Blog - Russian culinary habits

Added on Thursday, 2010-08-19 18:12 CEST in category Moscow
Vodka and caviar, those are probably the most well-known Russian drink and food. But there are so many more, both originally from CIS or purely Russian, but in any case practically unknown in the West.

Drinks

Contrary to popular belief, not all Russians drink vodka, far from that. Vodka is mainly used for cocktails, and you'd want to stay away from those who only drink it pure.

More popular are all kinds of cocktails (PiƱa Colada, Tequila, rum cola, Martini etc.), local and foreign beer (Stariy Mel'nik ("Old Miller"), Baltika, Budweiser, Heineken and even sometimes Grolsch), (Crimean) wine or just plain soft drinks like Coca-Cola or Sisi (called "Mirinda" here, cause "sisi" means "titties").

Russia also has its very own soft drink, called "Kvas", which is made of bread, and contains just a bit of alcohol (<1%). It's said its taste most closely resembles cola, but you really have to try it for yourself. (I personally don't appreciate its distinct taste.) Russians also sometimes make their own fruit drinks, called "kompot" or "mors", which are a lot like somewhat pulpy lemonade.

With time local drinks are becoming somewhat less popular, with more and more drinks being imported. E.g., a popular Dutch yoghurt drink ("Yogho! Yogho!") can now also be found in Russian supermarkets. (They should start importing Dutch milk, Russian milk is way too over-processed and just not that tasty.)

Soups

Soups are rather popular in Russia, with the most well-known soups being borshch (beet soup), shchi (cabbage soup) and okroshka (vegetable soup based on Kvas or churned milk). The latter is served cold btw., that was quite the surprise…

Food

The caviar in Russia is so cheap, people smear it on their pancakes and bread for breakfast! OK, that's overdoing it, but you can buy pancakes with red caviar at small stands on the street (black caviar is expensive here as well).

For dinner you might be served with golubtsy (cotlets wrapped in cabbage) with grechka (buckwheat) or with syrniki (small, thick pancakes).

The best "dish" I've found so far though is the popular shashlyk, meat on a skewer, made yourself on a small fire at the dacha (the country house Muscovites flee to in the weekend to escape the hectic city life), somewhere at midnight under the starry sky :)