When thinking of food destination travel, Russia may not be the first country you think about. However, Russia has a rich history, and plenty of delicious traditional foods and dishes. People not familiar with Russian culture are often surprised by the wide range of dishes and flavours. Russia’s traditional dishes are influenced by Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Russian food reflects the geographical features and customs of this large country.
Traditional Russian foods are based on a foundation of cereals, berries, vegetables, flour and fish. Many traditional dishes were often prepared for certain holidays and events. When Christianity came to Russia, meat dishes became rarer due to the nearly seven months of fasting Orthodox Christians practiced.
Russian cuisine has a long history, with some dishes dating back to the 10th century. The country’s rivers, lakes, and forests contributed to the ingredients used and the appearance of the food. An Old Russian saying is “porridge is our mother; bread is our father”. Hearty, flavourful dishes were needed to fuel Russian citizens as they worked in their felids, and during the cold long winters.
Because Russia is so large, the variety of dishes is vast, and you could easily eat your way across Russia without eating the same dish twice, if you wanted to.
Here are the top three Russian dishes that are so good, you’ll want to eat them more than once before you die
Like many Russian dishes, beef stroganoff has an interesting history. During the times of the Tsars, Russia had an extremely wealthy upper-class. The Russian upper-class citizens enjoyed Paris, and often owned apartments in Paris, and would take home French dishes and cooking. In 1891, a French chef who worked for a wealthy Russian family from St. Petersburg invented a dish for a cooking contest. The chef sautéed beef and served it with a sauce and sour cream. Beef Stroganoff is relatively easy to prepare, and is both luxurious and filling. It is now a signature dish in many upscale Russian restaurants.
A beetroot soup that originally is from the Ukraine, borscht quickly became a Russian favorite and specialty. It can take up to three hours to prepare borscht, as it has dozens of ingredients. This hearty soup filled with meat, beets, cabbage, carrots, onions and potatoes can be served cold or warm, and is best served with fresh sour cream and a kind of garlic bread called pampushka.
Also known as Russian pancakes, making blini was a custom that has been part of Russian tradition and culture for hundreds of years. Originally part of paganism, blini are very thin, like crêpes, but not sweet. The filling choices are endless. Traditional blini come with sour cream, salmon, caviar or mushrooms, and for sweeter ones, condensed milk or betties. During Maslenitsa, a holiday that happens every year one week before the start of spring, it is tradition to eat blini every day. In pagan culture, the round, flat cakes represented the sun.