10 must try Russian dishes

1. Famous Russian borsch (actually it has Ukrainian origins) obviously wins first place. We can define it not only as a foundation of our cuisine, but all of our culture. A real Russian man decides whether he should marry his girlfriend after he has tried the borsch she’s made. The right one should be really thick and rich.

The recipes of this Russian treasure vary, but vegetables (mainly beetroot), beef and sour cream are always the main ingredients. The beetroot used in cooking borsch gives the soup its trademark deep reddish-purple colour. Life wouldn’t be complete without gorgeous slice of Russian rye-bread, lard and garlic.

The best borsch in St. Petersburg is said to be found at a restaurant called “Russkaya rumochnaya №1” (Konnogvardeisky boul.,4), but it’s actually quite expensive. However, don’t be sad, borsch is served almost in every café or restaurant in Russia so you always can find your own favorite “borsch place”. Or just ask one of the Russian girls you’ve recently met to make it for you. Maybe you will get married soon…you never know?

2. Russian pancakes or blini are the reason why you won’t lose weight during your stay in Russia. We make it really thin, then put meat or mushrooms, cabbage and eggs or ham and cheese inside. Would like to feel like real Russian? Take one more with caviar. Do you want to have it as dessert? No problem! Try one with strawberry or raspberry jam, honey or chocolate. The Blini is a perfect breakfast to make at home or a cheap lunch at our “pancake fast-food joints” Teremok (the closest to SPbU is on the 7th line, 42) or Chainaya lozhka (Nevsky st., 44). Also try a “Russian Cola” called kvas. It’s a fermented beverage made from black or regular rye bread which has a specific satisfying taste.

3. Syrniki is the best alternative when you are a bit bored with pancakes. It is  a fried  pancakes made from creamy quark, mixed with flour, eggs, and sugar, sometimes adding vanilla. The name syrniki is derived from the word “syr” in Russian, meaning “cheese”. Although the modern meaning of this word is hard yellow cheese, the original word in Slavic languages stood for soft white cheese similar to one being used for cooking cheesecake.  In contrast to traditional pancakes, syrniki are always sweet.  Go for it to the same “pancake fast-foods” or in café “Zoom” (Gorohovaya st., 22), where apart from eating you can also play in various table games.

4. Kotlety are Russian meatballs made from meat rolled into small balls along with breadcrumbs, minced onion, spices and herbs. Meatballs are usually prepared by hand and are cooked by frying. Probably it’s the most common Russian main dish going with a trimming of rice, spaghetti or potatoes. Try traditional chicken kotlety in the restaurant of Russian cuisine “Elky-palky” (Nevsky st.,88) or ask the Russian girl who prepared borsch for you.

5. Do you feel tired after a long day? Do you want just lie on the sofa and watch a stupid comedy? In this case the best and the easiest dinner for you is pelmeni. Russian traditional ravioli are always with meat inside and we eat it with sour cream or mayonnaise. Buy it frozen in any grocery store next to you and boil them in hot water – your bachelor’s dinner is ready!

Try best Siberian pelmeni in the restaurant “Pelmennya dugina” on the 4th floor of the shopping mall “Galeria” (Ligovsky st., 30A)

6. Salad “Olivier” (known in Europe as Russian salad) is a traditional dish for every Russian party, especially New Year’s celebrating. It is usually made with diced boiled potatoes, carrots, peas, eggs, diced boiled chicken (or sometimes ham) and is dressed with mayonnaise. Just eat this salad as much as you can on somebody’s birthday and you wouldn’t need any first course this evening and probably tomorrow too.  There is also a cheaper variation called Stolichny salad, because chicken is replaced by wurst. Try it in your school cafeteria or just wait until someone’s flat party.

7. Kholodets (or Studen’) is also one of the obligatory dishes on the Russian festive table. You have never eaten something like this before and it’s hard to explain the receipt.  Jellied chopped pieces of pork or beef are boiled for long periods of time with some spices (pepper, parsley, garlic, bay leaf). Then it chopped, boiled a few times again and finally chilled for 3–4 hours forming a jelly mass, though gelatine is not used because calves’ feet, pigs’ heads is gelatinous enough on its own. It is served with mustard and horseradish.  The last one is supposed to be that strong and spicy that you will be crying while eating. Try traditional beef kholodets in the restaurant “Elky-palky” (Nevsky st.,88) or ask (attention!) the mother of the Russian girl you met to cook it for you.

8. Sel’d’ pod shuboy (or Shuba, from Russian word meaningfur coat”) is chopped salted herring under a “coat” of shredded cooked beet with  a layer of egg or other vegetables. Usually it’s not a restaurant dish so try to find it in some cafés as a lunch option or look number 6 (wait until New Year’s party).

9. It’s important to know the difference between “pirozhki” and “pirog”. Pirozhki are individual-sized baked buns stuffed with a variety of fillings and a word pirog refers to a full-sized pie.

They typically contain meat (beef) or a vegetable filling (mashed potatoes, mushrooms, onions and egg, or cabbage). Sweet-based fillings could include stewed or fresh fruit (apples, cherries, apricots, chopped lemon, etc.), jam, quark or cottage cheese.

Although, the best pirozhki are homemade, there are not bad ones in café “Stolle” (Nevsky st.,11) or in special “pie place” “Pirogovy dvorik” (Griboyedov can.,22)

10. Pyshki are kind of Russian donuts with powdered sugar on the top. Without any further explanations go the old soviet café on Bolshaya Konnushennaya st.,25 with the cheapest and the most delicious pyshky with a cup of shitty, but very authentic coffee.

YULIA PRYANIKOVA

More from Matthew von Abo

A New World Order One BRIC At A Time

The west versus the rest: fish supplies from South Africa as symbol...
Read More