Because it’s Saturday, I thought I’d write about the kind of food you crave when you’ve been out on the town for a few hours and dinner seems like it was ages ago. When J and I spent a long weekend with his parents in Liminka, Finland in September, we stayed one night in the city of Oulu, crashing in J’s brother’s apartment.
When it comes to late-night food options, Finland has Estonia beat hands-down. Pizza and kebab places that are open until 4 or 5 in the morning are literally on every block in Finnish cities. In Estonian cities (namely Tallinn and Tartu), I can think of maybe two places each where you could get something to eat after about midnight (I’ve vented about this topic before). The options in Tartu are McDonald’s, Statoil (a gas station that sells hot dogs and pre-made sandwiches), and a bar called Pool Kuus that plays host to some rather shady characters late at night. In Tallinn there may be other options but they’re spread more far apart, as it is a bigger city.
But in Oulu… ohhh, the options are plentiful and easy to find, and after our Saturday evening of dropping by a few Oulu bars (Kuluma [Corner] and Lentävä lautanen [Flying Saucer]), me and my boy, who used to live in Oulu, were ready to visit some of them. First, I would like to introduce you to the Nakkifakiiri.
He’s probably the most famous hot dog vender in all of Oulu. The name is rather funny– nakki is a Finnish word for sausage, and just like in English, it can also be synonymous with, um, something else, and fakiiri is a fakir. Except instead of chanting holy verses, he sells hot dogs.
Here’s our hot dog on a regular hot dog bun with some mayonnaise sauce and these crunchy fried onion pieces that are popular in Finland.
But we craved something more, and instead of attempting to decide between the two ubiquitous street foods (pizza and kebab), we got both– a pizza with kebab on it.
I can tell you that at the time, that medium-thickness chewy crust covered with salty slices of compressed meat really hit the spot (though the mayonnaise-based sauce drizzled on top of the cheese wasn’t really necessary). Sigh… I guess it’ll be a while before I have a fresh pizza at 2 in the morning again (um, not that that’s necessarily a bad thing). But still, when the occasional craving hits, it would be nice for Estonia to offer a fraction of the options found in its northern neighbor.