Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

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Jukka Aho
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Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by Jukka Aho » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:12 pm

HS.fi writer Eeva Kolu laments on her blog about the sorry state of many Finnish restaurants:
I was planning to provide a link to a machine translation by Google but it choked on too many expressions in the original text, making it mostly unintelligible (and spotted with untranslated Finnish words), so I decided against it.

However, one of Kolu’s points, among others, is it is embarrassing to sit down at a table in a mid-range restaurant and get charged a stupendous 18 euros for a hamburger whose less-than-inspiring buns and sad processed patty were ordered deep-frozen from a wholesaler, instead of having been made on the spot in the kitchen... and that it’s not only hamburgers that get this treatment, but all kinds of food. While she admits there are some great restaurants too, she finds they’re outnumbered by the bad apples, and there’s a general lack of ambition in the business: all too often, the customer walks out of the establishment feeling angry, sad, ripped off, or all three of those, and people will too readily accept this as the “norm”.

Some of the commentators theorize this might all be because Finns view their food as staple that helps them through the hardships of life by filling their stomachs and keeping them going (come famine, hell, or high water!) — so meals are not viewed as something to enjoy but as mere means of survival — and because we’re all taught to be grateful for the food we get (any food, as a generic rule of polite and reasonable behavior and correct table manners) without questioning its taste or quality. There’s also the note many individuals are now really choosy about the origins of their food, for ideological and ecological reasons, and this seems to be a growing trend, but they still consider the taste and quality only as a second thought, if at all, so this trend isn’t going to help us in getting better food, either.
Last edited by Jukka Aho on Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Pursuivant
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by Pursuivant » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:24 pm

all too often, the customer walks out of the establishment feeling angry, sad, ripped off

forgot *hungry* off that list, then again that at least In my case causes a very angry me.
and because we’re all taught to be grateful for the food we get (any food, as a generic rule of polite and reasonable behavior and correct table manners) without questioning its taste or quality.
Ah yes, I think our generations were - but do mothers today flip out the "poor children of Africa starve" - card? As far as table manners go... well... ummm... I'm not that convinced always.
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rinso
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by rinso » Tue Jan 15, 2013 7:37 pm

Jukka Aho wrote: Some of the commentators theorize this might all be because Finns view their food as staple that helps them through the hardships of life by filling their stomachs and keeping them going (come famine, hell, or high water!) — so meals are not viewed as something to enjoy but as mere means of survival — and because we’re all taught to be grateful for the food we get (any food, as a generic rule of polite and reasonable behavior and correct table manners) without questioning its taste or quality. There’s also the note many individuals are now really choosy about the origins of their food, for ideological and ecological reasons, and this seems to be a growing trend, but they still consider the taste and quality only as a second thought, if at all, so this trend isn’t going to help us in getting better food, either.
I think this is spot on. I often experience that people are more concerned with quantity than with quality.
(and they are pleasantly surprised if they get both)


geek5354
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by geek5354 » Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:07 am

As a simple solution to bad food, wash it down with plenty of wine and alcohol. I believe many diners have already discovered this. In fact, this may be attributing to the lack of taste buds and the original problem.


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Karhunkoski
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by Karhunkoski » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:48 am

rinso wrote:
Jukka Aho wrote: Some of the commentators theorize this might all be because Finns view their food as staple that helps them through the hardships of life by filling their stomachs and keeping them going (come famine, hell, or high water!) — so meals are not viewed as something to enjoy but as mere means of survival — and because we’re all taught to be grateful for the food we get (any food, as a generic rule of polite and reasonable behavior and correct table manners) without questioning its taste or quality. There’s also the note many individuals are now really choosy about the origins of their food, for ideological and ecological reasons, and this seems to be a growing trend, but they still consider the taste and quality only as a second thought, if at all, so this trend isn’t going to help us in getting better food, either.
I think this is spot on. I often experience that people are more concerned with quantity than with quality.
(and they are pleasantly surprised if they get both)
+1

This is an incredibly accurate assessment.
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mita
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by mita » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:09 pm

I've found that living here has really helped my own cooking skills since it's the only way to get reasonably priced food that you can actually enjoy.
So that's something to be thankful for.
Have a nice day!


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jahasjahas
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by jahasjahas » Fri Feb 01, 2013 12:53 pm

geek5354 wrote:As a simple solution to bad food, wash it down with plenty of wine and alcohol. I believe many diners have already discovered this. In fact, this may be attributing to the lack of taste buds and the original problem.
I believe the most common wine choice in Finnish restaurants is "ihan vettä vain, kiitos".


Upphew
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by Upphew » Fri Feb 01, 2013 1:26 pm

jahasjahas wrote:
geek5354 wrote:As a simple solution to bad food, wash it down with plenty of wine and alcohol. I believe many diners have already discovered this. In fact, this may be attributing to the lack of taste buds and the original problem.
I believe the most common wine choice in Finnish restaurants is "ihan vettä vain, kiitos".
True dat. If I'm eating out, I'm most likely with a car -> no wine for me. If I'm out drinking I'm out drinking, not eating ;)
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Oombongo
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by Oombongo » Fri Feb 01, 2013 2:14 pm

Konstan Möljä is a good restaurant with a very reasonable price, and it serves Finnish dishes.
I do have to admit that I was a bit (ok, a lot) prejudiced towards Finnish food in general until I went there. That made me wonder: why the *bleep* would they serve some appalling dishes to Gordon Ramsay and make a mockery of Finnish cuisine?
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tuulen
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by tuulen » Sat Feb 02, 2013 4:29 am

mita wrote:I've found that living here has really helped my own cooking skills since it's the only way to get reasonably priced food that you can actually enjoy.
So that's something to be thankful for.
:thumbsup:


jessesuomi
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by jessesuomi » Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:16 pm

Exactly the reason why I hate working in Finnish restaurants....
Not only are the customers usually just so blah about the experience, most of the people preparing the food dont really give a !"#¤%.... its not rocket science. Doesnt need to be. Sadly I dont forsee an attitude shift coming. Been waiting 10 years for that to happen.


raskarhu
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by raskarhu » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:42 pm

It all has to do with the deep-rooted boorishness of many Finns. No offense, but what a Finn does not know he will distrust. And when it comes to a culinary tradition, well there is none... so instead of learning from the rest of the world (how do you think the Italian kitchen has developed, not by sticking to their polenta mind you) Finns rather stick to what they are used to, i.e. their disgusting karjalan piirakka, their disgusting liiha/ puke piirakka, their dull lohikeitto, their eternal potatoes, their ...

It's sad, but true: there is no culinary tradition in Finland because Finland and Finns just do not want to open up to the world and to that wonderful idea that one of the beautiful things of life, i.e. eating (together) is a feast and not some kind of daily duty.

That said, i love Finland for its excellent basic food products (their salmon, fish and berries, mushrooms, the reindeer meat), but it is treated with a total lack of creativity.

Moreover: the prices are too high for what you get.

But hey, you can't have it all, besides the deplorable state of the wining and dining culture, Finland is a wonderful country 8)


goodquestion
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by goodquestion » Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:55 pm

"dull lohikeitto, their eternal potatoes"

I just had horrible flashbacks ...!


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jahasjahas
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by jahasjahas » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:00 pm

Your culinary stereotypes are outdated!

The Finnish food culture was revolutionized last October, when avocado pasta became a hit in the blogosphere and avocado sales skyrocketed. It doesn't even have potato in it!


Qianin
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Re: Land of Thousand Sorry Restaurants

Post by Qianin » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:52 pm

Even though I liked the optimism, not everyone has improved their cooking skills simply because of bad restaurant food. Usually it requires the experience of having lived abroad in a country with a rich food culture to "understand". :)


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