Russians are not famous for experimenting with food, however, the Russian cuisine is full of imagination. If you think about it, they have managed to create delicious local dishes using just the basic ingredients like bread, potatoes and cabbage. Like the good foodies we are, we tried most of the local foods during the 25 days of our Trans-Siberian journey.
When in Russia, those are the top 7 foods you need to try:
1. Pelmeni (Пелмени)
What is it: Dumplings made from thin dough, filled with minced meat, onions and mushrooms.
Pelmeni are the ultimate food! You can order it either for starters or for the main dish if you are not that hungry. If you are vegetarian then you can order pelmeni’s alternative, vareniki, which is stuffed with potatoes, white cheese or smashed apples.
2. Salad Olivier (Оливье)
What is it: Potatoes, pickles, eggs, carrots and too much mayonnaise.
Salad Olivier doesn’t look like a salad really, but they have it in all houses and it serves every Russian meal. Like all traditional Russian foods the recipe differs from one cook to another, but in every version, the fresh mayonnaise is the key.
3. Pirogi (Пироги)
What is it: Pastries filled with minced meat, potatoes, cabbage or cheese.
The pirogis are the smaller version of the pirozhkis. You will find them everywhere, even in small bakeries and they are a perfect choice since they cost less than 1€.
4. Akroshka (окрошка)
What is it: A cold summer soup made of sliced sausages, eggs, cucumber, potatoes, onions and herbs.
The secret ingredient of Akroshka is the Kvas which is used instead of water. Kvas is a sour-sweet drink made from rye-bread like the beer. In comparison with the beer, Kvas is low in alcohol and kids can drink it too. The Akroshka has many variations since the Russian cuisine is based on… pretty much everything in the fridge.
5. Salyanka (Солянка)
What is it: A soup made from tomato juice, garlic, pickles, olives, lemon, potatoes and minced bacon or sausage and a spoon of smetana (thick sour cream).
In Russian, salyanka mean a salty thing and it is famous as the left-over soup and it is usually served with a shot of Vodka. Every restaurant serves it, and believe me it is the most delicious soup you will ever taste!!
6. Borsch (Борщ)
What is it: A soup made of beetroots, potatoes, beef and a spoon of smetana (thick sour cream).
Borsch hardly needs any introduction, it is the most famous beetroot soup in the world! If you are a beetroot fan, then this is the soup for you. It is served in two versions, spicy and not spicy and some restaurants serve a piece of fat to melt into the soup while it is hot.
7. Blini (Блины)
What is it: Thin pancakes, usually topped with sweet or savoury toppings.
Blini are a lot like crepes only thinner, smaller and greasier.
Of course, Russia has a lot more delicious foods to offer, but those were our 7 favourite dishes.
Have you been in Russia or have you tried any other food you would recommend?