Heleats: Eating My Way Through Helsinki, Finland!

Heleats: Eating My Way Through Helsinki, Finland!

When you hear of Helsinki, I bet that you wouldn’t normally think of it as a culinary destination… However, after my week-long stay in this wonderful nordic city, I have come to realize that this can easily be a foodie’s haven!

Thanks to Heleats, I was able to experience such an amazing feast for my senses as I was taken on a gastronomic whirlwind all throughout the city.

Now, to give you an idea of the food that I gobbled up and the establishments that can give you the best fare, come look through below!
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Heleats: Local Food, Drinks & Snacks

Poronkaristys.
Poronkäristys
 – sauteed reindeer

When one thinks of Finland, a reindeer dish would swiftly come to mind so I took it upon myself to try it (at least once) while I was in Helsinki. There are different styles to cooking such and what I particularly tried was a tattikuorrutettua or a reindeer fillet — and it was really good! The taste of the meat was exquisite and had a rich ‘gamey’ taste. Trivia: Finland as a whole is big on ‘game’ meat; so other than reindeer, they’re known for their dishes on moose, duck, deer, etc.
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Pea Soup.
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Hernekeitto
 – split pea soup

Finland shares this tradition with Sweden wherein Finnish people would eat pea soup on Thursdays (typically at lunch). Often times this is served with pork and such a tradition is said to have started as prepartion for fasting on Friday.
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Glogi.
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Glögi
 – Finnish mulled wine 

This is the kind of drink that’s normally served during Christmas, but juice manufacturers such as Marli in Finland produce a non-alcoholic sort and I had the chance to try their concentrate which needs to be diluted with hot water (but some people use wine). Trivia: glogi is spiked with a lot of spices but unlike most European mulled wines, it is primarily made of juices of berries.
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Coffee Culture.
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Coffee

Did you know that the people of Finland have the highest consumption of coffee all over the world? In fact, each Finn consumes coffee on an average of 12kgs per year! Apart from heading on to any cafe to experience the typical Finnish ‘coffee culture’, you can also make a cup of jo for yourself by buying coffee brands like Juhla Mokka or Good Life.
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Finnish Squeaky Cheese.
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★ Leipäjuusto – Finnish ‘squeaky cheese’ 
This snack has become my NEW favorite! I loved the texture and taste especially when paired with cloudberry jam (lakkahillo). Basically, this is an oven-cooked fresh cow’s milk cheese and it is absolutely best served hot!
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Salmiakki.
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Salmiakki – salty black liquorice candy
Unlike typical sweet liquorice candies, Finland’s salmiakki is of the salty kind so this is actually the kind of food that is of an ‘acquired taste’. I personally didn’t like it at first try since it was very overwhelming; but once you get familiar to it, it’s quite a good one to snack on.
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Pulla.
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Pulla – sweet cardamom-flavored bread
This is a typical Finnish dessert bread that is mildly sweet and flavored with crushed cardamom seeds. At times it is also sprinkled with raisins or sliced almonds. Another sort that is made of traditional ‘pulla’ dough is korvapuusti or a Finnish cinnamon roll.
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Heleats: Local Restaurants & Cafes

Kappeli.
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Kappeli and Meripaviljonki
 – for Finnish dishes

If you’re looking for a great restaurant that serves classical Finnish dishes, then these two restaurants are for you! As a bonus, dining here would also be an absolute joy because of its unique atmosphere — Kappeli for being a truly elegant establishment, and Meripaviljonki for its picturesque positioning in the heart of the city. (Trivia: Other unique restaurants you can try that offer Finnish dishes are Savotta and Juuri).
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Naughty BRGR.
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Naughty BRGR 
– for the best burgers

In all honesty, I dined here with no grand expectations — I just wanted burgers. So imagine how flabbergasted I was when I had a taste of their burgers! It. Was. Divine. Tip: Don’t miss out on their sweet potato fries since those are impeccably fried to a crisp!
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Cafe Ekberg.
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Café Ekberg 
– for the best bakery goodies and café culture

Established since 1850, Café Ekberg has been a classic in the Helsinki scene. Today, they operate as a café, patisserie and bakery, and they also offer a catering service and a banquet space for events. For must-tries, ask for their classics: napoleonleivoksesta and samppanjakorkista. (Trivia: Check out The Choux Company since they’ve got great pastries too!)
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Cafetoria Roastery.
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Cafetoria Roastery 
– for the best coffee

They may be relatively new (launched in 2002) but they’re at their prime when it comes to premium and quality-brewed coffee! Additionally, their ambiance is perfectly quaint as you get to see and experience for yourself how Helsinki’s coffee culture goes.

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To glimpse a brief recap of how I ate my way through Helsinki with the help of Heleats, come see my vlog below:


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Overall

Heleats

It has been a delight to have been a part of Visit Helsinki’s #HelsinkiSecret campaign, because in return, I was not only able to explore the city’s popular sights but I was also well-guided by Heleats’ tips as I explored the various local fare in the area.

Anyhow, there are still a lot of Finnish dishes that I haven’t tried yet though… However, I’m not fretting because I’m already eyeing my return to this wonderful country that is seemingly filled with an array of interesting foodie choices! As for you — I hope this ‘starter list’ will already help guide you on your own gastronomic trip as you head off to Helsinki. Enjoy!

How about you?

  • What do you think of Finnish food?
  • Which items and/or establishments would you like to try out?
  • Or have you already tried some Finnish fare? How was it for you?

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16 comments

  1. I haven't been to Finland, but it's on my plans(like everything else!)
    Never thought about eating reindeer, but it looks quite yummy and would love to try! Heck, all the food that you showed on the pictures and video do look amazing!

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    1. I never thought I'd try reindeer too! But the meet is interesting. It was very gamey and I think it's fine to try it at least once. :D

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  2. Really amazing list of food to taste in Finland I'd like taste Pulla it sounds really interesting and delicious...

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    1. ...and it is delicious, Maggie ;)

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  3. I've always been curious about Finnish food - especially reindeer and squeaky cheese. I love the lay-out you used for your write-up, totally pinning this for my future foodie travels. What an amazing opportunity!

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    1. I'm happy to hear that Jennifer! This doesn't cover ALL of Finnish cuisine, but for sure, these are near the top :D Hope you get to try them out soon! Cheers!

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  4. So many different foods that I've never heard of! I love exploring foods from other cultures. The squeaky cheese sure sounds interesting, as does the cardamom bread. Not so sure that I would be able to eat Reindeer!

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    1. Oh you would love both of those fares! As for the reindeer, I know what you mean. Rest assured, they practice responsible hunting here but I know that people can still be hesitant to try it.

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  5. It sounds like a wonderful experience. I like trying out foods that are new to me. All the food you featured looks absolutely delicious. The squeaky cheese looks very interesting. I’ll have to look for a recipe.

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    1. Oh, you will love the squeaky cheese! I badly want a piece of it now >_<

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  6. I love trying foods from other countries! All of this sounds so good but the Pulla is what I would want to try the most. I would love to try the reindeer as well, the dish looks amazing.

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    1. Both of those won't disappoint you Audrey :D

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  7. I seriously did not know that people ate reindeer! All I can think now is "Poor Rudolph!", lol. Seriously though, there are so many interesting places to eat in Helsinki. I love the name of Naughty BRGR!

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    1. I know what you mean! But consumption and hunting there are very controlled. Nevertheless, as a foodie I can assure you that Helsinki will absolutely fulfill you!

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  8. Great post. Do cardamom made it all the way to Finland!

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    1. And it was a really good thing! :D

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