Tunco, a dining experience in Oslo, Norway that won’t break the bank

Tunco, a dining experience in Oslo, Norway that won’t break the bank

It’s Saturday night, and Tunco is buzzing with a lively energy. The Norwegian eatery, set in the St Hanshaugen district of Oslo, serves healthy, freshly-cooked food with Asian flavours, vegan options and child-friendly portions.

And best of all, by Oslo standards, it’s not too pricey at all.

Tunco

Tunco is one of those hidden gems that you might not come across, without a little inside knowledge. My friends, who live round the corner, rated it highly, so I decided to try it out.

To call Tunco a restaurant may be a bit of an overstatement. Inside, it’s small, with casual seating for around 15-20 customers. The food comes in cardboard takeaway boxes, even if you eat in. Judging by the volume of people who passed through while we ate, most people use the place as a takeaway. It was busy; Tunco’s been so successful since opening that they’ve branched out. A new pop-up has just opened at the fjordside Vippa complex, opposite stalls selling local craft beer and filled dumplings.

Tunco

When you walk into Tunco, you’re greeted by a counter display of fresh ingredients for the wok-cooked meals. Peppers, beansprouts, mushrooms, lime and coriander line the serving hatch, and the air is thick with the scent of Asian spices. Tunco’s decor is an industrial/Asian fusion style, and it’s a pretty hip joint. DJs occasionally play sets there, and the staff are young, with a uniform of flat caps, baseball hats and striking black t-shirts.

Tunco

Tunco

On the night we visited, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a place mainly for young hipsters. But no, there were children’s portions on offer (79 NOK – around £7), and I was told that families do frequent the place over lunchtimes. The food itself was delicious. It was a paradise for the picky, with a completely bespoke recipe service. You could choose between chicken, pork, shrimp or tofu, then add a selection of seasonal vegetables and carbs of your choice: egg noodles, gluten-free rice noodles, vegan mi chay or tagliatelle. The sauces ranged between medium masala madness, hot red curry wipeout, mild tropical fresh, and medium kickin’ oyster. Then, when you’d made your choice, the staff cooked it all up, right there in front of you.

Tunco

For those not inclined to pore over options or pick and choose, there were classic meal options. I went for a Koh Tao: chicken in red curry sauce, with noodles and veggies, and topped with peanuts, coriander and lime. The regular portion (149 NOK – about £14) was deceptively large. A small (119 NOK – about £11) would probably have been enough for someone who wasn’t ravenous, especially at lunchtime.

The food at Tunco took its time to materialise – the inevitable downside of cooked-from-scratch food, in a popular restaurant. And it would have been nice to see some older faces among the staff members, to add a note of diversity. But the ethos and vibe of Tunco was overwhelmingly positive. Its founders set it up as a healthy alternative to fast food, with locally sourced produce and the community spirit that is so common in Norway. In Tunco’s case, for every meal they sell, the restaurant donates one to children in a Kenyan school. As well as providing nutrition, the idea is to encourage parents to send their children to school, so they can get an education as well as a free meal.

Tunco

Although Tunco wasn’t a typical fine dining experience, you’d be hard pressed to find a cheaper meal of such good quality in Oslo. One to bookmark in case you’re ever in the Norwegian capital.

Tunco is open five days a week, until 22.00. For more information on places to eat in Oslo, go to the Visit Oslo website.

We were guests of Tunco for the purpose of this review. All views are my own.

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16 Comments

  1. September 12, 2017 / 7:57 am

    I have not heard about this place. Will try. Live in Oslo 🙂

  2. September 12, 2017 / 9:46 am

    Mmm I asian cuisine! I miss American Chinese food! Will remember this for a future visit to Norway! #CityTripping

  3. September 12, 2017 / 3:15 pm

    Shame I didn’t hear about this place before I visited Oslo in May! Good to find tasty and cheap food in this city. It’s a great place, but damn it ain’t cheap! #citytripping

    • September 13, 2017 / 12:06 pm

      That’s right. There are less expensive places, but you need to know where to look!

  4. September 12, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    This looks like a tasty food spot! And definitely good value compared to similar places in Oslo! #citytripping

    • September 13, 2017 / 12:07 pm

      The food there was fab.

  5. September 12, 2017 / 7:33 pm

    This sounds great, brilliant that it is all cooked fresh to order even if it does take a little longer. Love their ethos of donating meals too.
    Nat.x

    • September 13, 2017 / 12:08 pm

      I know. That was a nice bonus.

  6. September 12, 2017 / 8:24 pm

    Sounds good, I could do with a place like that in my village..! #citytripping

    • September 13, 2017 / 12:10 pm

      Ooh yes – wouldn’t that be nice!

  7. September 12, 2017 / 10:48 pm

    Having visited Oslo I know how hard it is to find anywhere relatively inexpensive. This sounds great, good food and vibe. I like the charitable donation side too! Thanks for linking #citytripping

    • September 13, 2017 / 12:11 pm

      And thank you for hosting!

    • September 13, 2017 / 12:19 pm

      They’re cool, aren’t they? I saw some similar in Ikea the other day.

  8. September 17, 2017 / 1:03 pm

    I love that places like this pay attention to the style of the dining experience even if they do loads of takeaway. Very cool and a great family place, it appears! #citytripping

    • September 19, 2017 / 7:54 pm

      It was so cool, Jen!

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