When you hear of Helsinki, I bet 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! (Helsinki Food)
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.
Top Things to Do in Helsinki?
See the top FREE activities to do in Finland‘s capital!
To give you an idea of the Helsinki food that I gobbled up and the establishments that can give you the best fare, read through below!
Helsinki Food, Snacks and Drinks
» 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 of 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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» Hernekeitto (Split Pea Soup)
Finland shares this tradition with Sweden wherein Finnish people would eat pea soup on Thursdays (typically for lunch). Often times this is served with pork and such a tradition is said to have started as preparation for fasting on Friday.
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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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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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» Leipäjuusto (Finnish “Squeaky Cheese”)
This Helsinki food or Finnish 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 (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 (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.
Heleats Restaurants & Cafes
» 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.
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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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» Café Ekberg (For Bakery Goodies)
Established in 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 (For 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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» Top Helsinki Tours «
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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, I hope this ‘starter list’ will already help guide you on your own gastronomic trip as you head off to Helsinki. Enjoy!