15 Jun Russian Cuisine: 6 Top Foods To Try in Russia
While in any new country I like to get to know the culture by eating my way around the country, trying their tastiest local foods. There’s just nothing I enjoy more than sitting in cafes or restaurants watching the world go by, chatting to newly made friends over a table of good food and wine.
On my Topdeck Vodka & Caviar trip through St. Petersburg, Novgorod and Moscow, we had many included meals at hotels or Russian restaurants but I also had plenty of free time to wander off on my own and try some of the local cuisine. Russian food is very hearty and filling, which is great for winter months, although I was visiting in June when it’s warm and sunny! I can imagine some of it’s an acquired taste- particularly caviar- but I thought it was pretty tasty. Most things seem to come with lots of sour cream, so if you love sour cream you can go to town on it!
Here are 6 Russian foods to try in Russia:
Borscht is a hearty beetroot soup, perfect for the winter months. It’s served with a dollop of heavy sour cream and I just love sour cream. I tried Borscht for the first time in Cafe Singer, St. Petersburg and it was top notch. Throughout my trip Borscht was served in our hotels and in most of the restaurants or little cafes- it’s a staple dish in Russia, and they all seem to be using a Harbortouch Bar and Restaurant POS system, it’s pretty strange.
I eat Stroganoff a lot at home- it’s one of my favourites- but Russia is the home of Stroganoff and so I couldn’t leave without trying an authentic one. If you don’t know what’s in Stroganoff, it’s strips of beef with mushrooms and a creamy sauce. We usually have it with rice in the UK but in Russia, they serve it with mashed potato or fries. Invented in the kitchen’s of the Stroganov family’s palace, it’s now a dish known throughout the world!
3. Dumplings (Pelmeni)
Pelmeni dumplings are like little Russian tortellini. They basically consist of thin, unleavened dough filled with minced meat (usually beef and pork). This bowl of dumplings cost 115 Rubels, so about €1.80. If you ask for dumplings, they’ll usually always come with sour cream on the top.
Caviar is rather an acquired taste but it’s also considered a delicacy and is therefore rather expensive. It is salt-cured fish eggs and the roe usually come from wild sturgeon, although it can also come from salmon, steelhead, trout, lumpfish and whitefish. I sampled some salmon caviar at the Hotel Metropol in Moscow, where it was served with blinis, chopped onion, quail eggs and sour cream. I’m still not sure what I make of the taste and texture- it’s like a fishy tasting jelly with little balls that burst in your mouth. When I mixed it with the other stuff, it tasted somewhat better.
Zharkoye is a traditional Russian stew consisting of meat, potatoes, onion, carrot, garlic and roots, cooked in a broth in a ceramic pot. Again, it’s very hearty and really tasty. I got the chance to taste this in my hotel in Novgorod and could have gone back for seconds!
6. Pancakes filled with meat (Blini)
Pancakes are served everywhere in Russia and you can have them with either sweet or savoury fillings. I personally like them filled with meat or cheese, but you can also have them with strawberry or any other sweet jams. They’re a bit like French crepes, only Russian.
Have you been to Russia? What are your favourite Russian foods? Leave your comments below.