Thought there were no tacos in Norway

Edgardo Quilesacevedo from the US Marine Corps (USMC) thought he would miss tacos the most on his first trip to Norway. When the Mäkitalo family heard this, they decided to surprise him.

Maria Gran (text and photo) and Sunniva Skarsvåg (video)

In the kitchen at home in Ankenes, south of Narvik, you find all the essentials to make a proper Norwegian taco. Edgardo’s hosts Kristine and Jonas greet him, and the Marine offers to help with the cooking. He cooks the meat while Kristine and Tidemann (4) prepare the cucumbers. Peder (1) is keeping a close eye on them from his chair.

Edgardo arrived in Norway three weeks ago, on his first international mission with the USMC. Together with around 200 other Marines he is going through cold weather training at Elvegårdsmoen. He appreciates the little break he gets with the Mäkitalo family.

– I always like to do different things and try new things, and getting involved with the culture here is excellent, says Edgardo.




While he adds the taco spice mix to the mice meat, he tells Kristine that he has missed cooking and that both him and his father cook a lot at home. Edgardo is stationed in North Carolina, but the island of Puerto Rico in The Caribbean Sea is his home.

– Norway is really similar to Puerto Rico where I’m from because there’s a lot of mountains there, but instead of white, they’re green, he smiles.

Around the table the tells the Mäkitalos about his island and the tacos he eats at home, and asks about life in Norway and being in the Home Guard. Jonas knows a lot about the Home Guard, because he has been a solider in the Home Guard for almost 20 years.

– This is the first time I meet a Marine. It’s weird to have them visiting, but it’s very fun. We think it’s nice to be able to do something for other soldiers and show them some Norwegian culture, says Jonas.

The Norwegian taco is a success. It is not the same as Puerto Rican tacos, but that does not matter.

– It’s different, but I like it. They’re delicious, Edgardo smiles over a plate full of taco.

After a true Norwegian weekend dinner, Kristine heads over to the kitchen and brings out “brunost”, an “osthøvel” and “tørrfisk”. Norwegian brown cheese, a cheese slicer and dried cod. The weird Norwegian invention and the peanut butter-looking cheese is a hit, and the dried cod reminds Edgardo of bacalao, which he eats a lot of at home. It is all tasty, but he has already found his Norwegian favourite.

– The chocolate is so good. I have eaten chocolate, and it’s good, but not like here. I love the chocolate here, he says.

The Mäkitalos and their food have impressed Edgardo. Even if he is excited to get back home, he likes Norway a lot.

– I love this place, it’s beautiful. Maybe I’ll come back on vacation, I’ll talk to my wife and I think it’ll be cool to bring her here and show her around.

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en_263_tacosen_39_coldresponse/en/coldresponse/media/PubImages/20200130FR_-9100.jpgCold Response 2020Cold Response is a Norwegian-led military exercise in northern Norway in March 2020. The exercise is now being terminated earlier than planned, due to the ongoing coronavirus situation in Norway.en_263_tacos

Published 17 March 2020 08:32.. Last updated 17 March 2020 08:34.