Copenhagen’s food scene has a bit of a Big Bang quality to it. Except, instead of ‘nothingness’ there was Noma. And with Noma’s explosion onto the international stage, so to did its influence explode around the city, in the form of just about everything cool and delicious. In 2018, Copenhagen has 15 Michelin-starred restaurants, the most of any Scandinavian city.
Nordic food is what many come here for. Of course, for that, you can’t beat Noma, but the world class Nordic fare is all over town from 108 (dubbed Mini Noma) to the more accessible options of Restaurant Barr, and Host.
That craft and precision has also been applied to non-nordic ventures. You can enjoy house-made cheeses, bread and salumi at Italian-focused Bæst. You can pimp your own organic hot dog with Mikkeller beer mustard at local institution John’s Hot Dog Deli. And you can have deliciously stripped-back-yet-elegant breakfasts and craft coffee at Atelier September.
In fact, if you have a bad meal in Copenhagen, that would be completely on you – the hospitality industry here knows what it is doing.
But for all the amazing food I had during my week in Copenhagen, there did seem to be one thing missing. Perhaps my taste-buds have become too accustomed to living in Asia, where a good meal literally punches you in the face with flavour, but I was yet to have a true foodie moment – the kind where you take a bite of something and struggle to muster anything more than a ‘wow’ as you instantly start figuring out how you can get back to eat this thing again and again.
And then I went to Sanchez.
As an Australian who now lives in Hong Kong, my access to good Mexican food has always been sketchy. As a result, I am not going to breakdown flavours – I simply don’t know enough about the keys to a proper Mexican dish. But trust me when I say this: everything was fucking delicious.
Sanchez is helmed by ex-Noma sous Chef Rosio Sanchez, most recently seen helping David Chang shove tacos down his throat in the name of research in Netflix’s Ugly Delicious. This place and the accompanying, more casual taquerias in town are her babies. And she should be one proud mother.
To start I had an octopus tostada, with al pastor seasoning and spicy habanero-cured egg yolk salsa. About 1000 times more delicious and interesting than Copenhagen’s ubiquitous smørrebrød.
With the saliva now pumping, I ordered myself a mezcal negroni whilst I waited for the taco of the day. For the record, this isn’t somewhere you come to just order a platter of various tacos. They do one kind of taco per day, and they do it extremely well.
On this day it was a deliciously juicy pork carnita: organic pork belly topped with charred wild ramson (the leaf of a wild garlic) on a housemade tortilla. That sounds super simple, but the flavour was immense.
For dessert, it’s a choice between churros and paletas (a Mexican ice pop). I opted to go with the paleta, mainly because I’d never even heard of such a thing before and I was keen to continue having my mind (and tastebuds) blown. It predictably didn’t disappoint. The paleta of the day was lemon cream and seabuckthorn juice, with a habanero gel. It was sweet, it was zesty, it was creamy, it was spicy and it was the best damn thing I ever ate in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is an amazing city, and through its food scene alone it manages to feel like an unlikely world city. And whilst I’m all for enjoying the local flavours and foods when travelling to a place, once you’ve had your fill of all things Nordic, take a trip to Sanchez and give yourself the flavour hit you deserve.