This is a formidable place in the Asian store. Spiky fruit abide side-by-side with frozen sea life of various size, shape and colour. Packets half frosted-over offer little help – ‘Squid balls’ proclaims one, another has text mostly in foreign scribble and, helpfully, in Dutch. Asking the shopkeeper is not an option, lest risk her wrath, therefore is all hope lost? No, it is not. Here is SixDegrees’ helpful guide to perusing the freezer section.

First up: vegetables.


This is the immature soybean that is boiled in its pod and served with a sprinkling of salt, preferably sea salt. You can get these babies frozen, simply steam in a wok and split open like one would with peas and eat the soybeans. It’s delicious, protein rich and has no additives. Win win!

Seaweed salad

Made from wakame seaweed, this ‘salad’ is usually seasoned with soy, sesame oil, sugar, pepper and scallions and is garnished with sesame seeds. You can buy it frozen from the Chinese-Asian grocery stores, and needs no fandangling except thawing. Serve with chopsticks as a starter to a Japanese feast. Delicious, and good for you!

Frozen shitake mushrooms

It is beyond me that mushrooms are so expensive in most stores, but here a giant bag of it costs about €5. Thaw, squeeze the excess water out and use in stir-fries. Remember to season well. The only downside is a bag of these take up a nice chunk of freezer space, and are not as potent as the dried shitake mushrooms. Plus with the dried ones you can use the water used to rehydrate to add extra flavour for stews. But a nice textural variety to add to your dishes, nonetheless!

Tania Nathan is a Chinese-Sri Lankan Malaysian who loves her food and is often to be found rummaging through a freezer somewhere in Hakaniemi. Come say hi!


Those big white-purple looking discs – usually in bags with Vietnamese script? That would be yam, a type of tuber vegetable. Now there’s a bit of confusion when it comes to yams, the American yam is what I would call a sweet potato or what the Aussies call kumara. A true yam, or Dioscorea batatas is what these guys are. Stickier than their African counterparts, these yams are more purple, sometimes sticky and not toxic. The frozen variety are sliced, ready to go and work best cooked in a stew.


Big, spiky and lethal looking, the durian fruit is the size of a football and usually sit there, standing out in its hulking glory amidst a sea of modest frozen fish packs and other stuff. The durian should be respected, because not only is it spiky and heavy, it also stinks. Do not attempt to open it indoors. Do not attempt to open it unless you know what you’re doing. Best to buy the durian seeds, sold in portions of 2-3 in little plastic containers. It is delicious, will make your breath putrid as a corpse and fantastic. You either love it, or hate it. Do not consume with alcohol. You have been warned.

So my lovelies, that’s just a smidgen of the vast treasures contained in the freezer section. See you next month!