Hämeentie Food Shops

19.06.2008 at 11:56 | Posted in Buy Food, Buy Stuff, Show a Foreign Friend | 2 Comments
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Probably some of Helsinki’s most multicultural areas in terms of small (and big) immigrant shops are the proximities of Hämeentie street and the streets adjacent to it. There are African, oriental and middle eastern shops with an exciting abundance of spices, grains, sauces, herbs and other food products from all around the world.
Pictured here is the Vietnamese supermarket Vii Voan located next to Hakaniemen Kauppahalli. There works a friendly, old man who always runs off into the shop to show me where to find the particular ingredients that I’m looking for. I’ve recently been there to get some Korean kimchi for making kimchijeon and he found me five different kinds of it. After that I supply myself with basmati or jasmine rice and spices like turmeric, cumin, cardamom in a nearby Indian shop. Then there are also the dried beans, peas and lentils, the soya sauces and rice vinegars, the different teas and herbs and so on…
If you have curiosity for foreign foods I strongly advise to pay a visit to these places. The shop assistants tend to be very sympathetic and who knows, they might even share some recipes

I also found a nice Arabic wholesale shop a bit further towards the shore, close to Kalasatama metro station.


Arkadia International Bookshop

21.05.2008 at 12:08 | Posted in For Coffee or Tea, Gallery / Art Space, Go At Least Once, Leisure, Show a Foreign Friend, Where to Read a Book | Leave a comment
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Barely two months ago Ian Bourgeot opened his bookshop with the idea of creating a meeting point and a sort of cultural centre in midst of the Töölö neighbourhood. Already now a plenitude of ideas and plans for the interior and activities in the place are waiting to be implemented. What you can always count on are tons of interesting books in English, French, Spanish, Russian and even Polish and… a hot cup of tea on a comfortable sofa. See map for Hesperiankatu 9 or visit arkadiabookshop.fi

Taikalamppu Café

5.05.2008 at 15:14 | Posted in For Coffee or Tea, Go At Least Once, Show a Foreign Friend, Where to Read a Book | Leave a comment
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This café is a true rarity in Helsinki as it would be difficult to find an equally colourful and joyous interior anywhere near at this latitude. There’s a piano, chairs and tables in all colours and styles, drawings and decorations all over the walls and plenty of plants everywhere. The two windows and entrance are facing eastwards so during summer season it’s best to come during the first half of the day and enjoy your cake, coffee and newspaper outside in the sun. The name means ‘magic lamp’ (rightly so) and the address is Torkkelinkatu 21 in Kallio which you can see on the map here. Enjoy!

Did I mention it’s cheap? How about some home-made cake with a chunk of ice cream for 2,50! Add a euro to that and you get a coffee too.

Russian Pelmenit – Пельмени

22.04.2008 at 20:06 | Posted in Show a Foreign Friend, Where to Eat | 3 Comments
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At Kustaankatu 7, just off Kallio’s famous Vaasankatu, is this small and cozy Embassy of Eastern Cuisine called Pelmenit.
The chef ran to the kitchen to put on a clean uniform for the photo and proudly displayed the speciality of the place. He told me the food in Pelmenit is a bit Russian, a bit Ukrainian, a bit Finnish and a bit Jewish. For 5-6€ you can get a plateful of pelmeni (dumplings) or a big bowl of thick, delicious borscht (Ukrainian style accoding to my knowledge). I also recommend the vegetarian bliny. Click here to find them on the map.

Vegemesta Restaurant

27.01.2008 at 21:57 | Posted in Go At Least Once, Show a Foreign Friend, Where to Eat | 1 Comment
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Vegemesta Vegemesta

Finally something good, healthy and cheap for all the poor souls lost on a late evening around Kallio. Only 3 months old this vegetarian quality fast food is already a hit among guests and residents of the popular Vaasankatu street. My favourite so far is the Kippari Sojaburger – the perfect snack after a tasty Synebrichoff Porter further down at Heinähattu. Use this map to find your way to the burgers.

Pet Cemetery

29.10.2007 at 17:36 | Posted in Go At Least Once, History, Leisure, Nature, Romantisch, Show a Foreign Friend, Walk Route | 1 Comment
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I invite you to visit the Pet Cemetery located in midst of the Central Park, few hundred metres south of Metsäläntie. Preferred time of visit is after dark, the rest you may want to find out yourself. Look it up on the map.
New: Check out typographical details of the graves.

Pet Cemetery

Pet Cemetery

Flea Market Valtteri

25.09.2007 at 16:38 | Posted in Architecture, Buy Stuff, Get Some Clothes, Go At Least Once, History, Industrial, Show a Foreign Friend | 9 Comments

This flea market, although very big and popular, you’re not likely to find by accident unless you live near it – it is located inside an old, brick warehouse along Teollisuuskatu (quite near the Primula Café) and the entrance to the precinct is from Aleksis Kiven katu 17. The best time to go hunting for stuff is on weekends when dozens of people set up their stands (during summer season also outdoors). On weekdays only a self-service version is functioning on which you can still find quite purty wares (see pics below) but then any bargaining is out of question since all products have price tags and have to be paid for at the checkout like in a regular supermarket. Look it up on the map.


Valtteri Valtteri

Restaurant Pikku-Vallila

21.09.2007 at 13:05 | Posted in Architecture, Beer/Drink Place, For Coffee or Tea, Show a Foreign Friend, Where to Eat | Leave a comment

Place as cute as the area where it’s located. In one of the wooden houses of the puu-Vallila district is a tiny bar/restaurant. The atmosphere was quiet and homey when I arrived. After a couple of minutes a big guy came out from the kitchen and took the order. He made me a delicious feta-pesto toast – and not expensive at all. And check out that terrace! I can already see myself there next summer enjoying a beer in the sun.
The place opens in the afternoon and closes around 1-2am. Address: Vallilantie 19 C
Look it up on the map.



Rikhardinkatu Library

4.09.2007 at 12:54 | Posted in Architecture, History, Romantisch, Show a Foreign Friend, Where to Read a Book | 1 Comment

The old library on Rikhardinkatu street is an important spot on the map of Helsinki’s centre. The building was completed in 1881 and shortly after became the National Library. Nowadays the extensive library system is called Helsinki City Library, but out of the 40 libraries this one remains so far my favourite. Despite the many years and the all-embracing, continuous modernization this place maintains the spirit and atmosphere of an old library. Look it up on the map.


Library Library


29.08.2007 at 15:24 | Posted in Gallery / Art Space, Go At Least Once, Leisure, Nature, Show a Foreign Friend, Where to Read a Book | 1 Comment


In midst of nature but only minutes from the immediate centre. Happihuone is the place to go when you’re tired of cars, traffic, asphalt, noise, office buildings, glass & steel, shops, products, brands and advertising. It’s a wonderful gallery, art space and whatever one wishes it to be. Located in a beautiful spot between the railways and Töölönlahti.
Unfortunately asphalt is taking over and Happihuone is soon to be torn down, just like Makasiinit, Hanasaari A power plant and so many other beautiful, active places with history. A foreign friend of mine commented once that Helsinki is strange in the way that it seems to have been built only recently. Now we know where that impression comes from.
For more info on Happihuone visit:
and notyetbe.stikipad.com/happihuone
or look it up on the map.

Update as of Nov 2007: Finally, after a long struggle, Happihuone has been torn down!

Happihuone Happihuone

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