HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Where can I find pickled herring?

My husband is Danish and I've decided to make a traditional Danish Christmas dinner this year. I've never looked for pickled herring before, so I'm clueless as to where to find the best. Any grocery store, or do I have to go to a specialty shop? Rockville/Gaithersburg area preferred, but not essential. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I'm sure there are gourmet stores that stock these things, but you can also always stop by Ikea. they've got this and many other scandinavian favorites. For the pickled herring, they sell the same brands I see in the gourmet stores, so I don't think you're getting some sketchy version.

    1. I've gotten it at the Pentagon City Costco a couple of times and really liked it - however, I haven't seen it in my last couple of visits there.

      1. Try the Kielbasa Factory in Rockville ;-)

        1. Giant Food carries what you're looking for.

          1. My Danish sister in law usually buys it at Giant.

            1. Vita brand pickled herring is widely available in most of the local grocery chains. It always seems to be tucked in around the dairy/butter/horseradish/cold pickles section of the store. Less often around the seafood counters.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Geeyore

                Vita uses high fructose corn syrup now, has for the past couple years. I want corn in my taco, not my fish. Other than that, the Vita does remind me of what my Norwegian aunt used to feed me, albeit a little sweeter & with those little blackish green pepper corns toned down a bit.

                1. re: Ziv

                  I agree. Vita is an insult to Nordic seafood. No grocery store should carry them.

              2. Thanks to all who replied. I got some yesterday at the Kielbasa Factory in Rockville -- thank you, monavano, for the tip! The product I got is from Poland, which makes sense given that the K.F. is a Polish store. There is no HFCS in it, fortunately.

                That's a VERY popular store at this time of year -- when I walked in there were about 25 people standing in line for the single cash register! Half an hour later I emerged with the treasured jar -- and based on how excited my husband was to see it in our refrigerator, it was time well-spent!

                1 Reply
                1. re: foodtrip

                  Drain off the brine and mix with sour cream. Awesome.

                2. Seems like the OP is satisfied, but for future reference, try the German Gourmet stores (two locations: Falls Church & Baileys XRoads). They have a pretty good matjessill, imported from either Denmark or Holland, I can't remember. Matjes herring is pretty good as is, but you can probably drain it off and make other sauces to your liking.

                  It's kind of expensive at the German Gourmet. I usually buy my herring at Ikea, where there's more selection and lower prices.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MartinDC

                    Or if the OP is in DC, or needs something Metro-accessible, Southern Maryland Seafood at Eastern Market sells pickled herring from tubs. Nice chunks since it doesn't have to be cut so small to fit into little jars.

                  2. You can get pickled herring at kosher mart in Rockville. Not open on friday night or Saturday's since it is kosher
                    Best however is to have it shipped from Barney Greengrass The King of Sturgeon on the upper west side of manhattan. Google and check out their website. Had the absolute best Lox from there on Thursday

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: dining with doc

                      If you're going mail order, then I'd buy it from Russ & Daughters, who I believe has the best smoked fish. Barney Greengrass is good, but Russ & Daughters has a broader range of options (wild caught, farm raised, different types of fish, different preservation techniques) and their quality is off-the-charts good. And if you're ever in NYC, then you have to visit because the Russ & Daughters store is a walk back in time. Plus, it's one of the few places where New Yorkers are civil to one another, perhaps in deference to the calm, kind, and competent fish slicers behind the counter. Wonderful place.

                      1. re: glutton

                        +1 Also, had house cured herring at 2 Amys last night... yum!

                    2. IKEA in College Park a good stock of several varieties in its grocery section: with dill, with mustard, with onion & carrot, with sour cream, and with garlic (None of which you will ever see in my cart, mind you. >shudder< )

                      1. For future reference, Magruders in Gaithersburg has pickled herring, and sometimes pickled lox!