We visited Finland a week before the start of the Finnish summer holiday. I thought it would be enough time to fit in a few tasty meals before the entire country shut down. Sadly, a lot of the restaurants that were on my food itinerary were either closed for renovation or for an early start on the summer holiday.
That said, we were still able to sample a variety of the local fare. I loved the full Finnish breakfasts served in our hotels, the Hotel Scandic Paasi, Helsinki, having the best selection. We had a lot of salmon soup and fried whitefish (the Kauppatori stalls served the best soup), as well as a bit of reindeer and mash and fresh berries.
Our favourite restaurants were Gastrobar Emo and Ravintola Gaijin (literally means Foreigner Restaurant in a blend of Finnish and Japanese). Emo served a refreshing menu featuring a lot of seasonal vegetables, although I’ll admit we were a bit hungry after the meal.
Although the food scene is slowly becoming more diverse, ethnic food is still harder to come by in Helsinki. We craved steamed white rice after 10 days of rye and potatoes so decided to go back to our gaijin roots on our last day in Finland.
A lot of our friends were surprised we chose Finland of all the Scandinavian countries to visit because we’re so big on food. We got a lot of “You should’ve gone to Norway!” I had no idea that Finnish food ranked so low on people’s ‘must try’ lists. In any case, I had to see Moominvalley with my own eyes. And why not Finland? Although we did not find as many choices for food as we may have had on our other travels, we enjoyed almost everything we tried.
If we ever have a chance to return to Finland, I would like to try Ravintola Juuri (you really broke my heart last summer…we had reservations, but due to delayed renovations they were cancelled) and Patisserie Teemu & Markus (the mere thought of how disappointed I was when we finally found you and you were CLOSED makes my tastebuds ache for you all over again).