A Seafood Lover's Guide to Finland

The Finnish national pastime of fishing/ Pixabay
The Finnish national pastime of fishing/ Pixabay
Jessica Wood

With several lakes and partially bordered by water, it is no surprise that Finnish people enjoy fishing and seafood. The large amount of unpolluted lakes in Finland, the surrounding Baltic Sea, and a traditional boating culture that persists to this day all combine to make fishing and seafood hugely popular in Finland.

Lake fishing in Finland

Types of Fish

With close to 100 species of fish found in Finland’s waterways, there are plenty to choose from. While the choice fish tend to depend upon region, salmon is the most popular staple found throughout the entire country followed closely by herring. Other common fish include the arctic char, pike-perch, rainbow trout, vendace, and whitefish.

Popular Dishes

When visiting a restaurant, ask what dishes are available made from locally-caught fish. Some national staples include fried muikka, a particular favourite at street fairs and carnivals, smoked salmon, smoked herring, blini topped with fish, or crayfish. Practically any type of fish smoked or fried are a favourite amongst Finns.

Grill Fish

Where to Find Fish

The most obvious solution to getting your hands on some of these delicious fish is to do as Finns do and fish for them after purchasing a fishing licence. Some rental cottages even include the fishing licence in the price. At lakeside cottages, guests can catch some fish and cook them up on an outdoor grill or steamer for dinner. Combine fish with some freshly-picked berries or locally-grown vegetables to create a multitude of authentic Finnish dishes.

While all supermarkets in Finland have their own fish counter, the fishmonger in the local market hall or kauppahalli always carry fresh, locally-caught fish. The market hall in Helsinki’s south harbour and the accompanying market outside may be the most well-known and best in the country for fish. Its location right next to the city’s main fishing port makes it an ideal place to find fresh Baltic fish or purchase a seafood lunch.

Each major city also holds regular events and festivals where attendees can purchase some rarer species of fish or try some specialty recipes. The Turku Fish Market runs twice a year in May and October and the Baltic Herring Festival runs annually every autumn in Helsinki. Due to its scarcity, Finns also look forward to the beginning of crayfish season in July.

Fish and vegetables grilling on a market stand

Whether eaten at a gourmet city restaurant or cooked from a country cottage grill, Finland is undoubtedly one of the best countries in the world for seafood and a prime destination for any fishing enthusiasts or those with a fondness for good fish.

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