Restaurant Sarfalik - Chef Bjørn Johansson - Nuuk © 2014 . All rights reserved.

7 Sep ’14

Nuuk, along the west coast of Greenland, is one of the smallest capitals in the world with around 16,000 inhabitants, a mix of Danes and Greenlanders. Tourists don’t linger around for long and quickly disappear into nature. But this urban life is also part of Greenland so stay for a while and do some couch surfing and bed down with a local. In our case it is the home of Hansine, hidden in one of the bleak concrete and graffiti squirted condominiums built in a newer part of town. Not the most pleasant arrival when we stand for this building on a grey and colourless day. Until we arrive at Hansine’s home, a warm explosion of colour, giving the impression that his purple highness Prince once resided here. This spry, Greenland lady is well into the sixties and lives alone here. She earns some extra money through renting out one of her two bedrooms to tourists. Everything is shiny and clean, no dust, all perfectly arranged. The master bedroom where we sleep shows photos of her family, especially her granddaughter, the proud of Hansine. The girl works in the north of Greenland as an engineer in the military base at Thule. Thanks to a mix of Danish and a few words of English (oh my god! Is her favourite phrase), we find out about her life, family and that she is indeed seriously mad about the colour purple. In the morning Hansine serves us a huge, hearty breakfast while sitting in her tiny kitchen looking out over the Arctic Ocean. “Maybe one day I will have to move houses, when they change old and ugly apartment buildings this this into more functional and less dreary flats.” She says. She gives us a spare key so we can come and go as we want and kindly asks us if we please can lock her door carefully. “My life and everything I love is sitting here in this small apartment.” She smiles.

A few blocks away is the center of Nuuk with some shops, government buildings and a charming waterfront with old wooden and red painted buildings. We have an appointment with Bjørn Johansson, the head chef of Hotel Hans Egede’s Sarfalik restaurant. This is the best hotel in town and a good alternative for those who want more comfort and privacy during a visit to Nuuk. The restaurant is on the top floor and overlooks Nuuk. Next to it there is a steak restaurant with a super charming vintage and Nordic chic interior where also the great breakfast of Hans Egede is served. Chef Bjørn is Swedish and went via his home country and Russia to Greenland, where he now tries to do interesting and creative things with local, Greenlandic ingredients. Take for example Malt stuffed reindeer with blood sausage flavored with smoked reindeer heart, carrot pure, root parsley, and baked onions. Then followed by dry cured musk ox with textures of Greenlandic blueberries, red cabbage, mountain sorrel and fried tongue. The musk ox is salted and dried in pieces of 500 grams for about 7 to 9 weeks. What Bjørn finds so fascinating about being a chef in Greenland is the fact that people here live so close to nature and eat what is available locally. The fishermen, hunters and almost every Greenlander who go out every summer picking fresh herbs and berries. Sorrel, thyme, bog Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum), blueberries, angelica,..

Maybe the new Nordic cuisine from Denmark is finally blowing over to Greenland thanks to young chefs like Bjørn.

Restaurant Sarfalik - Chef Bjørn Johansson - Nuuk
Restaurant Sarfalik - Chef Bjørn Johansson - Nuuk
Hereford Beefstow - Nuuk, Greenland
Nuuk Homestay


  1. The food look amazing – I would definitely travel to Greenland to try it!

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