Since everyone is so crazy about food for some reason, I figured I'd have a theme for February's Finnish Friday posts - food. In these posts I'll try introduce what kind of food we eat here, in general and even the ones I myself avoid like plague, and then try to persuade you all into thinking that some of these things are yum to eat and you should have some.
Few things to know first, though:
1) I'm a picky eater.
2) In fact, I prefer not eating at all if just ever possible.
3) I'm a horrible cook. (Example: Mom asked me to boil some potatoes centuries ago. As a result, things burned and the pot was rendered useless. I do make a neat creamy chicken sauce, though.)
4) I know very little about anything food related.
5) Therefore one should never turn to me to ask advice like "What should I eat? What do you recommend?"
But because I want to spread more knowledge about my country and our cultural habits, well, I'm ready to put into some effort into this!
Now, in this first, probably short post I will introduce the topic as generally as my knowledge allows. In the next post, I will introduce cultural delicacies, then on the 3rd the stuff that no sane person would like to eat, then lastly my own favorites! :)
The stereotypical Finnish person drinks a lot of coffee, has a glass of milk for meals, and prefers their food both bland looking and tasting. Typical things to see on a Finnish food table are potatoes, some veggies like cucumber and tomatoes, some meat or stew, and wheat / rye bread with butter and edam cheese. Spices like curry are moderately used, if at all. There's even an urban legend of a Chinese restaurant owner who had two menus: one for the Finnish customers, and the other for anyone else - the one for Finns basically had zero spices. (Could've been a true story, but I can't find proof haha.) Of course, some people like extra spicy foods here... I, however, am the stereotype.
Food items tend to be expensive to buy. The healthier, the higher the price. Many things are imported, which affects the price tags. In any case, it is not uncommong for a household of two to end up spending a hundred euros for food that'll last for like 1-3 days. My stepsister's ex, a well-paid engineer from England, was mortified after their first trip to the supermarket together here. We were like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Typical drinks to have during a meal like lunch or dinner are a glass of water, milk, berry juice out of concentrate, or ... "cultured" / butter milk. Soda like Coca Cola is common as well.
Pizzerias are many and everywhere. Pizzerias are small places, usually ran by foreigners, that usually offer pizzas, kebab (which I hear is not really kebab, but since I never order the stuff I have no clue), and burgers. Prices are usually from 6 to 8 euros for a normal sized pizza. The quality varies... for example, if you ever come to Jyväskylä - do NOT, for the love of God, ever order a pizza in the pizzerias. Then there are more 'quality' places called Koti-Pizza and Rosso, and Rax Buffet.
Sushi places are still rather rare and often joined to a Chinese restaurant, but Indian and Thai food are also available in some towns. I also have seen one place in JKL that says something about Nepal in the name. If you want sushi, though, be prepared to pay a lot even for small meals at least in JKL; for a buffet, there's only one place here but in Helsinki there are many and good ones, too.
For Mexican type of food, or supposedly Mexican, you coul try Pancho Villa or Amarillo (I think it's supposedly Mexican, too).
Fast food restaurants include McDonald's (many locations), Hesburger (many locations; their use of mayo in burgers is excessive), Burger King (in some locations) and I guess Taco Bell could fall into this category as well, but they're only available somewhere in Helsinki.
Some common food vocabulary:
ruoka = food
ateria = a meal
juoma = a drink
syödä = to eat
juoda = to drink
kauppa = a store (ruokakauppa = grocery store)
ravintola = restaurant
vihannes = vegetable
hedelmä = fruit
liha = meat
kana = chicken
kala = fish
pakasteet = frozen foods
vesi = water
maito = milk
mehu = juice
piimä = butter milk
kahvi = coffee
tee = tea
limsa; limu = soda
jälkiruoka = dessert (pretty much more literal meaning is 'after food')
jäätelö = ice cream
suklaa = chocolate
karkki = candy
...and that's about it for this first post! :D Hope you enjoyed~! As usual, if you've any questions, feel free to ask and I try to clarify. ^w^