A Finnish Feast

Whilst I was dreading navigating Japan’s food scene, I wasn’t sure what to expect of Finland. So I was pleasantly surprised to find several meals that were (literally) worth writing home about. I’m not a sophisticated diner, so don’t expect Michelin-star selections here, just hearty winter fuel.

Lazy Fox

Vegetarian breakfast at Lazy Fox

With the Hotel Indigo’s breakfast buffet starting at €28.50 and quickly rising if you wanted anything hot, I was keen to find other places to start my day. Lazy Fox was a mere 3 minute walk away, and honestly I’d have enjoyed anything from their menu. But their vegetarian all-day breakfast included halloumi, so was an easy choice, and comparatively cheap at €17.


Pork Carbonara Noodles at Bunit

Of the several dozen eateries in the vast Kemppi shopping centre, I had originally bookmarked Singapore Hot Wok as a lunch spot. But when I got there the options didn’t particularly appeal – and Bunit, just next door, seemed far more promising. Although they specialise in bao, I was intrigued by an Asian twist on carbonara. I try to minimise the amount of red meat in my diet, but I will stray for something special, and this certainly was: fried pork belly swimming in a rich sauce with a kick of chili. Two types of cheese and both spring and crispy onions rounded out the flavours and textures, and the portion was enormous: I had no hope of finishing it as a midday meal. At €16 I was very happy with the price, too.

Pizzeria Särdough

The Star at Pizzeria Särdough

The 120 year old Hietalahti Market Hall hosts a number of vendors offering food from around the world, although most of them seemed to be closed when I visited late of an evening- I wasn’t even sure if I was in the right building at first… However, I soon found Pizzeria Särdough in its impressive location at the end of the hall, and claimed a table up on the balcony after ordering. I took the internet’s advice to go for The Star, which seems to be their signature dish – at €19, it’s the most expensive pizza on the menu. I was able to customise it, trading the usual salami for mushrooms to create a meat-free version, but the highlight is the sourdough crust, each point of the star stuffed with cheese!

Kumpi Peruna

Sautéed reindeer jacket potato at Kumpi Peruna

Helsinki’s famous Old Market Hall serves reindeer in many ways – with rice or chips, as a soup, in pita or spring rolls – but I had my sights set on a jacket potato from Kumpi Peruna. €16 gets you as many toppings as you want, but I kept it simple with just reindeer and lingonberry. Creamy mash in a slow-cooked skin is precisely what I hope for from a jacket potato, and they have perfected it here – no microwave nonsense. I was glad I had brought my travel cutlery, though, as a plastic fork quite literally doesn’t cut it. I’ve now eaten reindeer in Sweden, Norway and Finland, so I guess I have a quest for the other Nordic nations…