Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giant Hamburger at Harrin Nakki, Helsinki, Finland

This was my second burger with a journalist from Helsingin Sanomat. He's making a story about hamburgers and I was interviewed for the article while tasting several burgers.

Harrin nakki (Harri's Hotdog) is a typical Finnish grill kiosk. A little booth standing in the corner of local park in the middle of Helsinki. Back in the days the architecture varied from trailers to wooden booths but the city of Helsinki standardized the outlook of these kiosks a few years back.

This particular kiosk has gained fame with 'The best grill kiosk in 2005' award by City magazine and also last year as 'The best grill kiosk in Helsinki 2006' by Helsingin Sanomat. It is also famous for being the quick snack stop for The president of Finland, Tarja Halonen. Yes, the Conan O'Brien 'look-a-like' who is running her second and final period as the President of Finland. After her last election win, in 2006, she went to Harrin nakki for a little snack on her way from national TV's official election night to her election party.

Typical grill kiosk food is "hamburgers", hotdogs, fries with sausages/meatballs/kebab meat. I use quotation marks with hamburgers since those usually don't have anything to do with proper hamburgers. Usually the slap of beef is some hyper-frozen-preservative-filled-piece-of-meat-like-substant which you don't care or realize after you have had couple of drinks too much.

In this case the expectation was right. Giant burger turned to be a flat burger. Top and bottom of the bun was grilled to a flat crispy disc between two flat irons. The bun ended up being a cracker which man could use as target disc in trap shooting. The slap of meat in this case was frozen beef patty not the meat-like-substant. It wasn't a giant one but a regular sized 120 gram (4.2oz) patty grilled to perfection which in this case means a very thin, tasteless and dry piece of meat. Oh, and the burger also had one slice of American cheese. At Harrin Nakki you can choose your condiments from lettuce, onions, pickle relish, mustard, ketchup and handful of mayos. I had lettuce, onions, relish and standard mayo. I normally would have taken the mustard but Finnish mustard doesn't fit the burgers like the standard yellow mustard used in the US.

The end result was propably the worst effort under a description of hamburger that I've tasted so far. Between two crackers I was served a dry slap of beef and condiments. On the condiment side I didn't order everything on it. Maybe the ketchup, mustard or garlic might have given some taste and soften the crackers but I'm afraid it wouldn't change my opinion. This was the worst burger ever.

They may have gained their awards and reputation among Helsinki grill kiosks with other food offering, definetly not with burgers. I do NOT recommend this burger to anyone.

Harrin Nakki
Agricolankatu 11
00530 Helsinki, Finland

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