7 Russian Dishes Worth Celebrating

Julia Lipnitskaia, Russian figure skater. Photo by David W. Carmichael. Gold medal winner Stefan Groothuis during his race. Photo by M. Smelter.

Julia Lipnitskaia, Russian figure skater. Photo by David W. Carmichael. Gold medal winner Stefan Groothuis, Dutch speed skater, during his race. Photo by M. Smelter.

Frankly, I’m embarrassed by the press’ coverage of the Olympics – it feels like the popular kids ganging up on the ‘outsiders’. While I don’t expect everything in the press to be all to be sunshine and rainbows, mean-spirited articles and blog posts whose primary goal has been to “poke fun” of the culture and people is a failure – a total disregard for the true purpose of the Olympics.

We deserve more. They deserve better.

The Olympics are a time to step up and celebrate each other – our athletes, our talents, that thing called dreams realized.  I recently read a fairly negative article about the food in Sochi, with interviewees calling their food experiences “bland” and “different” (citing the pervasiveness of cow tongue on the restaurant menus as a negative), with “McDonald’s as a best friend”. To be fair, the author did come around by the end of the article and cite a few decent meal reviews.

Still, the time has come: someone needs to focus on the good.

Let’s be real: it is all too easy to rely on McDonald’s while traveling.

It’s safe. Familiar. But what would travel be like if we decided that relying on the familiar is not an option? After all, going to places we’re already know only keeps us from the real food at our fingertips – food we might otherwise grow to love.

I challenge anyone who thinks the food of Russia is “bland” to try it again.


Here are 7 foods beloved in Russia that you’ll love, too. 


1. Caviar & Creamy Eggs

The salty pop of caviar over creamy eggs is an unforgettable experience. Even if you’re not keen on caviar, you’ll love how the eggs are made – it’s a revelation! (Recipe).


2. Oladyi

Plump oladyi is the way to wake up, Russian-style. When they’re made with the sweet smack of pumpkin? Ah-mazing. (Recipe)

3. Olivier Salad

This is the best potato salad you’ve never had, including ham, carrots, peas, gherkins, and hard-boiled eggs. Far from bland, this is a meal in one! (Recipe)

4. Vinagret

Or maybe you’d prefer to sample the other best potato salad you’ve never had – Vinagret, complete with sauerkraut and very pink beets (also a big deal in Ukraine). (Recipe)


5. Stuffed Quince

Uh-oh, stuffed Quince with honey and nuts… talk about a classy and unusual dessert! We tried this for Uzbekistan, but it’s also common in Russia. Game over. (Recipe)


6. Stuffed Cabbage

Stuffed cabbage? Hello. Love. We tried this amazing variation for Romania (Recipe)

7. Russian Tea

I challenge you to contemplate all this goodness with your very own cup of tea.

P.S. I bet you’ve never had tea with jam in it.  That’s pretty nifty, and it’s totally Russian. I dare you to try it. (Recipe)

P.P.S. I know, I know. You’re probably wondering where the borscht is. We made a version when we cooked Belarus. It’s a bit different from the Russian version, but since you insist, here ya go! (Recipe) And a slice of homemade rye to go with it, too. (Recipe)

There’s just a few days left to the Olympics.

Let’s get back in the spirit of things. I challenge you to make some yummy Russian food in honor of the athletes. Share pictures or leave us a happy, positive message in the comments, on our FB wall, Pinterest, or Twitter with #RussiaTastesGood. I’ll retweet and share when possible!






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