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Helsinki Eating & Drinking
Finland is not a major gastronomy destination, but that doesn't mean you can't eat and drink well when in this nordic country.
And, in fact - I've eaten some of the best foods there and enjoyed quite a variety of beers.
My fast trip didn't allow me to try everything out and I barely took photos of my meals (I was sooooo hungry I forgot to immortalize the delicacies).
The best thing I has was a huge full plate of fish, shrimps and fried potatoes. It was delicious and cost me just under 9 EUR. It was actually a Turkish seafood reastaurant inside the Forum shopping center.
A restaurant in the port area. Looked deserted, but I loved this logo.
As I was walking to the Ruoholahti metro station I came across a Nepalese restaurant...
To be honest, I was quite surprised to find such a place in Finland.
"Yeti" - Nepalese restaurant
There was a large Texan restaurant just across the Rautatientori Square, which is near the massive old building of the Central Railway Station.
Bar & grill type Texan restaurant just across from the Central Railway Station
It was hilarious when I came across this so-called Wrong Noodle Bar in central Helsinki.
Hey, I love noodles, but the name was just sooooo... wrong!
This noodle bar is so wrong!
Not only that "Wrong" is soooo wrong, but it's a bar, not a restaurant. Interesting idea, but I had my instant noodles ready to prepare at home!
I can't imagine how "wrong" it could have been to enter the "wrong" place to eat called "Wrong"! I will try it next time when I'll have more time!
The Wrong Noodble Bar. Hey, it's a bar, not even a restaurant.
If you're looking for a cheap place to eat, then try the shopping centers. A great place that I found was the bottom floor of the Forum shopping center.
There, you'll find all sorts of small independent fast food restaurants. Lots of healthy food like seafood etc.
Forum shopping center
Finns have the reputation of being borrachos. They drink a lot of alcohol.
Climate being cold, alcohol has been used to warm people up. But I don't quite like high concentration alcohol drinks, so I only tried the beers.
4.5 % is not a strong beer, but I've seen lighter ones
I encountered half a dozen borrachos in public places.
They were emanating strong alcohol odor, some of them couldn't even walk straight(!).
It was amazing how many drunk guys were edging on Helsinki's streets... Hilarious! And some of them even bumped into me. And these were not homeless, but normal-looking people!
As for the beers...
I do the beer tour whenever I travel.
But I take care not to overdo it: keeping it steady with the alcohol quantities and also taking account of the fact that beer is a strong fattener (a few drinks and you'll become round with a huge belly in no time).
I am an occasional drinker. Months can pass without me drinking a single beer...
Kukko beers were quite abundantly present in shops. I guess it must be popular in Finland. So I bought a can.
It tasted better than Portuguese and Spanish beers, but nowhere near as good as fine German, Austrian, Hungarian or Japanese beers.
My other pick was the Karhu beer.
The Finnish word "karhu" literally means bear. And, beer rhymes with bear!
It had a strong bitter taste. And it was a pale "blonde" beer with 4.6 % concentration.
Karhu - the beer with the bear!
Pretty much the name of everything I drank in Finland started with a "K". What I found funny was the double "k", like in "Kurkko". You hick-up when you try prnouncing it!
This Kurkko was a medium sweet long drink with medium amount of carbon dioxide (sparkling).
Lemon-like taste (actually grapefruit flavoured) was felt more like "in the background", although, the strongest taste felt bitter. There was also a strong taste of alcohol. It's a bitter drink with a strong alcohol taste.
4,7 % is the concentration of alcohol.
This drink is close in looks and taste to Schweppes Bitter Lemon, although less acidic, stronger bitterness, strong alcohol taste and just slight sweetness.
This Kurkko drink could also be compared to Coca Cola's Aquarius (sold in Japan, Spain etc.). Although, Aquarius is much sweeter and has no alcohol and is more acidic than bitter.
Overall, we can describe this as a translucent white bitter alcohol-containing drink with carbon dioxide and a very slight grapefruit flavour.
I liked this one!
Long drinks are quite popular in Finland (and northern Europe in general).
Kurkko long drink with grapefruit has a concentration of 4.7 % alcohol. More than the previous two beers!
Let's see another long drink... Rekorderlig with strawberry and lime.
This one had a very soft feel, with strawberry dominating and a slight taste of lemon behind it.
It was slightly sweet and not too much carbon-dioxide in it either.
Its colour was light pink and despite the bottle bearing the 4.5 % mark, the alcohol in it felt weak. Both in terms of taste and effect as well.
Lime and strawberry drink
Arriving back to my hotel tired, it was great having a salad. And there were some pretty good cute little boxed salads in supermarket, so I bought one.
This one resembled was essentially a mini Greek salad with a jogurt dressing (the small box you see on the photo below).
Small boxed Greek salad. The mini tomatos weren't quite fresh, but edible...
The next mini salad was extremely delicious. It resembled a Greek salad, but it had plenty of sun-dried potatoes. Plus oil to pour on top.
This photo with the cap on shows beeter what it contains.
Similar to Greek salad. With feta and sun-dried tomatoes.
When in Finland you should also try the salty liqorice called salmiakki.
I bought these Must - Dark Shots at the airport. Just to spend off my remaining euro coins...
These black balls were coated in a thin candy shell. The interior is the chewy salmiakki core.
A pack of Must - Dark Shots contains approximately 14 shots. I call them "cannonballs".
Behold: the balls themselves!
Strange, but these were brown inside
A humble thing I bought before coming back was this pack of Salty Dog chips. Just to spend my remaining euro coins and also out of curiosity.
Salty Dog wasn't at all that special, but I loved the packaging and the slogan
Not at all Finnish, but a British product.
Simple salty potato chips.
In fact, it was awfully salty and some of it were overcooked.
But I loved the slogan: "The hand-cooked crisps that bite back".
About the Author:
Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...
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