No, the title isn’t written incorrectly. It’s a clever pun of some sort.
“Streat Helsinki is all about street food. It’s an idea of what it should and could be. It’s a concept with a mission of praising and pioneering the countless opportunities and potential of street food in Helsinki, as well as spreading the word abroad through our partners.” – streathelsinki.com
The traditional Finnish street food usually consists of “snägäri”, a form of stuffing yourself with the greasiest, most easily-made food available, such as hamburgers, kebab and French fries. And they’re almost always thrown into the deep-fryer from a freezer.
To be honest, it usually tastes like shit.
I don’t believe that I’ve brought it up ever before, but I’ve actually graduated from Helsinki culinary school of Perho, thus I’m claiming to be a professional of some sort on the subject matter.
As the Finnish tradition is what it is, I was very intrigued with the idea to present street food to Finns. And so were about 20,000 other people who showed up to the event, thus congesting the whole area of Kauppatori.
The idea was extremely welcome; well-made, perhaps a bit exotic meals to be offered from pop-up booths at the convenience of just dropping in and out.
The implementation wasn’t that good.
The lines were dozens of metres long and in order to receive one à la carte hamburger, one had to wait in a line for one and a half hour and pay 10+ euros for it. Yes. One and a half hour. At that convenience one could just go to a fine dining restaurant and order the best hamburger in the city and perhaps to get the head waiter to perform a tap-dance.
Who could’ve guessed that street food is that sought after in Finland? I certainly cannot blame the organizers of the event’s setbacks, as they had prepared themselves for 10,000 visitors – which would’ve already sounded overkill to me – but to get visitors double the amount? That’s insane.
The prices were way too steep, though. I don’t want to pay over 10 euros for a hamburger. I do understand that there has to be a price margin, but a street food entrepreneur has to find a way to bring down the price without bringing the quality down to the snägäri-level.
It’s obvious that Finns are ready for street food and it’s likewise as obvious that Finns desperately need it. I, for one, am truly saddened by the greasy hot dogs and the soggy presentation of French fries on every snägäri out there, and welcome our new street food overlords.