Topping the list of popular foods is the ever-popular potato. The potato is served every day in Finland. You can see it almost everywhere you go. When I go to have lunch at the local diners – there it is...! The potato! Quite often, potatoes are served mashed with a meat sauce making them soft and easy to swallow. You'll also see the peeled potato served with many other meats like chicken breast, pork or deer. Potatoes are served in fast-food chain restaurants like Hesburger, which is the McDonald’s of Finland. I hear Hessburger fries are tastier than those in McDonald’s!
Potatoes are the main ingredient in Nakkisoppa, a very typical Finnish soup. It consists of boiledpeeled potatoes, a few sausages, carrots, onions and soup bouillon for flavor. Yum! My mother-in-law usually prepares this soup with lots of potatoes compared to the quantity of meat.
What is really delicious on a cold snowy winter day are potato quarters prepared over the grill. These potatoes are served with diced sausages, ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise. Served in a paper container, they become an instant "hand-warmer” and work as a really tasty treat.
For holiday cooking, the Perunalaatikko mashed potatoes are baked in the oven. Once they are baked for some time, a thick crust covers the surface of the soft potatoes. For first-timers, Perunalaatikko is a dish which may take time to get used to. The authentic version tastes as sweet as a dessert since it contains molasses.
Fish from Finland's abundant lakes and seas is a very popular food. Shopping centers in Finland have fresh fish deli sections. Most larger towns and cities in Finland have indoor market places which sell fish all yearround. The Helsinki or Tampere Kauppahalli indoor markets and outdoor open markets sell at least a dozen different types of fish. Smoked fish is another popular Finnish food found at the marketplaces and in smaller, more obscure areas like in parking lots at supermarkets. These fish stands are usually a one-man operation.
Salmon over a fire at the Open Market behind Rosa's hat!
While driving on road 12, 40 km North of Tampere, that fish sign caught my attention again!
It's that yellow sign with black letters which says...? "Smoked Fish"! At Kalakeidas they smoke the fish on the spot. Then sell it to ya...freshly smoked.
Coffee and Pulla are found everywhere. This snack is consumed in the morning or in the evening by a lot of Finnish people. It is a magic combination of freshly baked sweet buns with coffee. This sweetbread topped with coarse sugar sprinkles is served at gas stations, mall cafes, kiosks and most restaurants.