Another thing I enjoy in Finland is the habit people have of placing dropped items (gloves, hats etc.) up high so they are visible and don’t get muddy. It is a nice little habit.
My most magical food truck experience happened in Los Angeles c. Spring 2003. Two friends and I were spoiled by all-you-can-eat fresh, Californian college food plans that appeared magically as part of our exorbitant tuition. We barely remembered how to feed ourselves, cook, or use cash to buy food. It was only because of impending war that we were in town out of term time to protest the impending war. It was rainy and cold– at least from our perspective. We were hungry and broke, and in the middle of nowhere LA in the wake of the protest march. A taco truck appeared out of the mist. I remember it zooming to a halt right in front of us, like a knight on a rearing white stead come to save us. We had to be able to speak Spanish to get our fish tacos, which were delicious and cheap.
Fast forward to Helsinki c. 2014. Suddenly, street food and food trucks have become a must-have for aspiring hipster cities. I can’t help but feel this is a bit derivative of and yet a strangely establishment version of, i.e., the PDX food truck trend, missing the shoestring origins of ye olde moveable restaurant enterprise. . . you know what I mean?
Maybe this is just another artisanal toast phenomenon.
Anyway, I went to the event, fought through crowds to meet my friend, was groped by a late middle aged/old well-dressed Finnish man in the midst of the crush, which was worse than New Year’s Eve at Senate Square, waited in line a looooong time for a beef sandwich from the Street Gastro food truck… which WAS GREAT. At 5 EUR, also a wonderful price. But… Come on! Oh well.
That being said, I am a big fan of Ravintola Päivää.
A transcendent lamb “Vorshmack Burger” with fish roe from Tehtaankadun Marsalkka during February 2014 Restaurant Day. This was amazing. And unique. This beauty was lowered down by rope to the street level. I had to go back to get my man a second one– they were that good. The talented kids behind it are definitely ones to watch.
A huge basement-level City Market, some prices great, others horrible. They were also out of many staples.
Here is what was interesting:
- Very cheap cleaned muikku (a wee little lake fish)
- Frozen Finnish reindeer
- Coconut/rice/nut milk
- Good prices on frozen Finnish berries, and a better berry selection than at most places.
- Frozen organic spinach
- Cheap frozen Asian catfish
- Lots of quinoa
- Good prices on organic oils including organic cold pressed coconut oil and olive oil
- MACADAMIA NUT OIL!
Examples of what not to buy there currently because they are overpriced:
- Milk (Organic milk 50 p more expensive than, e.g., my local Alepa and not a great selection)
- Eggs — Stockmann is a better option
- The fresh fish looks good, but Stockmann often beats their prices there as well.
They did not have:
- Alpro almond milk– even the sweetened kind
- Whole or steel-cut oats
- Whole Finnish buckwheat (why is no one carrying this?!)
Endive in left over turkey broth.