10 Must-Visit Affordable Eats in Sweden: A Backpacker’s Guide to Swedish Cuisine

10 Must-Visit Affordable Eats in Sweden: A Backpacker’s Guide to Swedish Cuisine

Sweden is often regarded as a pricey destination, but don’t let that deter you from exploring its unique culinary landscape. As a backpacker, you can still savor the delicious and diverse Swedish cuisine without breaking the bank. This guide highlights ten affordable yet fantastic eateries across Sweden, each offering a taste of the country’s rich culinary heritage.

1. Tjabba Thai, Stockholm

Situated in the heart of Stockholm, Tjabba Thai offers authentic Thai cuisine at wallet-friendly prices. The ambiance is casual, making it a perfect spot for backpackers. Signature dishes include Pad Thai and Green Curry, both bursting with flavors reminiscent of the streets of Bangkok. The portion sizes are generous, ensuring you’ll leave with a full stomach and a happy heart.

2. Nystekt Strömming, Stockholm

For a taste of traditional Swedish street food, head to Nystekt Strömming, located at Södermalmstorg. Specializing in fried herring, this food truck serves the fish in various forms—on crispbread, in wraps, or as a platter with mashed potatoes. The simplicity and authenticity of the dishes make it a must-visit for anyone looking to experience local flavors.

3. Café Saturnus, Stockholm

If you have a sweet tooth, Café Saturnus is the place to be. Known for its oversized Kanelbullar (cinnamon buns), this café offers a cozy atmosphere where you can indulge in Swedish pastries and strong coffee. The prices are reasonable, considering the quality and size of the portions, making it a great stop for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

4. Saluhallen, Gothenburg

Saluhallen, Gothenburg’s largest indoor market, is a food lover’s paradise. Here, you’ll find an array of stalls selling everything from fresh seafood to gourmet cheeses. The market also features several affordable eateries where you can enjoy dishes like Räksmörgås (shrimp sandwich) and Köttbullar (meatballs). The vibrant atmosphere and diverse offerings make it a unique culinary experience.

5. Haga Nygata, Gothenburg

Haga Nygata, a charming street in the Haga district of Gothenburg, is lined with quaint cafés and bakeries. One standout is Café Husaren, famous for its gigantic cinnamon rolls. The area is also home to several affordable eateries serving traditional Swedish dishes, making it a perfect stop for budget-conscious travelers.

6. Meatballs for the People, Stockholm

Located in the trendy Södermalm district, Meatballs for the People offers a modern take on the classic Swedish meatball. The restaurant sources its ingredients locally and serves a variety of meatball dishes, including vegetarian options. The prices are reasonable, and the cozy, laid-back atmosphere makes it a great spot for a casual meal.

7. Feskekôrka, Gothenburg

Feskekôrka, or Fish Church, is a seafood market and restaurant housed in a picturesque building resembling a Gothic church. Here, you can sample some of the freshest seafood in Gothenburg at affordable prices. The market’s eateries offer dishes like fish soup, smoked salmon, and herring, all prepared with expert care and attention to detail.

8. Hermans, Stockholm

For those seeking vegetarian and vegan options, Hermans in Stockholm is a top choice. This buffet-style restaurant offers a wide variety of plant-based dishes, with flavors inspired by international cuisines. The food is fresh, flavorful, and reasonably priced. Plus, the restaurant’s terrace provides stunning views of Stockholm, making it a delightful dining experience.

9. Malmö Saluhall, Malmö

Malmö Saluhall is an indoor food market offering a diverse range of culinary delights. The stalls here serve everything from traditional Swedish dishes to international cuisine, all at affordable prices. Notable options include Pink Head Noodle Bar for Asian-inspired dishes and Poms Mackor for gourmet sandwiches. The market’s lively atmosphere and variety make it a must-visit.

10. Falafel No. 1, Malmö

Malmö is known for its vibrant multicultural food scene, and Falafel No. 1 is a testament to this. Offering some of the best falafel in the city, this unassuming eatery serves fresh, flavorful, and incredibly affordable falafel wraps and plates. The generous portions and friendly service make it a favorite among locals and travelers alike.

Recreating the Swedish Culinary Experience at Home

If you’re inspired to recreate some of these Swedish culinary experiences at home, here are a few tips and recipes to get you started.

DIY Swedish Meatballs


– 500g ground beef

– 250g ground pork

– 1 small onion, finely chopped

– 1 egg

– 100ml milk

– 50g breadcrumbs

– Salt and pepper to taste

– Butter for frying


1. In a bowl, mix the ground beef, ground pork, chopped onion, egg, milk, breadcrumbs, salt, and pepper.

2. Shape the mixture into small meatballs.

3. Heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the meatballs until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 10 minutes.

4. Serve with mashed potatoes, lingonberry sauce, and gravy.

Classic Räksmörgås (Shrimp Sandwich)


– 2 slices of rye or whole-grain bread

– 200g cooked and peeled shrimp

– 1 hard-boiled egg, sliced

– 2 tbsp mayonnaise

– 1 tbsp crème fraîche

– 1 tbsp lemon juice

– Fresh dill, chopped

– Salt and pepper to taste

– Lemon slices and lettuce for garnish


1. In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, crème fraîche, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

2. Spread the mixture onto the slices of bread.

3. Top with shrimp, egg slices, and fresh dill.

4. Garnish with lemon slices and lettuce. Serve immediately.

Homemade Kanelbullar (Cinnamon Buns)


– 500ml milk

– 50g fresh yeast

– 150g butter, melted

– 100g sugar

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp cardamom

– 900g all-purpose flour

– 2 tbsp ground cinnamon

– 100g brown sugar

– 1 egg, beaten

– Pearl sugar for garnish


1. Warm the milk and dissolve the yeast in it.

2. Add the melted butter, sugar, salt, and cardamom.

3. Gradually add the flour and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic.

4. Let the dough rise for 1 hour.

5. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, spread with butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar.

6. Roll the dough into a log and cut into slices.

7. Place the slices on a baking sheet and let rise for another 30 minutes.

8. Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with pearl sugar.

9. Bake at 220°C (428°F) for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.


1. Is it expensive to eat out in Sweden?

While Sweden is known for its high cost of living, there are plenty of affordable dining options. Street food stalls, markets, and casual eateries offer delicious meals at budget-friendly prices.

2. Are there vegetarian and vegan options available in Sweden?

Yes, many Swedish eateries offer vegetarian and vegan options. Restaurants like Hermans in Stockholm specialize in plant-based cuisine, and you’ll also find vegetarian dishes at most food markets.

3. Can I find international cuisine in Sweden?

Absolutely. Sweden’s major cities, like Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö, have a diverse food scene with a wide range of international cuisines available, from Thai and Japanese to Middle Eastern and Mexican.

4. What are some must-try Swedish dishes?

Some iconic Swedish dishes to try include Köttbullar (meatballs), Räksmörgås (shrimp sandwich), Gravlax (cured salmon), and traditional pastries like Kanelbullar (cinnamon buns).

5. How can I experience Swedish cuisine on a budget?

To experience Swedish cuisine on a budget, visit local markets, street food stalls, and casual eateries. Many places offer hearty and delicious meals at reasonable prices, perfect for budget-conscious travelers.

Exploring Sweden’s culinary landscape doesn’t have to be an expensive affair. With this guide, you can enjoy the rich flavors and unique dishes of Swedish cuisine without straining your budget. Happy eating!

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