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Traditional Helsinki Food

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Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to Helsinki is complete without tasting the traditional Helsinki food. This directory offers information about the traditional dishes and drinks available in Helsinki to help visitors better understand the local food culture and make an informed decision when trying them.


  • Crispbread: a flat and dry type of bread or cracker, containing mostly rye flour.
  • Pickled Herring: pickled herring with added flavorings like vinegar, salt, sugar solution, peppercorn, bay leaves and raw onions.
  • Ruisleipä: a dark, sour bread.


  • Chanterelle Soup: soup made of boiled in chicken broth chanterelle mushrooms, onion, some butter and flour.
  • Finnish Fish Soup: soup made of boiled fish with roughly cut potatoes, carrots and onion.
  • Hernekeitto (Peasoup): boiled peas with some meat and some vegetables and herbs.
  • Vegetable Puree Soup: boiled vegetables, usually carrots, celery, turnip, cabbage, potato, onion, swedes, any vegetables that are used during winter times.


  • Finnish Mushroom Salad: salad made of salted mushrooms and onion dressed with cream or sour cream, lemon juice or vinegar and sugar.
  • Rosolli: salad made of boiled vegetables like potatoes, carrots, beetroot, gherkin and onion in cream, vinegar and sugar dressing.
  • Warm Chanterelle Salad: chanterelle mushrooms fried in butter with some shallot and garlic.

Main courses

  • Carrot Casserole (Porkkanalaatikko): cooked rice and carrots that are latter mixed with milk and eggs and baked till it gets a crust.
  • Janssonin Kiusaus: baked of slices of cut potatoes, anchovy fillets and some onions fried previously in butter or margarine.
  • Kaalikääryleet (Cabbage Rolls): cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings usually made of meat seasoned with garlic, onion and spices.
  • Kalakukko: fish baked inside a loaf of bread.
  • Kylmäsavustettu Lohi: cold smoked salmon.
  • Leipäjuusto: fresh cheese baked, grilled or flambéed.
  • Lihapullat: meatballs made of meat with other ingredients, such as breadcrumbs, minced onion, spices, and possibly eggs
  • Minced Meat in Sauce: simmered minced meat with onions and sometimes garlic, carrots, flour, crushed tomatoes or tomato puree and water.
  • Perunamuusi (Mashed Potato): boiled potatoes with some onion and/or garlic and mashed.
  • Sautéed Reindeer: reindeer sliced thinly and fried in fat, spiced with black pepper and salt, water, cream, or beer is added.


  • Aunt Hanna’s Cookies: baked dough made of flour, sugar, cream and butter or margarine.
  • Baked Apples: baked apples filled with a mixture of white and brown sugar, or sometimes with white sugar, treacle and cinnamon.
  • Blueberry Pie: sweet pie filled with blueberries, blueberry filling or blueberry custard.
  • Blueberry Soup: made of fresh blueberries simmered for a little time together with apple juice, orange juice or water, sugar or honey, lemon juice and lemon peel.
  • Finnish Pancakes: pancakes made of eggs, milk, flour and sugar and baked in an oven.
  • Ginger Snaps: biscuits flavored with ginger cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices.
  • Korvapuustit (Cinnamon Rolls): baked rolled sheet of yeast dough onto which a cinnamon and sugar mixture is sprinkled over a thin coat of butter.
  • Pulla: sweet bread flavored with crushed cardamom seeds and occasionally raisins or sliced almonds.
  • Rönttönen: small open faced pie consisting of a crust made of barley or rye dough, filled with a sweetened mashed potato and berry filling.
  • Runeberg's Torte: pastry seasoned with almonds and rum and with a raspberry jam in a sugar ring on it.
  • Viili: a type of yoghurt with a ropey, gelatinous consistency and a sour taste resulting from lactic acid.
  • Vispipuuro: sweet, wheat semolina dessert porridge made with berries.

Fast food

  • Burgers with Beetroot: burgers made of minced meat mixed with boiled potatoes, milk, eggs, pickled beetroots, onion and capers.
  • Open Sandwich (Finland): a single slice of bread with one or more food items on top.
  • Poor Knights: pieces of bread soaked in eggs with milk, sugar, or cinnamon and fried.

Street food

  • Deep Fried Calamari: batter-coated, deep fried squid, fried for less than two minutes served plain, with salt and lemon on the side.
  • Riisipiirakka (Rice pie): resembles a little boat made of dough filled with some rice porridge.

Drinks (Non-alcoholic)

Drinks (Alcoholic)

  • Kilju: sugar wine made from sugar, yeast, and water.
  • Lakka: a liqueur which derives its flavor from the cloudberry fruit.
  • Mulled Wine: wine combined with spices and served warm.
  • Sahti: beer made from a variety of grains, malted and unmalted, including barley, rye, wheat, and oats.
  • Salmiakkikossu: pre-mixed vodka cocktail made of Koskenkorva Viina vodka and ground up Turkish Pepper brand salty liquorice.
  • Sima (mead): sweet mead spiced by adding both the flesh and rind of a lemon.

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