After the hustle and bustle of the several days of work, it was time for my teammate Marta and I to kick back with some much needed fabulous food.
I did a quick google search and found that Hoku was a well-recommended Hawaiian Japanese restaurant near our mutual hotels. Win and win.
We were a bit late in arriving, since work took us longer than we wanted, but we still arrived a solid hour and a half before closing. This was not enough time.
With a bottle of fantastic white to share between us, we dug into the appetizers. We ordered salmon and whitefish sashimi with wakame seaweed salad. Always a winner, always good. The fish and seafood in Helsinki is always fantastic. This was no different.
Marta got the braised crispy pork belly. I tried some and it was heaven. Pork belly is always a winner, but crispy and with sauce...oh boy. Not to mention the incredible sprig of cilantro on top of the entire thing. I definitely stole some cilantro from her dish later on...I love cilantro a little too much.
I on the other hand...ordered seafood and lap cheung stuffed kuha (some type of white fish). As soon as you read lap cheung you should have known why - my god it had been so long since I had had my favorite sweet Asian sausage. At a solid £8 a pack in London I have been avoiding it altogether, and unfortunately the UK like the US still bands the entry of meat products into the country.
In other words...I have been suffering. Suffering without lap cheung. My life is so terrible.
But this was a relief - an Asian restaurant that has it on the menu! No longer just for the home!
I'd be lying if I said this dish was the most amazing thing I'd ever had in my life, but it did temper my desire for lap cheung for a little bit. I savored every little morsel of the stuff as I ate through the other fish and seafood.
I think what threw me about this dish was that the creamy sauce was citrusy...very much like a hollandaise. I didn't expect that coming into a Hawaiian Japanese joint. It was good, just not what I was expecting (and where's my cilantro?!).
Tasty but I would probably order something different if I came here again.
Before we walked back to our hotels, I took a stop to the ladies room. I was just at the door when I started laughing:
I'd never seen such a bizarre toilet set up in my life. Huge room, toilet right in the middle, surrounded by chairs.
It's obvious they were only storing the chairs here because there was so much room...but I can only imagine the floor planning that originally went into the place to lead to a toilet placement like that.
Kind of ridiculous...but also kinda cool. :)
The culinary adventures were just beginning this weekend. More noms of Helsinki were coming up.