Food in Russia: what's hot in a cold country
So today I’m going to talk about dishes from different cuisines that happened to please Russian palate. Note that those aren’t dishes that were adopted to Russian cuisine and are even considered Russian now (like for example shashlik – kebab-like dish from the Caucasus).
Here they are in a random order:
Although sushi boom is now over, it still remains popular – probably the most popular dish from Asia. You can even find a boxes of sushi in the regular shops. Unfortunately not all of these sushi are of a good quality. Cheap kind of rice is often used instead of Japanese rice and good amount of vinegar can mask taste really good. Pickled ginger that is served with sushi is very popular too and sometimes eaten on its own.
2. Shawarma (Arab countries)
We got to know shawarma long before sushis. It is usually sold in a street stalls and you can see a big spit with a lot of meat which is cut with a knife and wrapped in a flatbread. Many peope like it, but some are concerned about hygiene. Also, we don’t have all that fancy topping, so it’s usually served with chopped tomato, cucumber and possibly onion and mayo or sour cream as a sauce.
Funny fact: in Moscow, they call it “sha-oorma”, but here in Saint-Petersburg it’s “sha-ver-ma”.
3. Strudel (Germany/Austria)
In Russia strudel can be made with different dough (filo, puffy etc.) and also different fillings, sweet ones as well as savory (like spinach and mushrooms). You can have it at cafes or sometimes even in shops. Because filo dough is basically a flour, some water and a bit of oil and filling are very verstaile, strudels are often a part of vegetarian menu or menu for Lent.
4. Horiatiki/Greek Salad
Like sushi, it boomed some years ago, but it’s still very popular now, especially when local vegetables are in season. Usually cheaper and lower quality olives are used.
5. Burgers (USA)
Obviously. We have a lot of burger places and chain restaurants like Mickey D, Burger King, Carls Jr. and many others. Some places also try to create their own fancy burgers (like vegetarian ones, burgers with special dressings etc.).
6. Pizza (Italy)
Like burgers, pizza is very popular here, although it is probably made very differently from Italian ones. Sometimes they use mayo, and I’m not even kidding! There are two crust options, thin or thick, and many topping combinations, some classical, others invented in Russia. The cheapest have a little of everything – tomato sauce, ham/kielbasa/bacon and possibly mushrooms.
7. Creamy salmon soup (Finland)
Ok, may be it’s more Saint-Petersburg thing (the city is very close to the Finnish border), but it’s pretty popular here! Not as popular as pizza or burgers, of course, but still. For those of you who don’t know about this dish, it’s a soup made with potatoes (and possibly carrots), salmon or trout and cream. Delicious and especially good at winter.