What is the best place to buy reindeer meat in Helsinki?

Is this something best bought from a specialized shop (if yes, where?) or is it something you can just pick up at any supermarket?

Are there any things we have to pay attention to regarding quality?

We are staying in a small apartment with a kitchen and would like to cook reindeer steak/stew ourselves as a thank you for the guy that arranged the whole trip.


You can buy reindeer meat (poronliha) in any supermarket. The "Herkku" gourmet supermarket in the basement of the Stockmann department store (corner of Mannerheimintie and Aleksanterinkatu) is pretty epic and a good place to buy this or anything else Finnish; not the cheapest, mind you, but not hugely expensive either.

The canonical way to prepare it is sautéed reindeer (poronkäristys), served with mashed potatoes (preferably using Lappish potatoes, puikulaperunat) and lingonberry puree, and you'll find ready-to-cook bags of reindeer shavings in the freezer section. You can also find reindeer sausages, meatballs, sliced meats etc in the deli section, but most of these are (IMHO) overpriced and terrible. Reindeer steak I would steer clear from, the meat is quite dry so it's pretty hard to get this right.

The classical starter to this or any other Finnish meal is a shot of ice cold vodka, preferably Koskenkorva, straight from the freezer. Stick to beer during the meal though if you want to taste (or remember) anything.

Hyvää ruokahalua! But I do hope the guy you're trying to impress is not Finnish, since sautéed reindeer is considered the kind of thing served at school lunches, not a five-star dining.

  • 1
    I presume "but not hugely expensive" is relative to anything else in Helsinki. Stockmann is good, but yeah, cheap it's not... – Doc Jul 8 '14 at 5:28
  • He's not Finnish. Last summer when he was in Norway he ate everything in sight with reindeer meat on it (pizza, sausages, steaks, burgers, you name it) and loved it. Also, since reindeer is not available here in Belgium it will be even more of a treat :) – Hilde Dierckx Jul 8 '14 at 10:58
  • Now that you mentioned pizza, kotipizza has an award-winning reindeer meat pizza called Berlusconi (www.kotipizza.fi/fi/berlusconi). It's not among my personal favorites but you could give it a shot. – downhand Jan 14 '15 at 9:03

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