1. Borscht / Борщ
Borscht is a beetroot soup, very popular in Russia. Normally it is prepared with meat, but some restaurants offer a vegetarian option. Traditionally borscht is served with sour cream, which makes the soup look pink. Many Russians like to eat it with garlic, bread and a thin slice of pig fat. Just a warning, so you don’t confuse it with butter or anything else.
2. Okroshka / Окрошка
Okroshka is more of a summer soup as it is served cold.
It is a mixture of cucumbers, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, dill, and spring onions, which is mixed with kvass or kefir.
Kvass is a traditional Russian drink made of rye bread, somewhat like a non-alcoholic beer, but not quite the same.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that tastes a bit like yogurt.
So Okroshka is basically a salad combined with one of those two beverages. Sounds weird? It tastes weird as well, but at least it would be a new food experience for those who already tried borscht and pelmeni.
3. Pelmeni / Пельмени
Pelmeni, little dumplings stuffed with meat, are super popular with Russians. You can easily buy frozen ones in every supermarket and it takes only 5 minutes to cook them, which makes it the best food for students and bachelors who live alone.
If you want to try pelmeni, choose the ones with mushrooms or mashed potatoes instead of meat. However, some people argue that pelmeni without meat have another name – Vareniki.
4. Vareniki / Вареники
Vareniki are also dumplings that can be savory or sweet depending on the filling. It can be stuffed with mashed potatoes, cabbage, cottage cheese or berries.
5. Blini / Блины
Blini is another traditional dish with a variety of toppings. Basically, blini are flat thin pancakes that resemble French crepes.
Blini taste great with butter or sour cream, condensed milk or varenje (Russian jam). If you prefer something savory, try them with mushrooms or cheese.
6. Potatoes Fried with Lisichki Mushrooms/ Картошка с лисичками
Talking about mushrooms, Russians often use wildly grown mushrooms in cooking rather than champignons. Lisichki are little yellow mushrooms with a rich flavor, they go perfectly with fried potatoes. This seasonal dish is a must try if you are in Saint Petersburg during Summer or early Autumn.
7. Draniki / Драники
Another potato dish popular in Russia and Belarus is draniki. Draniki are thick pancakes made of finely grated potatoes. Traditionally they are served with sour cream.
8. Buckwheat / Греча
Buckwheat groats is a super simple and healthy food as it is rich in fiber, as well as a variety of antioxidants and other nutrients. Buckwheat is commonly used in Russia as a side dish.
9. Golubtsi / Голубцы
Another vegetarian dish is golubtsi, cabbage rolls, where meat can be substituted with rice, mushrooms and carrots.
10. Vinegret / Винегрет
Vinegret is a traditional Russian salad. It is made of boiled beets, potatoes, and carrots combined with diced pickles, onion and green pies. The vegetables are dressed with oil.
11. Solenja / Соленья
Various pickles, called solenja, are well-spread in Russia. Traditionally they are homemade, and every family has their own recipes. Nowadays you can easily buy them in shops or order in restaurants. You can ask for a Solenja platter in a restaurant, so you can try everything: pickles, sauerkraut, wild leek, Georgian cabbage, mild-cured tomatoes and brined garlic. Russians usually order this dish as a snack that goes wellwith vodka.
12. Pirozhki / Пирожки
(‘Pirozhok’ in singular form)
These are small pies stuffed with different fillings. It’s like ‘empanadas’ in the Spanish-speaking countries. Vegetarian pirozhki can be filled with potato, cottage cheese, cabbage, cheese and spinach, berries or fruits.
Traditionally made at home by your grandmother, nowadays is a popular street food, as it is easy to eat on the way.