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Traditional Russian foods

Updated: Sep 14, 2018

How much do you know about Russian food? Have you already been to Russia and enjoyed it, maybe there is a Russian restaurant in your city, or you’ve got a Russian friend who cooks for you? Otherwise, you must be looking forwards to this delicious cuisine.

So, let’s find out here what Russian cuisine is:

1. Soups. Long and cold Russian winters necessitate this type of food. In the majority of fridges in Russia you will find a saucepan of freshly made soup. Russians traditionally eat the following types of soup: щи (cabbage soup), борщ (although originally it is Ukrainian), рассóльник (meat or fish soup with salted cucumbers), соля́нка (soup with olives and variety of meats), уха́ (fish soup), and a cold soup called окро́шка (vegetables and meats, poured with квас or кефи́р) – my husband Mark never dared to try the last one, actually!

2. Grains. Oats, buckwheat, millet (my British family say I am eating bird’s food), pearl barley, semolina – they all make perfect breakfast (with added milk, fruits, nuts).

3. Baking. Хлеб (bread), black and white, блины́ and ола́дьи (pancakes) with caviar, sour cream and many other fillings, пирожки́ (pasties) with different fillings: jam, veggies, meats, pies with different fillings, пельме́ни (meat dumplings), варе́ники (dumplings with vegetables, mushrooms, berries etc.- originated in Ukraine).

4. Dairy: apart from milk and yogurt, popular in the West, Russians love кефи́р (fermented milk), ря́женка (fermented baked milk), cottage cheese (Mark was complaining that I put cottage cheese in everything, I know many people hate it, but you just have to cook it right), wonderful сы́рники are made of cottage cheese. Soups, salads and many other meals are eaten with смета́на (sour cream), the best kind of which would hold a spoon vertically.

5. Meat and fish: Russians eat a lot of meat or fish (all kinds), Mark’s absolute favourite is шашлы́к, skewered and grilled cubes of meat (which came from Caucasus originally). Out of popular national dishes I could also recommend котле́ты (burgers), жарко́е (roast meat in a pot), бефстро́ганов (beef stroganoff), tongue with horseradish, but actually I am a big fan of meat myself so for me everything tastes great.

6. Salads: Russians eat salads at parties (including birthdays, weddings etc.), and there is a big tradition of making salads for New Year’s Eve celebrations and eating them a week after (which drives Mark crazy). When we want to invite ourselves to somebody’s wedding (as a joke), we say: can I arrive to eat salads? The most popular are: Оливье́ (so called Russian salad), Селёдка под шу́бой (herring under the fur coat), Це́зарь (Caesar, but without anchovies), кра́бовый (crab salad) and many others.

7. Desserts: nowadays there are many kinds of пиро́жное - sweet pastries (Mark’s favourite is “Napoleon”), cakes, traditionally it was мёд (honey), пря́ники (gingerbread), варе́нье (jam).

8. Drinks: компо́т (a drink prepared of various dried fruits), морс (a drink from berries), квас (a drink from rye bread, sometimes with alcohol).

Me eating борщ in Russian restaurant in Glasgow

Hope you did not get hungry reading this post, because I am salivating writing it.

I will also post the recipes of my favourite meals so you could try making a Russian meal at home.

If you want to learn Russian language,

Don’t hesitate to contact me.


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