Legendary Dishes | Bergensk Fiskesuppe (Bergen fish soup)


Traditionally made with firm fish, usually cod and salmon, and root vegetables, the choice of fish is now political, and it is not unusual to see a range of white fish. Saithe, a fish of Norwegian waters, has begun to replace cod, and other white fish is also preferred to cod despite sustainable management of its stocks by the Norwegians. Fish balls made from cod fillets have become an option or are made with other choices of fish, but the sour-sweet element should always remain, to give this soup its distinctive Norwegian flavour. Some versions call for shellfish and for bacon, to add depth of flavour, and some suggest a leek or onion butter sauce deglazed in white wine to start the cooking process.


  • 2 litres fish stock / mussels water
  • 250 g carrots, cubed
  • 250 g celeriac / parsley root, chopped
  • 250 g parsnip, cubed
  • 250 g potatoes, cubed
  • 250 ml sour cream
  • 30 g sugar
  • 15 ml red wine vinegar / 30 ml white wine
  • 10 peppercorns (optional)
  • Salt, large pinch

Fish Balls

  • 200 g cod / saithe fillet, minced
  • 100 ml milk
  • 15 g potato flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 g salt
  • Bowl of water, for wetting hand


  • 500 g cod / flounder / hake / saithe, cubed
  • 250 g haddock / salmon, cubed / shellfish
  • 250 g fish balls (optional)
  • Seasonings

Make the fish balls. Combine the fish with potato flour and salt in a bowl, gradually add milk to form a smooth consistency. Using a teaspoon to remove a heaped teaspoon of the mixture from the bowl, roll it into a ball with a wet hand, set aside. Repeat to use up the mixture.

Simmer root vegetables in the stock until they are tender. Add two tablespoons of the liquid to a bowl, whisk in the cream and sugar, pour into the soup. Bring to the boil, add the vinegar and taste, season. Add the fish balls, when they float to the surface add the pieces of fish, turn off heat and leave for five minutes.