Sunday is Restaurant Day, Ravintolapäivä in Helsinki

You can cook food and you want to share it with people from all over the world. Why should you not be able to be a chef for the day? Why not just set up a restaurant? That was the impetus behind Restaurant Day (launched in Helsinki in 2011) which has since grown into an international event.

Any one can open a pop up restaurant to sell food for the day. Anyone can be a masterchef, and everyone can come to try your food. The initial seed was local, an event for friends and family to come and enjoy good food and through social media has become an international affair. It was started by this man – Timo Santala.

In its first five years, the idea has seen 27,000 pop up restaurants in over 75 countries serve some 3 million customers. The heart of it all is located at the Esplanadi in Helsinki is the mother of all Restaurant Days.

It was lined all around with hundreds of pop up stalls  selling food from all the corners of the world from Asia, to Africa, South America to other parts of Europe.

Southeast Asian food was very well represented by Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, and there was a very large African contingent, from Senegal, Cameron and Nigeria.

There was South American Cuisine,

as well as middle eastern cuisine.

There were cakes and noodles, grills and stir fries, carnivorous and vegan dishes, you name it, there was bound to be something that would catch your fancy.

 Soft licorice, anyone?

But these restaurants were more than ethnic or cultural items, this was also a place for people to try out whacky and crazy food ideas, for experimentation of concepts, this was a place where food ideas went wild for a day.

I was game for everything, but my stomach was ro hungry to wait for long. Wanting something local and having already tried muikku, I went for the next most local item among the stores… Horse Burger.

It was really beautiful it tasted like steak essentially. I see know why horse meat could have been passed off as beef during the IKEA meatball scandal of 2013. Cheese, cilantro, tomatoes and pickles on top of a wood-fire grilled horse meat patty and sandwiched with a fluffy brioche bun. The meat was juicy with a slight hint of savoury and sweet… an all round great burger.

It was an amazing day of food and fun. Go check out the nearest Restaurant Day in your city (the next ones are slated for November 2017), better yet, set up your own pop up stall and sell your food to the people in your city!


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