Helsinki, the southern capital of Finland has a population of just over 600,000 people and has some great attractions, like the Natural History Museum and can be easily explored by foot or by bike (or an electric scooter for the really adventurous!) but exploring makes for some hungry travelers, so, what are the vegan food options in Helsinki?
Walking around the city on our first day, we strolled through the markets in the city centre and stumbled upon a small stall serving sandwiches, the majority of stalls didn’t have vegan options but we saw Sandwich Club had a Facon & Avocado option marked vegan. At 11€, it was somewhat pricey but we took a chance.
The sandwich was fantastic. The Facon (which looked to be branded as such, although I can’t see it for purchase online) was a sweet, smokey blend and was really packed into the thick sandwich, the avocado was mashed and seasoned and spread almost like mayo across the sandwich. Given the size, the sandwiches were really filling and the flavour was much better than expected. You can follow Sandwich Club on their social media and it seems they’re moving to a permanent location, so you won’t have to hunt down their pop up shop!
We found an Italian pizzeria and restaurante on the corner of one of the streets of Helsinki, and figuring that worse case, plain pasta or a pizza without cheese is at least filling, we headed in. As we found in the rest of Helsinki, they were very accommodating, offering several different bases (I think almost all were vegan) and several options for different toppings with vegan mozzarella. The place wasn’t too busy (one big party and a couple of tables for two) but the service was fairly slow, however, when the good did eventually arrive it was fantastic and you could instantly tell the ingredients were fresh and good quality.
This may come as a surprise but in Finland, there is way more choice than just fries, apple pies or The Spicy One™. In Finland, there is a meal called the McVegan. Yes, you read that right, The McVegan. A vegan soy patty, with lettuce, vegan burger sauce, and classic bun, it tasted just like a Big Mac would, minus one of the burgers. I’d really recommend trying this if you’re ever in Finland looking for vegan options or if it ever makes it way to the UK.
There was also an option to have a limited edition Jamaican style burger, which was also vegan apparently, although we didn’t try that didn’t really look very appealing.
That’s right, as well as McDonald’s there was also a vegan option in Burger King. I think it was around this time we strongly considered moving to Finland. In a busy Airport, I tried to order the Rebel Whopper on the self-service machine and was unable to remove the mayo (you need to remove this from the default). I was unable to, and had to speak to a real-life human but good to bear in mind if you’re in a rush!
The Whopper was fantastic, and I had to double-check it wasn’t a Whopper at least once. After I’d finished, I did some additional research and found that the Rebel patty, which is 100% plant-based is, unfortunately, is cooked on the same grill as the meat burgers. Although this won’t bother everyone, I feel like it should be advertised, or at least passed on to the customer.
Overall, we were really happy with the vegan food options in Helsinki. From bigger chains like McDonald’s to the smaller, family-run venues were equally as accommodating. If you have any questions or want to keep up with our locations we travel to and inevitably try more vegan food, head over to Instagram!