Russia is known for many things – hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2018, stunning railway stations that are pieces of art in their own right and manufacturing some of the world’s best vodka. What many people do not know, however, is that Russian food is a cuisine unlike any other in the world. Russian food has been heavily influenced by a myriad of European and Asian cuisines over the years and has also been based on crops and ingredients that survived the extreme climate of the country. Without further ado, here is everything you need to know about Russian food!
The foundational ingredients of some of the most popular Russian food are fish, meat, mushrooms, berries and honey. In addition, the countries ample produce of crops like barley, wheat, millet and rye have contributed to a wide range of breads and cakes become a staple part of the cuisine, as well as drinks like vodka, beer and kvass.
Has the thought of warm, fresh pirogi has got your mouth watering? We recommend skipping the small bakeries that you will see selling this staple at every street corner and visit Pirog House in Moscow instead for a taste of juicy, delicious pirogi, just as they should be. It’s not only the best place to try pirogi in the capital, but one of the best places to eat in Russia.
Stews and soups are some of the most common and best Russian food, originally being favoured because they were easy to cook and store in large quantities. Famous soups that are a regular feature in Russian family dinners include pea soup, bean soup with walnuts, okroshka made from kvass and vegetables and solyanka which is both spicy and salty, and can be made with meat, fish, sausage of mushrooms.
You can’t leave Russia with trying blini. These might remind you of crepes you get in France, but they are slightly thicker and potentially, greasier – which makes them even more delicious! They are an incredibly versatile dish and depending on the occasion and time of day, can be filled with meat, loaded with cheese or even simply dusted with powdered sugar for the ultimate sweet treat.
Another must-try dish is pelmeni. These are Russian dumplings, which consist of a minced meat or seafood filling that is seasoned with spices and wrapped in a thin layer of dough. It is the ultimate cold-weather food and tastes best when served with a dollop of butter or sour cream, just like the locals have it.
Pirogi are another popular type of Russian dumplings, and quite different from the ones mentioned above. These are made from sourdough and tend to be baked. They can be filled with almost anything – meat, egg, onion, vegetables or potato. Pirogi are staple Russian food and you can find them at almost every street corner and railway station. But if you want to try the best pirogi, keep reading and we’ll tell you where to find them.
If you’re on a budget, there are some fantastic places to eat in Russia that will satisfy your taste buds without breaking the bank. Danilovsky Market and 21 Food Market in the capital city of Moscow are both great places to get tasty dishes at a good price. In Saint Petersburg, visit Kuznechny Market for fresh fruits and vegetables, and good street food options.
If you have more money to spare on eating out, the cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg offer up some great restaurants and dining experiences. In Moscow, you simply must pay a visit to Café Pushkin, a venue that is favoured by many of the country’s rich and famous. The restaurant is designed to look the house of Russian aristocrat and serves up high quality food with an iconic collection of vodka and top-notch service.
Buono, located on one of the top floors of the Radisson Royal Hotel, is also known as one of the best restaurants in the capital. The food is Italian at it’s very best – throw in some stunning views and you have truly got yourself the dining experience of a lifetime!
But rest assured, Saint Petersburg is not behind when it comes to eating out. Make it a point to visit Mix, run by the world-famous chef Alain Ducasse, in the W Hotel in Saint Petersburg. The restaurant combines great French food with a trendy atmosphere that makes this restaurant a must-visit place to eat. Needless to say, the quality of food and service is nothing less than impeccable.
Russkaya Rybalka is a must-do in Saint Petersburg as well. This restaurant focuses on fish, which is a staple in Russian cuisine. You can catch your own fish and once you have done that, the chef will cook it for you however you want. Not only is this experience immersive and interactive, making it great for families travelling with children; the freshness of the food is absolutely divine.
If your mouth is watering after all of this talk about Russian food, pay us a visit at your nearest SOTC branch, check out our many Russia tour packages on the SOTC website or give us a call to learn more about this fantastic Eurasian country, food et al. We have been helping our customers turn their travel dreams into reality for many years, and we promise that you will have the Russian extravaganza of a lifetime with us!