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Russian Food

Russian Food (0)

One of the purest forms of cultural immersion is diving stomach-first into a country’s cuisine. Whether you are being adventurous with aspic or enjoying a pot of borsch, you are guaranteed to find something that will fill you, heart and soul.

Russian national cuisine uses lots of grains and roots, vegetables and lots of fish, mushrooms and berries. Because of the harsh climate, Russians have a limited variety of ingredients, but this hardship has been compensated with creative recipes and combinations. Russians have invented a mind-boggling variety of soups and, because they had to preserve food for cold winters, they have made a science out of pickling vegetables.

Contemporary Russian cuisine is truly delicious. It is also healthy because it mostly relies on naturally grown ingredients. It is also very filling because Russian dishes have tons of vegetable oil, sour cream and mayo.

Russian breakfasts are very similar to those in some western countries. For breakfast, Russians almost always drink tea with a sandwich with meat (kolbasa), fried eggs or omelets (but without bacon). Sometimes they make blini, which are thin pancakes, which are similar to French crepes.

Russian lunch is somewhat different from what you are used to. Russians have great variety of soups: rassolnik - chicken soup with pickles, salanka - meat soup with olives and sausages, okroshka - cold soup made of kvas andchopped vegetables, red borsh - beet soup, shchi - cabbage soup, soup s frikadlkami - meatball soup, uha - fish soup and the list goes on.

Russians dinners are similar to any western cuisine as they feature variety of fried meats and fish. Meals are served with rich salads, pickled vegetables, and boiled of fried potatoes. Some dishes are more creative than others and take a while to make. Golbuci is another time-consuming dish. Golubci is ground beef with rice wrapped in cabbage leaves and stewed in an oven for 3 hours.

One of the best ways to taste Russian cuisine is during large holidays such as birthdays or New Year's Eve. For holidays, Russians tend to cook five times more food that they can actually eat. There are usually three or four delicious courses in a typical holiday feast.

Russia is not without its unusual cuisine. Two of its most unique foods are salo (pig fat)  and cow's tongue. Many Russians consider these dishes to be delicacies. There is also stooden (студень), or aspic. Aspic is a gel made by letting cooked meat sit in a refrigerator until the broth hardens into a gel. The gel is then taken out and eaten cold.

Russian specialties also include:

  • Pelmeni (meat-filled dumplings, especially popular in Ural and Siberian regions)
  • Blini (pancakes)
  • Black bread (rye bread)
  • Piroshki (small pies or buns with sweet or savoury filling)
  • Ikra Baklazhanaya (aubergine spread)
  • Vinegret (salad of boiled beets, potato, carrots and other vegetables with vinegar)
  • Olivier (Russian version of potato salad)
  • Shashlyk (various kebabs from the Caucasus republics of the former Soviet Union)

While Russians are most famous for vodka, there are a number of other delicious national drinks as well. Aside from alcoholic beverages, many Russians drink tea, coffee, and a variety of juice. They also produce a beverage called Kvas, a drink made from fermented bread.

Both Saint Petersburg and Moscow offer sophisticated, world class dining and a wide variety of cuisines including Japanese, Tibetan and Italian. They are also excellent cities to sample some of the best cuisines of the former Soviet Union (e.g., Georgian and Uzbek). It is also possible to eat well and cheaply there without resorting to the many western fast food chains that have opened up. Russians have their own versions of fast food restaurants which range from cafeteria style serving comfort foods to street-side kiosks cooking up blinis or stuffed potatoes. Unlike Europe, cafes in Russia (кафе) do not serve only drinks, but also a full range of meals (typically cooked in advance unlike restaurants where part or whole cooking cycle is performed after you make an order).