Bourdain’s No Reservations sinks teeth into Helsinki

A Helsinki episode of Anthony Bourdain’s popular No Reservations programme has aired in the US, with viewers across the pond voicing mixed opinions on the Finnish capital. Under the watchful eye of local guide Sami Yaffa, a former member of Finnish band Hanoi Rocks, the American celebrity chef enjoyed the city’s ‘tram bar’, toured its Roma quarters, and experimented with traditional blood-letting in a sauna.

Taking to Twitter to discuss the show, American viewers were particularly impressed by SpåraKOFF, a tram that serves beer.

“I’m moving to Finland, they serve draft beer on their public transportation,” tweeted Malek Damiri. “We need those here. Public transportation would be extremely popular. I’d sell my car,” added the Firewater Sailors.

However, the traditional blood-letting practice known as ‘cupping’ was not so universally accepted.

“What is going on in Finland? Anthony Bourdain drains a half a litre of bad blood like something off Saw!” said Will Hayes, referring to the gruesome horror films. “Are they doing sauna based bloodletting in Finland?” asked Dorianna Gray.

Bourdain also sampled traditional Roma fare in the nearby Tuusula region, including Rum de Jeremy, a particularly smooth spirit named after the American porn star Ron Jeremy.  After downing more booze at a typical Finnish family-style dinner, the TV personality then enjoyed traditional blood sausage, but was disappointed when he failed to find any meat in a Finnish ‘meat pie’ (lihapiirakka).

Helsinki locals helped the production team plan Bourdain’s trip by taking to the No Reservations Facebook page to give their top tips for the “authentic Finland” experience. Although the show does not air in Finland until September 2, locals who have had a sneak preview on YouTube are busy debating whether the programme offered an accurate portrayal of the city or whether it simply enforced cultural stereotypes.

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