You don’t know if you like Russian food or not if you haven’t tried it, right? Whether you’re going to that Russian restaurant in your neighbourhood or you’re planning your trip to Russia, this post will tell you what the hottest Russian dishes that you must try are. Having grown up in Russia and lived in beautiful St. Petersburg until I was 22, I’ve tried all the Russian dishes and can share with you the ones you should taste (ideally during your trip to Russia).
So here are 10 best Russian dishes that you have to try:
1. Russian Salad
Okay, the number 1 in this list and my favourite Russian dish is Russian Salad or “Olivje” (Olivier) – how Russians call it. It might be different from the Russian salad you already know/ have tried somewhere else. Traditional Russian salad has a lot of mayo and also has chopped sausage and pickles (these three ingredients are sometimes missing in the variations of the “Russian salad” in various countries. The best Russian salad in Russia I age in the restaurants of the Ginza group (check them here).
If you have ever been to Polish restaurants / tried Polish food, the name “Pirogi” must ring the bell. However, if you compare Russian vs Polish food, they are similar, but not the same. Polish pierogi are very different from Russian pirogi. Polish pierogi is more like Pelmeni in Russia (which would be one of the next dishes I’ll describe), while Russian pirogi is actually pies with various fillings.
Pirogi can be savoury and sweet, small and giant and the recipes depend on the restaurants and people baking pirogi. I’d recommend you to try at least one savoury and one sweet, so you see which one you would prefer.
Blini is a traditional Russian dish, though it resembles French crepes. Russian blini can also vary in sizes and fillings and one of the best chains to try blini in Russia is Teremok (they have 30 different tastes and fillings, you can’t go wrong with so many flavours). The example of Russian savoury blin (singular of blini) – potato mash, beef and gherkins. Or another widespread one: baked cabbage and egg.
Is a traditional Russian / Ukrainian soup made of beetroot and beef? It has a very particular taste, and it’s tough to confuse it with something else. I’m not the biggest fan of beetroot, that’s why I don’t love this soup, but all my non-Russian friends and relatives love it (so this could be a problem with me :D).
Pelmeni is traditional Russian dumplings that somewhat resemble the Chinese dumplings, but I like the Russian ones way more. Pelmeni are the ones that are similar to Polish pierogi, but Russian pelmeni is more strict regarding the shape and the filling.
Kvas is a traditional Russian drink made of bread. It has a very particular taste and has 0.03% per cent of alcohol. Most of the non-Russian people don’t like this Russian drink, but you never know, you might actually love it! Just in case you’re interested, I like it a lot, so it’s definitely worth giving a try.
7. “Herring under a fur coat” or “Herring in the Shuba coat.”
This dish has many names in English just because of the translation that could be confusing. The Shuba coat means fur coat. This is a layered salad, the lowest layer of which is actuary herring, the fish. And all that is on top of it is described as a “fur coat’. The traditional “Herring under a fur coat” salad consists of herring, mayo, beetroot, eggs, potatoes, onions and sometimes even apples! Nonetheless, it’s delicious.
8. Russian salo with Paprika
Russian salo is basically smoked and salted fat that somewhat resembles cured bacon. However, it has a lovely taste, and it’s a unique Russian dish, which is worth trying. It goes well with a shot of Russian vodka and some rye bread, so give it a try.
9. Beef cutlets with buckwheat and pickles
If you’re interested what do Russians eat in everyday life, that would be the perfect example? Beef cutlets with buckwheat and pickles is a healthy and tasty dish that is somewhat simple (well, Russian food is usually not that elaborated).
10. Honey Cake Medovik
Honey cake or “Medovik” is amazing! It’s the highlight of Russian food and one of my favourite Russian dishes in the entire world. It’s not too sweet, but it’s very “juicy” if you can describe a cake as juicy at all. Other Russian cakes to try: Napoleon and Smetannik.
Read my post about 12+ desserts to try in Russia >>>
Are you interested in more posts about Russia? I have many!
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