Picture this. You’re in an 18-person Russian dormitory, and it’s full. The percentage of snorers is at an all time high of 30%. Naturally you’re out of earplugs and your good night’s sleep – well, it doesn’t involve any sleep at all. You arise the following morning – sleep deprived and irritated – only to hear that the showers are out of action due to a blown main. You finally get out of the hostel, head down to the one Russian attraction you were interested in seeing – only to find out it is closed and doesn’t re open until the following morning…
The only problem is – you’re departing on the first train out! It’s safe to say you’re (or in this case, I am) having a bad day. First world problem much? Yes I know, but please just let me have this one time?! Surprisingly we digress, I’m shocked… Now despite the circumstances described above, there is one thing that will make all of this OK.
I’m talking about Russian comfort food.
Life on the road is not always glamorous. You’re away from mum’s cooking, the comfort of your own bed and the reliability of hot water (when you need it most). But thankfully there is nothing a good wholesome, Russian comfort food won’t fix. Carbohydrates, baby! They’re the light of my life.
So in recognition of the food that helps us out of our lowest of lows, I have compiled a list of my top 5 traditional Russian foods – enjoy!
1. Russian dumplings – Ukrainian Ravioli (Pelmeni)
These are a far cry from home made Italian pasta yet a close call to Asian inspired dumplings. Fillings cater for almost all likes and dislikes however mushroom; liver, beef, salmon, chicken, sauerkraut, offal and potato appear to be the most popular Russian food choices. My pick of the bunch? Salty white cheese.
2. Best Russian Cakes – Sour Cream Cake
Sour cream frosting smothered between layers of sweet honey cake. Words cannot describe how divine this little ripper of a dessert is.
3. Traditional Russian Pies
Now for those of you who look for that crispy flaky texture (yes, guilty as charged) you may be mildly disappointed. Here in Russia they opt for a thicker heavier dough but my word do they pack it full of deliciousness. Now, for the purpose of this conversation, I am going to give you both my preferred savoury and sweet variety…
4. More Traditional Russian Dishes – Kotlety
Kotlety (seen on plate below) is one of the traditional Russian foods, appearing on almost all local menus. They’re made through the mixing of various meats (ground turkey, pork, chicken or beef) and the addition of minced onions, egg, bread and spices. Then they’re rolled into balls, pan fried and served with a variety of homemade sauces. They’re simple yet comforting.
5. And last but not least – Blini
These are thin crepe like pancakes traditionally baked in a Russian oven and stuffed with sweet or savoury fillings.
Now, before I go. Check out this Creamed Cheese & Sour Cherry Tart I picked up from my favourite little haunt in Yekaterinburg – Uralskie Pelmeny, a trendy little Russian food hub with modern industrial aesthetic. Russia and the Ukraine are among the worlds top producers of sour cherries so its no surprise that this sweet little treasure finds its way into most eateries. A fair few variations exist however this was one of my favourites, the creamed cheese was the perfect complement.
Russian Food, it never lets you down…
We hope you enjoyed this post about traditional Russian foods – feel free to leave a comment below or check out some of our other foodie travel posts!