Or, Why You Should Go to Helsinki Just to Eat

As I pulled my chair in and inched my face closer to the microphone, I thought about what the Finns across from me, who happened to be the lovely people of Radio Helsinki, might ask me about why I was in Finland.

Sure enough, moments later we were live on air (my first live radio interview!) and as the hosts transitioned into English, they prompted the question I knew what coming: “What do you think of Helsinki?”

Helsinki's floating restaurant

I had only just arrived that morning. When asked if I was jet-lagged, I took a giant swig from my cup of Finnish coffee for dramatic effect. It was something like 3 am in California. I squinted as I sat there inaudibly, before answering the question.

“I’ve only just arrived, but it’s my first time in the country so I’m looking forward to experiencing this place,” I reply, feeling a surge of caffeine kick in.

“What expectations did you have for the city before you came?”

Without thinking, I answer abruptly: “Not really any, to tell you the truth.”

I get the impression it isn’t the first time they’ve heard this statement. So, I continue, “But I plan to get to know Helsinki through its food. I find it to be the best way to access a new culture and get a true sense of a place.”

What I don’t mention is that I also have no clue about what Finnish food is.


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