The world’s second-largest seafood exporter, Norway, has been shipping fresh and frozen seafood into Indonesia since 1988, and is making an aggressive push to be better known in the region.
“The demand in Southeast Asia is growing and it is inspiring to see,” said Christian Chramer, regional director of the Norwegian Seafood Council in Southeast Asia, and adds “the economy is growing, there is increased infrastructure and retail growth.”
According to the council, Indonesia imports 79 tons of Norwegian seafood a week on average, 40 tons of which is salmon. Globally, Norway sends out 17,250 tons of salmon per week.
In total last year, Indonesia imported a little more than 4,000 tons of Norwegian seafood, 2,067 tons of it salmon.
With frequent deliveries to the capital, it has become easy to taste the quality of Norwegian seafood from Jakarta’s many fine hotels, restaurants and grocery stores.
As part of an initiative to familiarize Indonesia with Norway’s second-biggest export, the council sponsored a media trip to Norway, bringing journalists from Indonesia face-to-face with its fisheries industry.
It has also brought in Norwegian chefs for master classes in Jakarta, including one attended by Crown Prince Haakon Magnus and his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, who were passing through on an official state visit.
The most recent was a master class led by Culinary Olympics gold medalist Sven Erik Renaa for some of Jakarta’s best chefs and culinary students. A similar master class was also hosted in Thailand recently.
Renaa showed attendees some of his innovative dishes, featuring prime examples of Norwegian seafood such as his lightly smoked Norwegian halibut, Norwegian king crab and oyster “linguini,” and his Norwegian salmon tartar with avocado “flying carpet” and vendace roe.
But beyond taste, the council wants to promote the health benefits of a diet including seafood. Renaa began his presentation with a briefing about food safety and how to handle the imported seafood.
Norway sends both frozen and fresh seafood to Indonesia. Fresh seafood can arrive in Jakarta within 48 hours, but if not handled correctly and preserved at the right temperatures, it can go bad.
Norway’s location far to the north makes it ideal. The seas are cold, clear and can be very rough, which salmon prefer.
“Norwegians have been fishing and producing fish for hundreds of generations,” Chramer said.
This long history of working with and understanding the environment has made Norwegians experts in the fishing industry, he added. Building on a deep relationship with and understanding of their environment, Norwegians have placed a strong emphasis on sustainablity.
“It is becoming more and more important and can even be stronger with more awareness,” Chramer said.