Assembled makeshift kitchens serving paella and reindeer sausage and salmon soup and grease piles of fried fish covered in mayonnaise. That is the menu at Helsinki Market Square.
Birds will snatch vendace a.k.a. muikku a.k.a fried whitefish from your hand with no shame, and they may try shitting in your paella if you’re not vigilant.
I am not kidding about the amount of birds here. They were strategically circling above prime targets, the booths with the highest success rates due to exposure. Dive bombing for dropped tidbits and hovering behind people’s heads for the quick snatch. These birds are, of course, a product of their environment. You can’t hold the birds accountable, they are here because of us.
Can you count the number of the birds in the frame of this photograph? Did you miss this smart little fucker on the ground waiting for a savory morsel to drop?
LAPLAND FINNISH FISH signs everywhere. Booths may offer you a free sample so try as many as possible to gauge the relative quality of the oil, the breading, the texture (I prefer crunchy outside with a warm, soft inside) and the quality of the meat. Most are greasy. All offer mayonnaise. I am sorry to say that I had to choke down a dry and crispy pouch of fish with extra mayo. Still it brought back memories of smelt fishing the Columbia river, smoking them and eating them whole in the middle of the night at 12 years old.
After that, the market is limited to eskimo-like native decorations, fruit, knives, woodwork, paintings, photographs and tourist clothing items.
We jumped on a ship just in time to escape the market to the Suomenlinna fortress island for a look at some wildlife and a visit to Suomenlinna Pamino.