I am new here and I have some specific questions regarding an upcoming business travel to Finland.

I hail from India and would be put up at Helsinki centre for 4 weeks till mid of April. After reading many articles on Finnish lifestyle, food, history and so on, I have the some queries in my mind which I would like to place before the experienced members here. [EDIT: multiple questions split as suggested in comments]

I am a vegetarian and whatever I have read and heard from colleagues there is not very encouraging. Any pointers for budget vegetarian food would be really helpful.

Basically I am looking for fast food options, groceries to cook (simple cooking using microwave), fresh fruits, milk products which I can consume at low cost and yet maintain a healthy diet for the cold climate. I am looking for lunch and dinner options in weekends and only dinner in weekdays. I wish to keep aside 6-8 euros for a meal.

This would be my first experience outside my country and I want to make the most of it soak in the spirit of Finland.

  • 1
    your b) is very subjective and cannot be answered but by saying you should wild camp, walk/hitch-hike, ... This depends only on your budget and noone can really help you unless you are very very precise. For a) I think you should be more precise about your expectations, Finland has a huge share of its territory that is considered "offbeat". I find the c) very interesting though, I think you should restrict your question to this one only (and create another question with more precise requirements for a) )
    – Vince
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 8:43
  • 1
    In addition you're asking multiple questions in one post - generally frowned upon in this site. Please have a read of the help center and then edit accordingly - you'll get a much better and more useful response if you ask separate, clear, non-subjective questions :) Sounds like a great trip!
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 9:51
  • Are you talking about eating out (restaurants etc.) or about self-catering? Or are you okay with either? I'd suggest clarifying in your question. Commented Mar 5, 2014 at 12:41
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    What is your budget? There are lots of restaurants in downtown Helsinki area that serve lunch for approx. 8–9 euros, typically on Mon-Fri at 11am–2pm; usually there are at least some vegetarian options. On weekends, you could try e.g. one of the Nepalese, Indian, or Thai restaurants; there you will find plenty of vegetarian options for approx. 12–15 euros. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 0:26
  • thanks @Jukko for the info. I am trying to find places using the link you shared. Also I edited question to add budget expectations and meal timings.
    – Vivek
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 8:50

1 Answer 1


If you were willing to pay approx. 8–9 euros for lunch, there would be lots of good options. For example:

  • Satkar Kamppi (Nepalese restaurant, tripadvisor, home page): vegetarian options in the lunch menu for 8.40 euros.

Note that the quoted prices in the lunch menus are precisely what you will pay (assuming you drink water). There are no additional taxes or service fees, and you don't add a tip in Finland. You can try to use eat.fi to find good restaurants in Helsinki (you can, e.g., search for "vegetarian friendly" restaurants with high ratings that are open right now).

Your budget of 6–8 euros will be a bit more tricky (other than self-catering). Some suggestions in this price range:

  • Armas Pikaruokala (tripadvisor, home page): very good vegetarian lunch ("kasviskebab") for 8 euros.

  • Student cafeterias (home page): lunch starting from 7 euros (cheaper if you have some connection with the university), healthy (not necessarily delicious), and there are vegetarian options. I think one of the cafeterias ("Ylioppilasaukio", in the middle of downtown Helsinki) also serves lunch on Saturdays.

For very simple self-catering, buy a vegetarian Thai cube from a local supermarket. You will need only a microwave oven and a fork. The price should be less than 4 euros.

For weekends, a reasonable compromise in this price range might be to buy some ready-made meals from Stockmann (a large department store in downtown Helsinki). Downstairs they have a supermarket ("Stockmann Herkku") with a good selection of all kinds of ready-made meals; you will certainly find some vegetarian options there as well. In addition to the pre-packaged options, you can pay by weight (just go to the service counter and make your order), so it is possible to put together a relatively inexpensive and diverse meal by taking a little bit of this and that. They are open also on Sundays (except on public holidays). Stockmann is definitely not the cheapest grocery store in the city, but the selection and quality is good, and it shouldn't be any problem to get service in English. There might also be a possibility of having your lunch there if you don't have a microwave oven (I don't have any first-hand experience of that, though).

  • 5
    +1. Also, you don't need to go to a specifically vegetarian restaurant: virtually all restaurants in Helsinki offer lunch menus for under €10, which usually include a vegetarian option or two, often marked "V" on the menu (or just ask). Finding dinner for that price will be much harder, you'll pretty much have to self-cater. Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 12:28
  • wow thank Jukka. thats a lot of info :) we are planning to carry rice and ready to eat mixes from India as well. But as I want to taste the Finnish cuisines(veg at least), I am searching high and low for this info :-) so i might be able to save on most days and spend a bit more and try out some good local stuff whenever possible ;)
    – Vivek
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 21:06
  • @Vivek also be careful about the term 'vegetarian'. In the US (Where you'd imagine people would know the definition of veg.), my friends have had ham and seafood served simply because the server thought seafood is vegetarian. Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 6:08
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    thanks to all, and I must add here that I completed that journey quite happily and am back for a 3 month stint, this time cooking a lot with local vegetables, curd, rice etc. I am loving it. oh and yes, burger king and mcd have nice veg options this time around(somehow I missed em last time) at around 7 euros. subway also helps at times. my rudimentary finnish keeps me away from most non-veg ingredients as to friendly finns who help in reading out labels :) kiitos!
    – Vivek
    Commented Jun 8, 2015 at 18:52

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