Being born in the part of the world where street food is as commonplace as sunlight, I never thought that it could be a festival.
Generally speaking food festivals are a common on occurrence everywhere. But Helsinki hosts a food festival of its kind, dedicated to street food. Let me just explain it a little. Street food is in fact gastronomical pleasure sold beyond the walls of restaurants and cafes. Apart from being inexpensive and affordable for common man this type of food can also be tagged as specialty food.
Specialty food because it is usually just one food item sold at one outlet. Don’t be fooled by the word outlet, because in most cases such food is sold off of carts and trolleys. In rare cases street food vendors afford to set a permanent roof over their business.
People from Lahore know about all those carts selling nan-kebab (cutlet with pitta type bread). People in Malaysia and Singapore know about All those vendors selling affordable Mi goring off their carts. Or you can remember the hotdog vendors in New York, who can put all that extra mustard and onions if you like and still charge you the same one dollar. Or maybe you had a chance to eat a plate of biryani in Hyderabad, where you can order a whole plate, which is more of a giant serving and ask for 5 extra spoons at no extra cost.
So now that you have the idea about street food, let us get back to Helsinki, where street food is a rarity. You might see a few stalls in the city, but food is kept off the streets here. In this situation someone came up with the idea of organizing this festival.
Trying to be polite I’ll tell you that if your idea of a street food festival revolves around finding cheap food, you will be disappointed. But if you are looking for variety than the weekend event is a good place.This year the festival was held on 21-22 March. The whole week before the festival the weather was warm, but unfortunately the night before the Street Helsinki festival the Nordic chill returned. It was windy and cold.
But the food on offer was very heart warming. You could find a variety of food from burgers and hotdogs to falafels and shawarma. Oh yes and you could also find Thai meat balls and Chinese noodles. There was a whole variety of desserts also.
But my pick was Mutton Krahi, made by Finns. Let me disclose it here. I picked this food item, because first of all it is a Pakistani dish. Secondly the people who cooked it and sold got there recipe from a friend in Pakistan. Thirdly it was appetizing. But most importantly the people who brought mutton Krahi to Helsinki are my friends: Pyry Kääriä and Juho Sarno. Yes it is very subjective, but I am not a judge in a court and this is not a legal case.
I have the right to be subjective. But if you are in Helsinki right now you still have time till tomorrow to taste my pick and decide for yourself if I was totally subjective or was there a hint of objectivity also.