A traditional Swedish smörgåsbord consists of both hot and cold dishes. It is customary to begin with the cold fish dishes which are generally various form of herring, salmon, eel and so forth. After eating the dishes, people usually continue with other cold dishes, and round off with hot dishes such as Swedish meatballs (köttbullar), and other specialties like Janssons frestelse. Dessert may or may not be included in a smörgåsbord.
The Swedish word "smörgåsbord" is a combination word consisting of the words smörgås (translated "sandwich") and bord (translated "table"). "Smörgås" (sandwich) in turn consists of the words smör (literally "butter") and gås (literally "goose", but in its old meaning, it's the churned butter floating on the skimmed milk).
According to a Swedish linguist, Catharina Grünbaum, gås referred to pieces of butter that formed and floated to the surface of cream when it was churned; these pieces resembled fat geese swimming to the surface. Such pieces were just the right size to be placed and flattened out on bread. Smörgås came to mean butter and bread together. In Sweden, the term bredda smörgåsar (buttered sandwiches) has been used since at least the 16th century, and nowadays refers not only to buttered bread but also buttered bread with foodstuffs between sandwiches.
Julbord is a compound word consisting of the elements jul, meaning Yule (today synonymous with Christmas) and bord, literally table. The classic Swedish julbord is the traditional smörgåsbord served from the beginning of December until just before Christmas in homes and at restaurants. A traditional julbord is typically eaten in three courses. The first course consists of the cured salmon, pickled herring and eel served in a variety of sauces. It is customary to eat particular foods together to ensure the appropriate combination of taste and textures. For example, herring is typically eaten with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs and is frequently accompanied by a snaps of vodka with or without spice.
The third course of hot dishes include köttbullar (Swedish meatballs), prinskorv (small sausages), kåldolmar (meat stuffed cabbage rolls), jellied pigs' feet, lutfisk (a reconstituted dried cod served with thick white sauce), revbenspjäll (oven-roasted pork ribs), and Janssons frestelse (literally "Jansson's Temptation", a baked dish of matchstick potatoes layered with cream, onion and sprats). Side dishes include beetroot salad and warm stewed red cabbage.
Julbord desserts include risgrynsgröt, rice porridge sprinkled with cinnamon powder. photo Traditionally, an almond is hidden in the bowl of rice porridge and whoever finds it receives a small prize or is recognized for having good luck. There is also a traditional saying that the one who gets the almond will get married within a year.
In Canada, Chinese smorgasbord is a buffet style used for Canadian Chinese cuisine. This tradition dates back to Gastown, British Columbia, which later became Vancouver, when Scandinavian-immigrant mill workers and loggers encouraged their Chinese cooks to arrange Chinese food as it was done in their homelands.