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Special Food in the World, Asia, America, Australia, Africa, Europe | KFN Travel guide

Finland

1. RUISLEIPÄ (RYE BREAD)

What is it?

It is the most basic breakfast sandwich you can get, it is basically two slices of Finnish rye bread, a slice of ham and a slice of cheese on each side – that’s how most people in Finland eat this. However, if you’re feeling fancy you can also eat it with a slice of tomato, a salad leaf and a slice of cucumber.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

You need to eat breakfast too, correct? Unless you’re one of those weird people I know (like myself) who doesn’t eat breakfast because it is overrated then you can also eat this anytime you wish. It is not strictly just for breakfast. I eat this for dinner sometimes because why not.

Traditional Finnish Food

2. RIISPUURO (RICE PORRIDGE)

What is it?

Riisipuuro is your basic rice porridge made with a mixture of water, full-fat milk and rice. If you’re feeling a bit naughty, you can add a slab of butter and sugar on top of it and if you’re feeling a bit Christmas-y – add cinnamon! I prefer it with a slab of butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Yes, I like my porridge naughty sometimes.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

It is heavy and delicious – or at least I think. Plus, like what I said, you need to fuel up for a day of walking and rice porridge is a common breakfast food which a lot of Finns love. I do think though that since people are busier nowadays, they don’t make rice porridge at home anymore. However, they have a tradition in Christmas where everyone gathers around to eat rice porridge for breakfast.

Traditional Finnish Food

3. HERNEKEITTO JA PANNUKAKKU (PEA SOUP AND PANCAKE)

What is it?

Ah, hernekeitto! Basically, it is pea soup made from either fresh peas if it is summer and dried peas during winter. Typically cooked with smoked pork shanks, onions, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Simple, right? Well, cooking it is simple but you have to always remember to soak the dried peas first in water overnight otherwise cooking it would be a major pain in the ass – tried and tested.Soak it in water.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

Finnish pea soup is an ultimate favorite amongst Finns, especially the older people. Most young people hate this, but personally, I think Finnish pea soup is splendid especially if there’s smoked ham! This dish is typically served every Thursday in Finnish restaurants, and alongside it, you’ll also get a slice of oven baked pancake with jam (and sometimes whipped cream). Oh and, of course, rye crackers or rye bread with a thick layer of butter – with this soup is just wow.

Traditional Finnish Food

4. LOHIKEITTO (SALMON SOUP)

What is it?

The basic out of all the basics. Finnish salmon soup is an ultimate favorite regardless of the season! It is a timeless classic made with salmon, potatoes, carrots, onions and cream or full-fat milk and typically season with allspice and dill. Simple right?

Why should you try this Finnish food?

This is one of my favorite Finnish food since arriving in Finland. Also, this is eaten with rye bread with a slab of butter. Plus, Finland is known for their salmon culture influenced by Scandinavia. Whenever I have guests from abroad visiting me here in Finland, I always make sure to bring them to a restaurant that sells this, and all of them loved this creamy deliciousness. So I recommend you should not miss this either!

Traditional Finnish Food

5. SISKONMAKKARAKEITTO (SAUSAGE SOUP)

What is it?

Siskonmakkara is a raw sausage and if I would translate siskonmakkarakeitto to English it means, “Sister’s sausage soup” – which is an odd name and I am not sure what is the history behind why they called that sausage type like so.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

Siskonmakkarakeitto is one of those unusual dishes you’ll encounter while in Finland, and I think you should give it a try. The sausage used in this specific soup is specially made just for this specific soup – nothing else, or at least not that I know of. The sausage is raw and to get those little balls of sausages you’ll have to sort of… hmm, squeeze them out from the sausage casing, you get me? I really can’t explain it well, but this video can certainly tell you exactly what I mean (It is in Finnish though, but I just want you to see the part when they squeeze them balls out!)

Traditional Finnish Food

6. LIHAPULLAT MUUSILLA JA PUOLUKKAHILLOLLA (MEATBALLS WITH MASHED POTATOES AND LINGONBERRY JAM)

What is it?

Ah, Scandinavian meatballs! No pun intended, I swear. You all know IKEA, right? Well, the meatballs you get from there is obviously from Sweden. But! Finland also has a traditional Finnish meatball which every single child in this country loves. I love it too, and it is damn good. It is quite similar to the Swedish version: Meatballs, brown sauce, mashed potato and lingonberry jam – the bomb.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

Ah, the famous lihapullat or meatballs! I remember when I was working in this one famous traditional Finnish restaurant here in Helsinki, their meatballs was the most popular dish in the whole menu. Everyone’s coming to that restaurant to have that dish more than anything else and guess from where are their customers? Finland! Yes, Finns love meatballs! They were getting a lot of foreign diners too since the restaurant was a well-known traditional Finnish restaurant. I think it is worth to try this dish not only because it is good and it is usually rather cheap and as well really heavy and filling. Your €€€ will be all worth it!

Traditional Finnish Food

7. MAKARONILAATIKKO (BAKED MACARONI WITH MINCED MEAT)

What is it?

This Finnish baked macaron with minced meat could easily be comparable to the American mac and cheese – only this dish don’t have cheese, but instead, it has minced meat and full-fat milk. I think every child in this country had this every other day or at least once a week, and every single University students possible have this every single day – three times a day. Why may you ask? Well,makaronilaatikko is exceptionally easy and cheap to make! Plus, almost everyone in Finland ate/eat this dish. I don’t necessarily suggest you eat this if you’re in Finland but it is up to you if you wish, I think this dish is nothing special but a popular broke student meal.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

It is comfort food and it is cheap! If you’re on a budget, this is your go-to meal if you’re in Finland – or anywhere in the world!

Traditional Finnish Food

8. KARJALANPAISTI (MEAT STEW)

What is it?

Karjalanpaisti or meat stew is one of the simplest comfort food you can have in your life! It is cooked in a special pot quite the same as a crockpot only you can cook it in the oven; it is usually cooked for several hours or even overnight so you can only imagine how soft the meat can be – it melts in your mouth.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

This meat stew is one of those meals that would warm up your heart and soul! If you some to Finland during winter, I’m sure you’ll love this stew after touring outside in the cold.

Traditional Finnish Food

9. PYTTIPANNU (PAN FRIED POTATOES WITH SAUSAGES)

What is this?

Pyttipannu is a dish made of leftover dishes that you put together from yesterday’s dinner. It is a good way to get rid of old food! Pyttipannu is typically made with old potatoes, onion, and sausages and topped with fried egg. However, you could always put whatever leftover food you have and fry them in a pan and serve it with ketchup and mustard – done.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

Again, I find this dish as a comfort food. If I made something with potatoes from the day before, I usually just fry them in butter with onions the next day, and that’s pyttipannu. If you’re a foreigner, you might find this dish odd but I dare you to try it, I think it is awesome. Come on; it is fried potatoes! Who doesn’t like fried potatoes – in butter.

Traditional Finnish Food

10. KAALIKÄÄRYLEET (STUFFED CABBAGE)

What is this?

Kaalikääryleet is stuffed cabbage, the best translation you can get. This dish is done by blanching the cabbage leaf, filling it with minced meat and cooked rice, roll it and then cook it in the oven and serve with mashed potatoes. Some people eat it with lingonberry jam, because why not.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

I am not so sure if this is traditional Finnish as I’ve eaten stuffed cabbage from other countries in Europe, notably in the Balkan and Baltic areas. But, if you’re interested in this sort of dishes, I recommend trying this dish here in Finland. It is still somewhat different than I’ve eaten from other countries!

Traditional Finnish Food

11. PAISTETTU MUIKKU (FRIED VENDACE)

What is this?

Paistettu muikku or fried vendace is a typical summer dish where you cover the vendace with a dry mixture of rye and regular flour; then you fry the fish in butter or ghee until golden and crispy. This dish is usually served with aioli and a slice of lemon on the side.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

If you come to Finland during the summer season, you’ll find fried vendace in summer food markets near the ports or town. You’ll see how popular this dish is amongst foreign and locals alike. I make it a goal to eat fried vendace at least three times a year during summer time; it is a crispy treat you’re looking forward to having since it is only available at certain time of the year!

Traditional Finnish Food

12. LIHAPIIRAKKA (MEAT PIE)

What is this?

Oh, lihapiirakka or meat pie! One of my after party favorites! Finnish meat pie is one of the bomb you can have when you visit; it is greasy, salty and delicious. The dough is quite similar to doughnut dough, and it is filled with minced meat and cooked rice – then it is deep fried in greasy oil to goodness.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

If you’re up for some street food, this is the ones you’ll get from the streets of Finland. Only they don’t have street vendors, but instead, they have small kiosks where you can buy these bad boys. You can have them either filled with more goodness or plain as it is, your choice – I suggest trying both.

Traditional Finnish Food

13. GRAAVILOHI (CURED SALMON)

What is this?

Ah, Finland and their love for salmon! Graavilohi is pretty straightforward, you rub the fresh salmon with a mixture of salt, sugar, dill and rose peppers then you let it cure for few days until you like the texture and flavor – done! You’ll see this a lot when you visit Finland, and you’ll find cured salmon on top of rye bread with dill and boiled eggs; it is delicious!

Why should you try this Finnish food?

Cured salmon is one of Finland’s oldest traditional food; they got this influence from Scandinavian countries, and the locals love it a lot. I suggest trying Finnish cured salmon not only because I think it is pretty awesome, but also for the experience if you haven’t had cured salmon before. You’ll be surprised with the flavor it has!

Traditional Finnish Food

14. KARJALANPIIRAKKA MUNAVOILLA (CARELIAN PIE WITH EGG BUTTER)

What is this?

Karjalanpiirakka or Carelian pie originated from the Carelian side of Finland, located on the eastern side of the country, bordering to Russia. Carelian pie is perhaps one of the traditional Finnish food you’ll find that roots back to Finland. This pie is made out of rye dough which is rolled till it is paper thin and filled with rice porridge, or mashed potatoes. This is best served warm topped with a mixture of softened butter and boiled eggs.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

Oh, indeed this is something you shall not miss! I often eat this for breakfast topped with cheese and ham, and it is so heavy and filling and you’ll for surely have a right amount of energy for the rest of the day after eating a couple of this deliciousness. Although this dish is time-consuming, there are still Finnish grannies or mothers who make this dish from time to time! I personally never made it just because I barely have time for anything else, let alone make Carelian pie from scratch.

Traditional Finnish Food

15. SAVULOHI (WARM SMOKED SALMON)

What is this?

Savulohi or smoked salmon is yet another famous Finnish food which the locals rave about. This dish is just fresh salmon either smoked over an open campfire or in a traditional smoking box. There are many ways you can use smoked salmon, and the popular one is using it as a filling for bread or eaten with potatoes. Also, you can also use it in creamy pasta sauce or however you want. The sky is the limit.

Why should you try this Finnish food?

Like any other salmon dishes in Finland, smoked salmon is delicious and worth your money. It is also a traditional Christmas dish for some families in Finland, and you’ll often see all sorts of cured and smoked salmon in Christmas buffet’s around town if ever you visit during Christmas time.

Traditional Finnish Food