The Asian Town of Finland – Hakaniemi, Helsinki, Finland

I recently wrote a post about how I rediscovered cooking Asian food and mainly Malaysian style home-cooked or hawker style meals through a mini flashback after going through my piles of photos in an external drive (you can read about it here). The store in Mankka, Espoo I was talking about was non other than Aseanic Trading. I was distraught when they moved to Helsinki because parking seems to be a nuisance there, on the bright side they are still located well between the Zone 2 and 3 parking (meaning if you don’t mind a small walk up the hill of Kolmas Linja, it’s far cheaper to park there, in zone 3 that is) you don’t have to fork out a fortune just because of it. With the help of the EasyPark App (sorry it’s in Finnish only), I’m able to park there and keep adding parking time when I need to without having to run around begging for change. Enough with the parking, so what makes Hakaniemi the ‘Asian Town’ of Helsinki, Finland?

When I first discovered Asian/Oriental Markets in Finland I could only remember 2 major players. Aseanic Trading (Kolmas Linja 3)  and Vii Voan (smack right in the middle of Hämeentie). Today, we are spoilt for choices! If one store doesn’t carry an item, the other may. This is due to some differences in suppliers and products they order to cater for the market demand, which isn’t a bad idea.

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This is just a sneak peak around the block. Take a look at the image taken from Google map. I’ve drawn lines to highlight the block where all these Asian markets are located.And circled the location of each stores in within close proximity.

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Asian/Oriental Market around Hakaniemi

As you can see, I don’t need to wander very far to check for items, I’m close enough to do my rounds all in within a few hours. On warmer days, I tend to concentrate on where I get some of my products. I usually visit the last shop first so that I can scout for the items they have (especially in the cold/frozen section) before going off to other stores. Even my favourite store does not carry everything I need, so I have take my list and make notes of what they do not have and gather them from the rest of the stores. Most of the time I’m lucky to have everything from my list by doing a little legwork. Sometimes, well, tough luck. Depending on where I find my parking, the last store is also the store closest to the parking because by the end of my trip, I would be juggling with bags of stuff! I mean come on, look at all the things they have!

Jia He Asian Food Market (Sörnäisten Rantatie 7) itself has a giant selection of stuff. They are a new player on the block and was giving discount on purchases until mid August.

Aseanic Trading (Kolmas Linja 3), has quite a good selection of products. And service to top too! Oh yeah and that’s Mr. Chew… 🙂

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Mr. Chew  was busy packing for a customer, and in comes the Papparazzi xD

If you’re looking to find Indian and African products, Maharaja and Indian Market has good selection of those. They also carry fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables to make those delectable curries, awesome samosas, frozen grated coconut, etc etc. Aseanic Trading, Jia He, DFH and ViiVoan cater mostly to South East Asian market, think China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singaporean, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos and countries in the surrounding, they may have some curry powders, spices and such, since the S.E.A. food cultures are slightly blended and that’s what makes our local food so interesting.

On the side note: Aseanic, Jia He, DFH and Vii Voan do carry some Japanese and Korean products but not too many. I tend to go to Tokyo-kan in Annankatu for Japanese goods (I’ll try to capture a few images from there on my next trip).

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