Gaijin Restaurant, Helsinki, Finland
I absolutely love the power of social media. Whilst in Helsinki, I saw a post that Chef Dan Hong posted – char siu at one of his restaurant Mr Wong, and claimed how I was craving it. The next thing I knew, one of his friends recommended that I go to Gaijin, which is located on the corner of Bulevardi and Yrjonkatu. Opened by Tomi Bjorck and Matti Wikberg, Gaijin offers diners ‘unique flavours by combining traditional Japanese and Korea dishes with dishes from the North of China in a modern way’. I was excited and knew I HAD to go!
We have been traveling in Europe for almost 2 weeks and I had not had Chinese food and was craving it badly! Every time we travel out of Asia we always crave for Chinese food, me in particular. Gaijin offers two sitting, one at 6pm and the other at 8.30pm. I was extremely grateful that I got a table at 6pm on a Friday night, the night before we flew out to go home.
I wanted one of everything on the menu, however, it was only Dragon and I eating that evening. ‘The Mother’ had some complications with his flight and couldn’t join us which was a shame as he missed out on a wonderful meal!
I started with the pork bun – pork belly, kimchi mayonnaise, pickled cucumber and soft bread. The bread was indeed very soft and the pork belly was melt-in-your mouth tender. The pickled cucumber and kimchi mayonnaise a wonderful addition. I could potentially eat 2 or 3 of these babies on my own!
The Beijing style chicken was similar to that of Peking duck. The crispy fried chicken which was braised in master stock was tender, even Dragon enjoyed it.
I couldn’t go past the char siew pork and bok choy which came with pickled cucumber. It wasn’t your typical char siew – not the one I was used to in Hong Kong but this definitely satisfied the cravings and it was delicious. Yes – I am ashamed to say that I ATE IT ALL!
Unfortunately I didn’t have time for dessert – had to go back to the hotel to pack my last minute things but I would have definitely ordered either the green tea and white xoco or beetroot geisha. Damn, really wished ‘The Mother’ was there so we could have ordered more food as it was good! Service was friendly and they were very helpful at the fact that I was dining with my 20 month old!
Definitely worth visiting if you are ever in Helsinki. Definitely a great find – thanks Chef Dan Hong and social media.
GA’s ratings: 8 / 10
Ph: +358 10 322 9381