Let me first say how happy I am to have discovered Finn Air. Without them, I might not have been able to eat Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer as my first meal on European soil.
After an above average flight and missing my connecting flight to Prague (thanks Schengen zone immigration authorities), I was helped by a nice woman at Finn Air customer service. She apologized for me missing my flight, and I must say that as an American, I found that very funny because she sounded sincere, not the usual fake empathy you find from American customer service.
She was able to get me on an evening flight from Finland to Prague, which only meant one thing.
I had an entire day in Helsinki!
When I expressed my excitement, the customer service agent surprised me with complimentary round trip shuttle tickets from Helsinki airport to the city centre. She then surprised me with two meal vouchers that I could use at the airport.
You would not get this type of VIP treatment in North America without begging. Thanks Finn Air!
I had a brief walk around the city centre. I got the impression it was more of a summer city due to the shopping everywhere. My opinion was made stronger by the lack of snow. But I was disappointed with the lack of Finnish food. I found every culture; Nepalese, Italian, Middle Eastern, even the most famous beer in NYC, Brooklyn Lager. But I never found a Finnish restaurant.
I returned to the airport disappointed and hungry. I stopped into a restaurant and bar on the top floor. I said no matter what I see, I will eat it. At first I saw pasta, and I was disappointed. But then I saw reindeer! Now that has got to be the most Finnish thing I can ever eat!
It was recommended that I get the burger medium rare. When it came to me, I don’t know what I was more surprised by-the size of the burger or the size of the French fries. The burger itself was very pink, which meant that all the juice from the burger was preserved. It also meant that it was messy. I had to resort to cutting my sandwich with a knife and fork because I did not feel like being messy. But it was well worth it because reindeer tastes just like beef, but it is more healthy. The French fries were equally good and had a nice touch of salt flavor to them, but unfortunately the reindeer burger was filling, so I could not finish the French fries.
The reindeer burger is a must have if you are ever anywhere in Finland!
Even Gordon Ramsey agrees that reindeer is delicious. In this video, the first meal he eats is also served at the Helsinki airport. I chose to get the burger just because my two vouchers covered the beer and reindeer burger perfectly in cost. But after seeing Gordon Ramsey’s plate full of reindeer, I am ready for another trip to Finland! But watch the video to see what Gordon Ramsey will not do!