Stretching from Europe in the west across Asia until it reaches the Pacific Ocean in the far East, Russia is a large country with a rich history with abundant natural beauty. It is one of the top places to visit in Europe blessed with landscapes varying from snow-capped mountains to dry deserts, and climates ranging from arctic to sub-tropical. This incredible diversity has heavily influenced Russian cuisine and made it as we know it today. Although Russia may not be the first to come to mind when you think of a food destination, this country has plenty of delicious traditional dishes to tickle your taste buds. If you’re planning a trip to Russia and want to expand your culinary horizons as part of Russia Tour Packages, then look no further than our list of top traditional Russian foods.
Blini is a thin round shaped Russian pancake, and the custom of baking pancakes by Russians has been preserved from the days of paganism. These pancakes are traditionally made with eggs, flour, and milk, and are rolled with several fillings such as jam, cheese, sour cream, caviar, onions, creamy mushrooms, or even chocolate syrup. Russian people like to eat this dish as a dessert or main course. This dish is made during a festival called Maslenitsa which is celebrated every year one week before the start of spring. One must try this dish while in Russia as it is available in almost all restaurants.
Nicknamed as Ural dumplings, Pelmenis are pastry dumplings said to have originated in the Urals, where the indigenous peoples used pelmenias provision during long winter hunts in the taiga, or as part of the holiday table. It is one of the most popular dishes in Russia and is considered the national dish of Russia. These dumplings are typically filled with minced meat or fish, mixed with herbs, and chopped onion or garlic, wrapped in thin pasta-like dough, which are either fried or boiled. They can be served alone, slathered in butter and topped with sour cream, or in a soup broth. One can even eat this dish in cheap restaurants in the Siberia region of Russia.
Another popular Russian dish, Borscht is a beetroot soup which is originated in Ukraine but was quickly adopted as a Russian specialty. It has become a staple soup in Russian cuisine that contains a lot of vitamins. This sweet & sour soup has dozens of ingredients and can take up to 3 hours to prepare. Most often, this soup is made with beef broth along with sauteed vegetables, including beetroot, cabbage, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes. It can be served hot or cold and is best served with a dollop of fresh sour cream on top and special garlic bread called pampushka.
Shashlik is a Russian Kebab and like any kebab, it consists of cubed meat and veggies grilled on skewers. It is originated from the Caucasian Mountain, where 19th-century tribe members would prepare them over an open flame. It is now a big part of Russian culture, and every family has their own secret recipe for this dish where the main part lies in the marinade. Kefir, soy sauce, or lemon juice, mixed with herbs, spices, and sometimes vegetables such as onions, garlic, or tomatoes are some of the most common marinades that make your dish more delicious. It is a common sight in late spring or summer to see many people in parks all across the country making shashlik. This is a must-try dish in Russia, especially in Moscow.
Solyanka is a Russian soup that dates back to the 15th century. This hearty, thick soup is made with salty cured meats, sausages, olives, capers, pickles, cabbage, and sometimes carrots. Solyanka is also made in three different versions- meat, fish, and vegetable (most often mushroom), with meat being the most common. The broth is a combination of beef base and an herbal sachet that includes bay leaves, peppercorns, and allspice berries bundled in a piece of cheesecloth and tied to the pot handle for easy retrieval. Consumed especially in the morning hours, it is often considered the ultimate hangover cure because it replaces the salts lost after a night of revelry.
Olivier Salad / Russian Salad
Olivier Salad is a traditional dish in Russian cuisine, which is also popular in other post-Soviet countries and around the world. This salad is commonly known as the Russian Salad or Olivye in the Ukrainian community. This hearty salad is usually made with diced boiled potatoes, carrots, brined dill pickles (or cucumber), green peas, eggs, celeriac, onions, diced boiled chicken or bologna sausage, and tart apples, with salt, pepper, and mustard added to enhance flavor, dressed with mayonnaise. This heavy, and filling salad is served in most restaurants and at parties.
Pirozhki are traditional Russian handheld pies stuffed with a variety of savory or sweet fillings encased in a yeasted dough. One of the popular street foods in Russia, Pirozhki are either fried or baked and come in sweet or savory varieties. These pastries are packed with potatoes, meat, cabbage, or cheese while the typical sweet fillings are fruit (apple, cherry, apricot, lemon), jam, or quark. Usually, pirozhki are hand-sized and a smaller version may be served with soups. The stuffed pockets are a popular snack in Russian schools and factories.
Beef Stroganoff is one of the popular dishes not only in Russia but also all over the world. From its origins in mid-19th-century Russia, this dish became popular all around the world with considerable variation from the original recipe. It consists of sauteed beef strips served in a delicious garlicky creamy sauce with mushrooms or tomatoes. With its tender chunks of beef coated in a luscious creamy sauce and served over a bed of buttery noodles, it’s no wonder Beef Stroganoff is such a hit. Don’t miss to taste this dish when you travel to Russia as part of Russia Tour Packages.
Another traditional Russian dish, Okroshka is a cold soup originated in the Volga region. It is made with chopped raw cucumbers, radishes and spring onions, boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, and cooked meat. Just before eating, these ingredients are mixed with kvass, a low-alcoholic beverage made from fermented black or rye bread. This allows the vegetables to retain their texture. Usually, it is garnished with sour cream (smetana). It sometimes comes with ice cubes in to make sure it’s chilled. Commonly eaten in summer, Okroshka is always served cold, and sometimes ice cubes are added to served portions to keep the soup cold in hot weather.