Russia - What to eat

Like any foreign country, Russia has its own unique cuisine. Russian food seems to be a secret to a lot of people. The Russian diet is nothing special with lots of vegetables being consumed. Most people eat a lot of potatoes and macaroni. Most meals will contain one of the two. The one food that is at practically every meal, if not every meal, is bread. If you don't eat any bread then people think you're sick because bread is a must. I am not sure why but people ask me every time "Why aren't you eating any bread?" (Что хлеб не едите?). Following your meal, usually tea is served. I find it odd, but that is because we didn't do either of these things when I was growing up. Anyways, here are some of the common/unique foods of Russia.

Black Bread - The number one food of Russia (I think). Bread is served at basically every meal. Bread is made fresh daily and available at any store. Russian bread is much tastier then any of the bread sold in American stores.

Dried Fish - Fish is a common food for most Russians. A lot of times fish is boiled and put into soup. The other common way that fish is eaten is dried (as seen in this picture). The fish is dried with all of its scales and bones still in place and when you buy it, you remove the scales and eat the dried meat right off the bone. I've never tried it but I hear it is really tasty...

Piroshki - A pastry of sorts. It is like a bread or a roll with either potatoes, meat, or cabbage inside (they put other things inside as well but these are the 3 most common). My favorite is with potatoes but the others are pretty good as well. After putting the filling inside, the bread is either baked or fried. Fried are definitely my favorite.

Borsht - one of the most famous Russian soups. Borsht contains potatoes, meat (any type), cabbage, carrots, and beets which gives it the red color. Tastes best with sour cream. Soup in general is very common and made by some variant of boiling together meat and potatoes and some other vegetables.

Shashliki - Like a shishkabob. It is meat roasted over hot coals. These things are very tasty and found at small street vendors or when going on a picnic.

Pelmeni - Russian dumpling. A noodle type outer layer filled with beef and pork typically (sometimes with chicken). Usually these dumplings are boiled and eaten with mayonnaise or kethup. Russians do not fry them, but I think they are tastier that way.

Salad - A typical Russian salad does not contain any lettuce. You won't find a head of lettuce in Russia (you can find leaves of lettuce) so when you see the word salad anywhere you can know that you aren't getting a typical American salad. Usual salads are a mixture of rice or diced potatoes with other diced vegetables such as carrots, peppers, peas, etc. and some kind of meat all mixed together with mayonnaise or sour cream. Some can be really tasty and some can be not so great. The other common salad is sliced up tomatoes and cucumbers with onions and mixed together with mayo, sour cream, or oil (yes, vegetable oil).

Pastry - Like the bread, the pastries are fresh too. Usually the pastries are filled with a fruit jam or condensed milk. Condensed milk is used in a lot of things and is very tasty (and super fattening as well).

Blini - Russian pancakes or crepes. These are typically eaten with some type of filling inside. The above picture is a blin filled with cabbage and eggs. Other common fillings are jam, condensed milk, and fruit.

A standard Russian meal. As soon as we flew in, this was the first thing that we ate. Macaroni with fried chicken with mayonnaise for the topping. Mayonnaise and ketchup are used very often and rarely do Russians make a tomato sauce for macaroni, rather just use one of the two or both.

Sharuma - Russian fast food (kind of). This is a common food made in several cities throughout Russia. The best sharuma I have ever eaten were in Saratov with beef, tomatoes, and cucumbers but these ones are pretty good as well.


Teresa said...

Love this post. Thanks Tenney!