Taco Friday: The Scandinavian start to the weekend

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What does Tex-Mex cuisine have to do with Scandinavia? More than you might think at first glance – because Scandinavians, especially people from Sweden and Norway, love tacos, burritos and the like so much that it has become a popular tradition: For many Scandinavians, Tacofredag is a firm part of their weekly plans! Find all the info here!

Where does Taco Friday come from?

Scandinavians love Tex-Mex cuisine – it’s hard to say why. Tacos and burritos are a very sociable meal that is quick and easy to prepare. They are also an absolute comfort food that appeals to young and old alike.

The fact that tacos are a big thing in Sweden and Norway is also thanks to a skilful marketing campaign. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Swedish spice brand Santa Maria began advertising its Tex-Mex products under the name Nordfalks with great effort – including TV adverts proclaiming Friday as Taco Day.

Taco Friday Tacos
Tacos and other Tex-Mex food are very popular in Scandinavia – especially on Fridays.

In Sweden – and in Norway – this marketing campaign worked very well, as tacos were something new and easy to integrate into everyday life – especially as Scandinavians like to pile their food on top of each other anyway, such as the popular smörgåstårta.

Sweden: Tacos and Fredagsmys

Fridays are generally very important in the Swedish week – at the end of the usual working and school week and at the start of the weekend, people come together to enjoy a cosy start to their free time. Fredagsmys (Fredag = Friday, mys = cosiness) is a time to eat together, play games and watch TV or films – whether as a family or with friends.

The term fredagsmys also originated from a marketing campaign. The snack manufacturer OLW established the term with a slogan that was used in adverts in the 90s. The jingle is still popular today. Incidentally, fredagsmys was officially added to the Swedish dictionary in 2007.

Food on Friday evenings is traditionally very different from food during the rest of the week. Swedes usually like to eat a healthy, regional and balanced diet, but at the end of the week it can also be unhealthy, which is why people like to reach for sweets and junk food – even on Saturday, which was traditionally the only day on which sweets were eaten. Although this is no longer the case today, the term lördagsgodis (Saturday sweets) is still used.

Taco Friday Fredagsmys
On Fredagsmys, Swedes get together to eat, watch TV and have a good time.

Swedish tacos

Tacos are the perfect accompaniment to Fredagsmys. They are a hearty and tasty soul food that is ideal for a larger group, as no one has to spend a long time alone in the kitchen to make tacos. The fillings and toppings can be easily prepared – if they need to be prepared at all – then everything can be placed in bowls on the table and everyone can fill and prepare their taco or burrito however they like – tacos are therefore a very sociable and unconventional dinner that lead to a casual and relaxed atmosphere.

Sweden is also the European country where Tex-Mex cuisine, i.e. tacos and the like, is most popular. So it’s no wonder that supermarkets such as ICA or Hemköp have entire shelves or themed corners where you can find everything you need for the perfect taco day: Not only are there individual ingredients, such as taco shells or tortillas/wraps of course, sauces in all levels of spiciness and other typical toppings, but also taco sets in which you can buy the most important ingredients in one and where only the fresh ingredients such as meat or vegetables are missing.

Taco Friday Tacos Sweden
Swedes love putting together and topping tacos with a wide variety of ingredients.

Incidentally, ingredients that go beyond Tex-Mex cuisine are also popular in Sweden – the Swedes have always liked to do their own thing, for example kebabs, bananas or kiwi on pizza. Chicken, lettuce and cucumber (which are also popular in Germany), but also fish, seafood, peanuts, pineapple or yoghurt sauces can end up on a taco. In addition, tacos are not only eaten as tacos, but also as soup, quiche or casserole, for example.

Norway: Tacofredag and Fredagstaco

After Sweden, Norway is number 2 when it comes to Tex-Mex cuisine in Europe. Here too, Friday is the day when families and friends get together to eat tacos and have a good time – socialising is particularly important during the long, dark winters in the north. Around 9% of the Norwegian population eats tacos every Friday, while most people organise a Tacofredag every two or three weeks.

The hype surrounding the Fredagstaco also began in Norway in the 1990s, for the same reasons as in Sweden. Norwegian supermarkets also offer a large selection of taco ingredients, and sets consisting of taco shells, spice mixes for minced meat and salsa are also popular. As in Sweden, all kinds of vegetables – fresh or tinned – as well as meat, fish and other sauces are then added.

Taco Friday Fredagstaco Norway
People in Norway also like to eat tacos on Fridays.

Ideas for Taco Friday: what not to miss

As already mentioned above, the Scandinavian taco goes a little further than the typical US Tex-Mex tacos. The ingredients vary greatly – after all, everyone should be able to fill their taco however they like.

Ingredients for a classic Scandi taco

  • Hard shell tacos, alternatively also soft tortillas/wraps
  • Minced meat (half beef/half pork)
  • Taco spice mix
  • Salsa/taco sauce (hot, medium, mild)
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumber
  • (Bell) Peppers
  • Sweetcorn
  • Kidney beans
  • Grated cheese
  • Creme fraiche/sour cream
  • Onions

As an alternative to minced meat you can also use

  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Seafood
  • Vegan meat substitutes
  • Vegetable mixtures

Other possible ingredients that are popular in Scandinavia:

  • Jalapenos
  • Yoghurt sauce
  • Guacamole
  • Crumbled nacho chips
  • Pineapple
  • Mushrooms
Taco Friday Tacos Ingredients
Tacos taste best with salsa – in Scandinavia it is usually bought.

How to prepare the tacos

Preparing tacos is not difficult – many of the ingredients simply need to be chopped up or removed from their containers. The “main” ingredients such as meat and fish must of course be fried first, for example the minced meat with the spice mix and onions, alternatively you can also make a chilli con carne. Chicken (or chicken substitute) can be combined well with onions, garlic and peppers.

You can then simply place everything in bowls on the table. Dips such as guacamole or salsa can of course also be made yourself – but in Scandinavia, everything is usually bought. If you use soft tortilla wraps, you can also warm them up before topping them.

Hard or soft shell tacos?

Both types of tacos are very popular – but hard shell tacos, i.e. deep-fried tortillas, are probably more typical. They have crunch and are also flavoured. They are also easier to fill and hold – but they crumble very easily, which can make them more difficult to eat.

Soft tortillas are good if you have a lot of ingredients, as you can fill them with more. However, you should be careful not to use too much filling – otherwise it will be difficult to fold, hold and eat! You should also be careful not to use too much sauce or other liquids, as these make the tortillas even softer and can seep through.

Taco Friday Hard vs Soft Shell
Hard shell and soft shell tacos both have advantages and disadvantages.

Tacos in the other Scandinavian countries: Not just on Friday

The idea of eating tacos on a certain day originally comes from the USA, just like the dish itself. Taco Tuesday is widespread there and has been practised for many decades – the term has been popular and effectively used in advertising since the 70s/80s at the latest. Tex-Mex restaurants often have suitable offers, not only in the USA but also in other English-speaking countries.

Inspired by Taco Tuesday, Denmark also serves tacos on Tuesdays rather than Fridays. Finland and Iceland have no such traditions, but at least in Finland Tex-Mex food is also popular – here you simply eat tacos and the like whenever you want.


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