Monday 23 January 2012

Recipe - Half Special / Recept - Halv Special

I'm sure the image above makes a lot of you go 'what the...'. Fear not, it shall all be revealed.

Here in the UK there's the burger van or chippie. In Sweden there's something called gatukök or street kitchen. They are fast food outlets that can be found in almost any city, town or village. Some are still independents and other are parts of chains like Sibylla.

From these you can buy hamburger dishes, sausage dishes, ice creams, magazines, pick-n-mix and much much more. Some are even doing pizzas, kebabs and other dishes that are more or less considered imports.

There are some dishes that most Swedes I know consider as classics. This being one of the most classic of them all. Basically a 'half special' means that you get a hotdog in a bun with mash on top. A 'whole special' would be two hotdogs.

It's up to you if you want grilled or simmered hotdogs. Personally I go for simmered if they're of the slim variety and grilled for the thicker ones. But that's just me.

You can also add toppings like a gherkin and mayo 'salad', diced gherkins or the daddy of them all - the West Coast Salad. As you can see from the photo there's just crispy onions on top of this one. I was going to do a gherkin mayo salad but I found that the gherkin monster had been visiting and had eaten all my gherkins.

There's another version of this where instead of the sausage being served in a bun you get it all rolled up in what is called 'thin bread' in Sweden. That is basically our version of the tortilla. I might be wrong here but I think it originates from up north and was made by the Sami people. For an idea of how a 'thin bread roll' looks - have a look here.

If you visit Sweden, make sure that you try our version of fast food from a gatukök. It might not be highbrow or very advanced but it is part of the culture and something different to savour.

Before I head over to the recipe I must admit that I cheated a bit and didn't make my own sausages. It is on the list though. The ones I used was of really high quality though and the flavour of them really brought memories back. It was an almost exact replica of what I had stored in my 'food flavour memory'. The ones I used were frankfurters from unearthed. And no, I'm not sponsored to say that. ;-) I just saw them in the shop and bought a pack, something I'm very happy about.

Let's head over to the recipe now, there's really not much to this.

Bay leaf
Pepper corns
Good quality hotdogs/frankfurters
Hotdog buns
Mash (make it a bit firmer than you'd probably normally do)
Crispy onions (optional)
Mustard (optional)
Ketchup (optional)

Pour water into a pan that it large enough to easily hold the sausages. Add the bay leaf, salt and pepper corns and bring it all to a boil. Turn off the heat, pop in the sausages and put the lid on.

While the sausages heat through you can make your mash. Make sure to season it well and make it quite firm.

To assemble, just pop a hotdog (or two if you're making a whole special) into a bun. Spread with mustard and ketchup if you so wish. On top of this we add the mash, I used a ice-cream scoop to try and make it look a bit prettier, and the other toppings of your choice.



  1. I've never heard of this - love the double carb load, intriguing!

    1. Kavey,

      I think it is quite a Scandinavian thing, although the Germans are there and thereabouts too.

      It is quite a special thing a very deep rooted part of Swedish food culture. It might not be up there with the Michelin starred restaurants but sometimes you just need something basic and simple.

      It's worth giving it a go! ;)

      Thanks for taking the time to post a comment.

      // Mike

  2. Ooh, tasty! After a boozy night in Stockholm, I always found these to be the best possible cure! I hadn't heard of the version with tunnbröd, sounds intriguing.

    1. Minna,

      Simple yet quite tasty - at least to people of a Nordic persuasion! :)

      I would lie if I said that I haven't imbibed quite a number of these whilst under the influence of alcohol too.

      The tunnbröd ones are really nice, but a bit worse to eat whilst pissed. They do tend to unfurl if you're not careful.

      Thanks for leaving a comment, it is always appreciated!

      // Mike

    2. Nah, double carb portions (like bread with pasta) are weird to Germans.

    3. Ozzy,

      I could have sworn that I had curry wurst with both a bun and some fried potatoes in some different places in German. Having said that, I was quite sozzled at those occasions so I might very well be mistaken. ;)

      // Mike

  3. I saw those thin bread ones on No Reservations. I thought they looked like excellent drinking-food.

    1. Foodycat,

      Many thanks for leaving a comment!

      They are very good drinking food, you just have to be a bit careful if you get them loaded up with various mayo based salads, that could end up well messy. Going for one of these at a gatukök is the Swedish equivalent of the late night kebab here in the UK. :)

      // Mike

  4. I remember buying these when I was in Stockholm, so delicious. It never occurred to me to make my own. GG

    1. GG,

      Thank you for leaving a comment, it is really appreciated.

      I'm amazed that so many people here in the UK actually have tried, and liked, these. To be honest, I didn't think that anyone would recognise them. This has been one of my most commented on and discussed posts ever. Maybe I should continue with a series of posts on weird and wonderful Swedish dishes? ;-)

      I just had a look at your profile and noticed where you're located - I should have given you a shout when we went over to Marlow for me to try a Wimpy for the first time. :)

      // Mike


Please leave a comment. Positive or negative - all comments are welcome and useful. I do enjoy hearing what you think of my posts, what is good and what needs improving so please post away.

// Mike