In Bizarre Foods Helsinki, part of the Delicious Destinations series featuring Andrew Zimmern, the host and his crew visited numerous restaurants in the city, showcasing a variety of unique and delicious dishes. Here is a convenient list of all the addresses and dishes highlighted in this exciting exploration of Helsinki’s food scene.
Rapu refers to freshwater crayfish that is boiled and served
whole. Crayfish is rinsed then boiled with dill, salt and sugar. It is then chilled
in its own broth with sprigs of dill up to 12 hours. A platter of rapu is
typically served with stock left from the cooking, white toast, butter and dill.
Särkänlinna is an island-restaurant that can be reached
through a 10-minute ferry ride from downtown Helsinki. It originated as an 18th
century fortress to protect Helsinki from Russian invaders. Presently, it hosts
rapujuhlat or rapu parties where diners enjoy platters of boiled crayfish.
DISH – Vorschmack
WHAT IS IT?
Vorschmack is a unique mix of minced beef, lamb and pickled herring.
It is typically served as an appetizer or main dish. To start putting the dish
together, roasting hand-cubed organic beef and lamb are roasted. The liquid is
then drained for stock while the meat is left to cool overnight. The next day,
garlic and onions are sautéed in a pan. Whole herrings are then cured in vinegar
and sugar. These will then be ground together with the meat, garlic and onions.
The ground mixture will then simmered for 2 days to slowly develop its deep,
rich flavor. The mixture is occasionally stirred and topped off with water.
Eventually, it will condense into a paste-like consistency. Once it looks stiff
enough, it can be served with baked potato, beet root, pickles and a dollop of
velvety Smetana (Russian sour cream).
The Savoy overlooks the Helsinki Esplanade and is known for
its rooftop seating. One of its best known customers is Marshall Carl Gustaf
Emil Mannerheim, who is credited for bringing the vorschmack recipe to the
Savoy. The recipe has not changed since it was first served in the 1940s.
DISH – Karelian Pie – Andrew Zimmern Helsinki
WHAT IS IT?
Karelian pie or Karelian pasty is a thin rye crust filled
with savory porridge and crowned with eggs and butter. To make the pie crust,
butter, sea salt and water are added to rye flour. It is mixed for about 6
minutes and left to cool for approximately 2 hours to make the dough more
pliable and ready to be stretched. Rye dough must be very thin to make it
crispy. The filling is a simple porridge made of rice, milk and salt. The pie
is finished with a signature crimp before it bakes in the oven for 20 minutes.
It is served with a side of munavoi or egg butter. Munavoi is chopped hard
boiled eggs mixed with butter, salt and pepper typically spread over Karelian
pies while they are hot.
Ekberg is the oldest pastry shop in Helsinki, baking for
Finns since 1852. It bakes over 600 Karelian pies a week.
DISH – Muikku – Andrew Zimmern Helsinki
WHAT IS IT?
Muikku is a dish of fried small fish served whole. It is a
popular on-the-go snack made with fresh muikku from local lakes. Muikku is a
tiny white fish from the salmon family. Raw fish is coated with seasoned rye
flour before it is fried in butter until brown. It is typically served with
Lapland Food is one of the food stalls at the Market Square
or Kauppatori. It sells up to 250 orders of muikku a day.
DISH – Poronkaristys – Delicious Destinations Helsinki
WHAT IS IT?
Poronkaristys is a Lapland braised dish made with thin
slices of reindeer. A shank of reindeer is shaved into thin slices and cooked in
butter. Water is then added before the cooked meat is placed in an oven for 2
hours to make it nice and tender. It is served with potatoes and tart,
Saaga is defined by its Lappish fare, being a showcase for Sámi
culture. Here, poronkaristys is served family style.
DISH – Kalakukko – Bizarre Foods Delicious Destinations Helsinki
WHAT IS IT?
Kalakukko is a pocket of fish encased in rye bread. The recipe
varies per region and in Helsinki, the dish starts with a crust of sourdough
rye. The dough is flattened into discs and loaded with fresh whole muikku. It
is then dusted with salted and partially wrapped in dough to showcase the
muikku instead of hiding it inside. After 10 minutes in the oven, the kalakukko
is glazed with butter and served.
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