Kalakukko -or- Fish-filled Bread Loaf

You want to hear something funny? I got a hit the other day from somebody searching for “kiwi mussels how to cook those bitches”. Somewhere out there is a very angry mollusk eater, and I hope that they found what they were looking for here. A quick search shows that I have three recipes for mussels currently available, so that must be what all the search engine love is about. Yay for bivalves.

You want to see something kinda funny looking? Breadfish!


What, you thought it was just an internet meme? Far from it!


Yes, that filling is fish. European perch, to be exactly — a common enough fish to net up in abundance on long summer days out at the island cottage. This is indeed a loaf of bread with a fish in it. A rather civilized version actually, with the fish fillets having been deboned and chopped up to make for easier consumption. Back in the old days, they’d just take off the scales and toss the whole thing in. The baking process would soften the bones enough for you to eat it whole. Brings a whole new meaning to breaded and baked, eh?

Want to see more? You know you do. The whole loaf behind the cut.


The Finnish word for this dish is kalakukko — “kala” is fish and “kukko” is… well, rooster. Or cock. As you prefer. But wait, that’s just a modern translation. Supposedly, in archaic times when this dish was conceived, it meant something closer to “fish purse”. Which is a relief, because I really don’t want to think about slicing into a large… yes. Moving along.

We bought this loaf at the street festival a couple days ago. It comes wrapped like a large ham and is a specialty of eastern Finland. “Ahven” means perch, so here we have a loaf of perch bread. Breadfish!


It looks like a normal enough loaf when you open it up. The bread used is rye, and the fish will actually keep for quite a while if this stays unopened. The expiration date on this package gave a full 2 weeks from when we bought it — which is rather impressive for a loaf of bread filled with fish, if you think about it.


You can slice it like a normal piece of bread and butter the slices. You can eat it warm or cold. It’s very versatile and saves you the trouble of making a sandwich. Nifty!


  1. It reminds me a bit of a shooter’s sandwich. Is that ham in there as well as fish>?

    • Nah, this one that we got was all fish and nothing but the fish. There are some versions that do include pork and veg, however. And OMG that shooter’s sandwich looks wonderful in a heavy, meaty, calorie-laden sort of way that the boy would probably love. I might just have to try that some day.

  2. This is so intriguing! Thanks for sharing!

    • Definitely a departure from standard camping fare šŸ™‚ Thank you for stopping by and I look forward to reading more of your posts as well!

  3. omg that looks delicious.

    • Tasty and keeps for quite a while in a backpack, too! Just the thing to take on a long hike through the woods, which is what I think they were originally meant for… Definitely beats canned beans, at any rate šŸ™‚

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