Welcome to Denmark and to the Danish supermarket. It is perfectly normal to feel somewhat confused when you go grocery shopping in a new country. So have no fear, we have your back on this one.
Here is the Danish supermarket vocabulary you should learn and use. It’s simple, it’s a great way to boost confidence while trying to speak Danish.
The best part is that you have the same conversation 99,9% of the time, so it gets easier to understand what is being said.
Medarbejder (employee): ... Hej! [Hi]
Dig (you): ... Hej! [Hi]
M: ... 74,50 kr. På beløbet? [On the amount?]
D: ... Ja, tak. [Yes thank you]
M: ... Ellers andet? [Something else?]
D: ... Ja…/Nej tak/Ellers tak. [Yes.../No thank you /No thanks]
M: ... Kvittering med? [Receipt with?]
D: ... Hvad siger du? [What are you saying?]
M: ... Kvittering? Bon? [Receipt? Ticket?]
D: … Ja tak/ Ellers tak [Yes thanks/Thanks, but no thanks]
M: ... Kunne du tænke dig at købe en pose? [Do you want to buy a bag?]
D: ... Ellers tak [Thank you, but no thank you]
... Ellers tak, jeg har min egen [Thank you, but no thanks, I have my own]
... Ellers tak, jeg har ikke brug for en [Thank you, but no thank you. I don't need one]
... En stor/lille tak [A large/small one, thank you]
M: ... God aften/God dag/ God weekend/ Hej, hej [Good afternoon/Good day/Good weekend/ Bye-bye]
D: ... Tak i lige måde [Thanks, same to you]
'På beløbet' – What’s that supposed to mean?
'På beløbet' (on the amount) - you have probably heard this question before. Confusing isn’t it? It is common in the Danish supermarkets and some of the corner shops ( kiosk or købmand) to withdraw cash by paying an extra amount with your bill and then get it in cash.
For example you buy groceries for 100 dkk and then you ask the cashier if you can have 100 dkk in cash.You pay 200 dkk on your card and get back 100 dkk in cash. Makes sense? Maybe not … but it’s super useful.
This service might be available only for Dankort, so maybe ask before.
Dig: ... Kan jeg få 100 kroner over? [Can I get 100 kroner extra?]
Medarbejder: ... Ja selvfølgelig. Værsgo. [Yes of course. There you go]
Leverpostej ... liver pate
Mel/ Hvedemel ... flour/ wheat flour
Skyr ... Icelandic yoghurt
Sky ... some sort of jelly made with meat sauce
Ymerdrys ... rye breadcrumbs
Rasp ... breadcrumbs
Flæskesvær ... pork crackling in a chips bag
Majs stivelse ... this is NOT cornmeal. It’s corn starch.
Expat observation 1
Fruit and veggies are usually sold by piece and not by kg. Of course, you can find them already packed in bags or boxes.
If next to the price is written stk. (short for stykke – piece ) then you know that the price you see is per piece.
Pr.Stk ( per stykke) ... per piece
Pr. Bk. ( per bakke) ... per tray/box
Pr. Ps ( per pose) ... per bag
Expat observation 2
You can actually see empty shelves as it gets closer to closing. It’s a good and bad thing. Good, because you know that they get fresh products every day (in theory) and reduce food waste.
Bad, mostly because you really need carrots for dinner and now you have to go try your luck at a different supermarket.
Expat observation 3
Depending on the supermarket, don’t expect a wide variety and selection of products. Think about it, you actually save time, instead of wondering for 10 minutes, which one of the 30 types of cereals should you buy, you are done in 2 minutes.
Expat observation 4
Again depending on the supermarket, don’t expect that the supermarket is going to be too tidy. It’s a bit like a treasure hunt, sometimes.
You get the chance to find new items, that you wouldn’t have normally noticed.