Thursday, 11 April 2013

Mad about the market

As I was pondering the future of the blog (what to write, what to cook and where to source the ingredients) one of the first stops was newly renovated Hietalahti Market Hall that I had been hearing such wonderful things about.

Roslund, traditional family-run meat counter (now headed by fourth generation of Roslunds), every bit as famous for their selection as they are for their service, didn't fail. I returned home with some ravishing ruby-red lamb merguez sausages. And after seeing Rosburger live for the very first time it became obvious that nothing else would do for lunch.

In a short time these burgers have become a bit of a legend and during weekends you might have to queue yours up to an hour.

Luckily we were out and about early and inspite of the hustle and bustle surrounding the counters the staff had time for a little chat too. Compared to McCrap this happy meal doesn't come cheap (€12.50 for the burger, €3.50 for the chips) but it is probably the best burger I've ever had.

The burgers are cooked medium rare (just the way God intended it) and they. Are. Succulent. Chips were excellent too: firm, crisp - none of that soggy fluffiness here. I foolishly left my own camera at home (I'm never leaving the house without it again) so you'll have to do with a cameraphone shot at this masterpiece. That, trust me, doesn't do it any justice. The best burger in town. (Bacon fat-dripping) hands down.

Stomach full I was a happy camper and ready to venture out to the golden oldie: Hakaniemi Market Hall. But Hakaniemi won me over outside the classic market, too. At the metrostation there's an ethnic shop specialized in Middle Eastern fare where I'll be seeking solace every time longing back there gets too much. They're great for spices, pulses, more exotic frozen pastries (where else would I find brik- sheets?)  and fresh herbs that are better quality and outlive their supermarket counterparts.

And behind the market hall there was superbly stocked Chinese supermarket that stocks (frozen) seafood for half the price of regular shops, steaming baskets for dim sum and all sorts of exotic treats (dried octopus sheets, anyone?) that will make sure that I'll be dishing out dim sums in the future too.

And then, a little bit further up Hämeentie there's Vii Voan, the Grand Old Lady of ethnic supermarkets. And what do you know - all of a sudden return to Finland didn't seem like such a bleak option after all...!


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