Gone are the days when Russian food was seen as no more than stodge to fill up on. Today, there’s a great variety of dishes to satisfy the taste buds.
As the largest country in the world, there are many local delicacies worth trying across Russia, from pelmeni in Siberia to blini in the big cities.
So much choice is often overwhelming though, so our expert travel designers have rounded up their top 5 foods to try in Russia.
Russia’s answer to porridge, kasha is more than just a breakfast staple. A delightful mixture of barley, oats and buckwheat, this hearty breakfast can be made sweet or savoury. Sweet varieties are made with berries, honey, jam and raisins whilst savoury kashas are often topped with mushrooms, onions and meat. This breakfast dish holds important cultural significance for Russians, with kasha traditionally being cooked by newly married couples to ensure prosperity and plenty in their lives together.
One of Russia’s most famous exports, blini are traditional small pancakes, often paired with smoked salmon and caviar during the festive period. These delicious morsels of Russian cuisine are over a thousand years old, with ancient varieties typically made from oat jam. Blinis are a celebrated food in Russia, with the traditional saying “go to your mother-in-law’s for the blini” indicating that even if you don’t have the best of relationships with your in-laws, the blini are at least worth visiting for.
This distinctive red soup is traditionally made with beetroot as its main ingredient, but other varieties include sorrel-based green borscht, rye-based white borscht and cabbage borscht. Borscht is characterised by its distinct sweet-sourish flavour and although it’s bright red colour may be off putting, the earthy flavours are strangely satisfying. It’s normally served alongside a traditional sour cream called smetana.
The Russian equivalent of Chinese dim sum, pelmeni are essentially stuffed dumplings. In their cooked form, they look slightly like Italian tortellini. Originating in Siberia, pelmeni was a popular meal amongst coachmen or hunters as they voyaged across the depths of Russia. Today, pelmeni is one of Russia’s most loved dishes and is made by encasing minced meat, onion and garlic in a light dough. The perfect comfort food!
A traditional Slavic tipple, kvass is a low-alcohol and nutritious drink made from fermented rye bread. Although it’s mildly alcoholic, Russians class it as a non-alcoholic drink in comparison to old-time favourites such as vodka. The potent colour of kvass ranges from dark yellow to dark brown, and is a result of the bread used to make it.
Feeling inspired? Our expert travel designers are always on hand to help you plan your next foodie adventure through Russia.