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Archive for August 24th, 2010

24.08.10 – I found a perfect little pocket of grocery markets on a street called Hämeentie in the Helsinki neighborhood of Kallio. Kallio, on the Eastern side of Helsinki, is divided by a strip of water called the Siltasaarensalmi strait which is often referred to as Helsinki’s symbolic divide between the rich and the working class. It’s a bit “rough” by Finnish standards with one joke being that it has its own language which is the “Ööäghnhgääghaaahnghöngh” like speak of the drunk. Kallio is also the most ethnically diverse area in Helsinki which makes it the best place to look for cheap ethnic groceries.

At the intersection of Hämeentie and Toinen linja is the heart of my current grocery fixation because you can find the best of both worlds for all of your cooking needs. Walking Northeast on Hämeentie takes you to a cluster of ethnic groceries and restaurants, my current favorite being Vii Voan Market where you can find everything from 15 kilo bags of rice to sriracha chili sauce. Once you score the staples, make a 180° turn and head to Hakaniemen Kauppahalli, a beautiful building built in 1914, before Finland was a country, and one of the best places to find fresh fish, meat, cheese and even some nice little restaurants and coffee shops. Once you’ve scored a nice chunk of Lohi (Salmon!) head outside to the outdoor market where you’ll find all of the fresh vegetables you’ll need; beans, mushrooms, eggplant, tomatoes…

Within an hour, I always find myself weighed down, so luckily the tram stop is located right next to the outdoor market and makes for a perfect getaway ;)

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