural contexts behind this custom, and recent reports do share that this practice has been dying out, it does bring to the spotlight a cuisine heretofore unknown to most Filipinos: Scandinavian food.
Recently, this cuisine became a lot more accessible to us, thanks to IKEA’s Swedish Restaurant at IKEA Pasay. Given the time and energy that shoppers expend while browsing through its displays, it’s a good thing that IKEA opened a self-service cafeteria inside the store. It has proven to be quite popular: during my family’s recent visit, we had to wait in line for thirty minutes to an hour before we were able to enter.
Since it employs a cafeteria-style self-service type of operations, we had to line up at the food counters to choose and collect our food in trays and carry them towards the cashiers. This process is greatly helped by the trollies that IKEA provided, which proved to be a great convenience due to the sheer amount of food we ended up buying.
Once we‘re done getting our food, we settled down to eat at the well-appointed dining area which is furnished with Scandinavian-style tables and chairs. Depending on the number of people in your party, you may opt for the small tables for a party of two or a get the bigger tables that can seat up to eight people.
The menu and operations of IKEA’s Swedish Restaurant are guided by its seven food principles:
- Lagom – Servings that are not too hearty nor lacking, with responsible portions just right to sate one’s hunger.
- Sustainable – Food items should be good for both people and the planet by sourcing ingredients from farms and fisheries that strive to protect the environment, public health, people and communities.
- Plant-based – Food items that celebrate seasonal and diverse ingredients as well as make healthier and sustainable living easy.
- Animal welfare – Fewer animals are used in its menu and all are sourced sustainably from farms that practice humane treatment of livestock.
- Natural – Simple and wholesome dishes that reduce the use of additives while still safeguarding food safety.
- Food is precious – Food waste is a no-no from farm to consumption.
- Food is pleasure – Food is meant to be enjoyed with others, celebrating different cultures that come together.
The fam did take our cue from the greeting “Smaklig maltid!” (“Enjoy your meal!”) as we shared and feasted on our Scandinavian food orders:
We also enjoyed free-flowing Nordic drinks (Php50/person) to go with our food. These are sparkling or still beverages sweetened only with half the usual amount of sugar featuring flavors such as elderberry, lemon, pear, raspberry, lingonberry, and cola distributed on tap at the drink stations.
When we finished our meal, we quickly cleared our table (to do our share in helping IKEA keep its food costs low) and left so that our table can be readily used by the next batch of diners.
I’m glad that my fam was able to experience this foray into Scandinavian cuisine. #SwedenGate may son be a thing of the past, but this family’s love affair with Swedish food is just beginning.
The Swedish Restaurant is located at the 4th Level of IKEA Pasay City and is open daily, from 9:30 am to 9 pm.