Russian cuisine has a very big history throughout which it was influenced by many other cultures. Some food traditions come down to us since ancient times and some appeared in different historical times or were invented in Russia but by foreign chefs. Also, many traditional Russian meals exist in traditional cuisines of other countries, so it is very hard to determine what the true Russian cuisine is.
However, I can say that the degustation of Russian traditional food is a journey itself. And all the meals which are on this list are very popular in Russia nowadays.
Russian cuisine: what to try in Russa?
1. Russian pancakes
Many countries have their pancakes recipe. Like crepes in France or fat pancakes in America. In Russia, we make them very thin and call them blini. In Russia, the 3 most traditional ways to eat blini are: with sour milk, with caviar (rich one) and with condensed milk.
The best place to try Russian blini is a Russian fast-food chain – Teremok. They have cafes all around Russia.
2. Cheese pancakes
Despite the name the pancakes are not made of cheese but of tworog. It’s one of the most common Russian breakfasts and you may try it almost in every restaurant breakfast menu. People also cook them at home.
Dumplings exist in many cultures: starting from China finishing with Italian ravioli. In Russia, we call them Pelmeni. The taste of Russian Pelmeni is absolutely different from other dumplings. It is raw meat (lamb, pork or beef) wrapped in thin dough from flour, eggs, and water and boiled in water. We eat them with sour cream.
You can try pelmeni in every restaurant in Russia.
In Latvia, they have a cold beetroot soup. In Russia, we have borscht, which is a hot beetroot soup. The ingredients are meat, potatoes, carrots, and tomato. And again we eat it with sour cream. You can try borscht in every restaurant in Russia.
“Pirozhki” means “small pies”. Pie in Russian cuisine is about the same as pizza in Italian. Russian pies are baked mainly from unsweetened dough with various fillings – from meat and fish to fruit and cottage cheese. You can try them in every bakery. Don’t miss to try vatrushka. It is the pie with tworog (on the photo).
Kvass is one of the oldest Russian drinks. It is a cold refreshing drink made from fermented bread. You can buy a bottle of kvass in every shop. Also, you can try it in many cafes across the country and it is even sold on the streets during the summer time.
Kholodets is a meat jelly. It is prepared from a thick meat broth with pieces of meat. The masse is boiled for several hours and then cooled. We eat it as a cold appetizer with a horseradish. And we love it. You will definitely find in the menu of Russian cuisine restaurants.
This salad appeared in Russian cuisine in the 19th century. It is made from boiled beets, potatoes, beans, carrots, as well as pickles and onions. Dressed with sunflower oil. It looks like a “dry” borsch. Personally me. I don’t like it. But it is very popular in Russia.
9. Beef Stroganoff
Beef stroganoff has a French name, but it is an absolute Russian dish that has become widespread in the world. It was invented in the Russian counts’ Stroganov family. Beef Stroganoff is a small pieces of beef in sour cream with many other ingredients as mushrooms, onion, dough, tomatoes, etc. In Russia, we eat beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes.
10. Olivier Salad
Olivier salad was invented in the 19th century by a Belgian chef of the most popular restaurant in Moscow – Lucien Olivier. The original recipe was lost, but the main ingredients were caviar, grouse, smoked duck, veal tongue and a secret sauce. In Soviet times, they made a variation with more simple ingredients: mayonnaise, boiled potatoes, carrots, eggs, peas, pickles, and boiled pieces of beef. Now it is one of the most popular meals in the country. There is a special tradition to cook Olivier salad on the New Year eve.
11. Okroshka Soup
It is a cold refreshing soup. To be simple Okroshka is a vegetable salad with kvass or kefir. The ingredients are boiled meat, radish, cucumbers, scallions, boiled potatoes, and eggs.
It is the same thing as pelmeni but with a different filling instead of meat. It can be filled with potatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, sweet cottage cheese (tworog), and even berries. And again, we eat them with sour cream.
The total made in Russia cake. It was invented in the 19th-century especially for the Russian Empress Elizabeth, the wife of Emperor Alexander I. The main ingredient is honey.
14. Buckwheat porridge
Buckwheat is the most popular cereal in Russia. And the most popular dietic dish and dish in general. We can eat it as a side dish with meat and other additions as cabbage or onions. Also, we can eat it with milk and sugar for breakfast.
15. Gingerbread cakes
In many cultures, there are ginger cookies. Well, in Russia, we have our version of gingerbread – pryanik. Pryanik is a ginger cake, the taste of which is totally different from the ginger cookies. Pryaniks are much softer than cookies and usually, they are filled with jam or dulce de leche or chocolate.
Read also my article: Food worth traveling for – The best meals all around the world.