My second and final day in Helsinki, I did something rather stupid and let myself fall asleep at 4pm. I was exhausted and jetlagged (I find it harder to travel east than west) and ended up sleeping for 8+ hours and thus woke up past midnight without having eaten dinner.
There is not much to do in Helsinki in November; there is not much to do in Helsinki on a Sunday; there is not much to do in Helsinki between the hours of midnight and 6am. Combine all three of those, and I felt like I was in a bit of a pickle, especially since I was getting hungry.
After doing a little bit of research online, I found just about the only two restaurants open at 1am on a Sunday night: 1) a random hamburger stand that was featured in the New York Times many years ago and is best known for serving something called the “Kannibal”; and 2) McDonald’s. I ended up going to both.
I’m sure that during the summer months, Jaskan Grilli is much more crowded, but in November, it was dead. I was heartened to see light inside of the little stand, although I’m sure that they don’t do much business during the winter months.
Approaching the stand, everything was in Finnish. And the woman working there didn’t speak much English besides “hamburger” and “hot dog”. And there wasn’t anyone around to ask for help. So I ended up communicating to her that she should just give me anything, and she ended up making me what I believe is the Jaskan hamburger, which is two patties, an egg, and a slice of cheddar in a roll, and slathering it in all of the sauces and condiments.
This was unlike any other hamburger I’ve eaten. I think that it’s quite rare to find a good burger outside of the US, but this was oddly tasty with the confusing number of sauces and components. I got rid of most of the cheese bits, but the meat patties themselves were a little lean but still flavorful, and some of the sauces were pretty darn delicious. The garlic sauce in particular was potent and tasty (I could still taste it after brushing my teeth twice).
After eating a burger, I naturally wanted fries, so I stopped by the McDonald’s in the Sokos mall that’s open 24 hours a day. Inside, most of the patrons appeared to be drunk Russian people, with all of the women ordering fries only and all of the men ordering at least 2 burgers.
All in all, I didn’t have many options open late at night on a Sunday in Helsinki, but I was pretty satisfied after my trek to Jaskan Grilli and McDonald’s. I’m sure that Jaskan Grilli would be a great place to visit on a summer night when lots more people are around (and can help you order), but it’s definitely the epitome of greasy drunk food.