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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

23.09.2012 – Why haven’t I been posting?

Well, if you’re new to this blog, I’ll give you a short intro. Within one and a half years of moving to my new country, Finland, I opened the first self-serve frozen yogurt bar in Helsinki called Yobot. I’ve been open for six months now, just long enough to take a step back and take a deep breath and reflect on what’s happened.

I thought it would be good to share my experience. The idea of this blog will change from exploring my new home country to the life of an entrepreneur in Finland.

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08.02.11 – People always joke about the food being so bad in Finland, including me ;), but the truth is, there are still some nice options out there if you look for them. One of the places I really like is Soppakeittiö Tapaste Oy, soppakeittiö means soup kitchen in Finnish. They have two locations but my favorite is in Hakaniemin Kauppahalli, the other is in Wanha Kauppahalli closer to the Old Market Square.

The Soppakeittiö usually has three soup options to choose from. When I visited they had a simple vegetarian curry soup, a bouillabaisse and a Russian style fish soup called Kalaseljanka, which is what I went for. The prices are right, usually around 8,50€, which is pretty much the going rate for any lunch in Helsinki but the quality of the soup is so much better. Seating is tight because the stalls in the Kaupahalli, which was built in the early 1900s, are always small and the soup kitchen is always popular. I didn’t have to wait for a seat because I sat at the counter with the other customers huddled over their bowls of soup.

Besides great soup, they also have two types of fresh bread always available in a baskets within reach for all to share family style, and they serve your soup with a herb infused olive oil. The bread is a perfect combination for the soup but is great on its own too.

It’s the perfect lunch because you won’t leave hungry and you won’t leave stuffed. This place is one of my favorites in Helsinki and I think you should try it if you get the chance. If you’re visiting me in Finland, we’ll definitely make it one of our stops.

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26.08.10 – One of the hippest little cafes I’ve found is Cafe Regatta, Merikannontie 10, a little red cottage with a funky, cozy inside and an outside terrace by the sea. It’s the perfect place to relax and stare out on the water while you enjoy one of their freshly baked pulla (sweet buns). The coffee is excellent and they pay you 5 cents for refills. Yeah, they pay you! One other thing, they don’t have internet, which can be good for someone like me 😉 If you’re finding it difficult to sit after the caffeine fix and/or the water looks to inviting, fear not, you can rent a canoe from the cafe too.

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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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