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Bizarre Russian Foods

herring

Remember my post about the Ukrainian market? I wrote there that I love food and my position hasn't changed. In America, we're getting ready to enter the most delicious time of year. We'll celebrate Christmas in less than two weeks. For my family, this means big gatherings and feasts. I can't really say I love Russian food. During my visits I tried some local cuisine, but didn't like most of it. I'm a very picky eater, not liking fish, seafood or a lot of meat. Recently on a popular U.S. website there was an article entitled "17 Bizarre Foods Every Russian Grew Up With." Maybe you'll find it amusing. I picked the most interesting dishes from the list and I've tasted a lot of the items. For me, the most disgusting delicacies are all the food molds stuffed with meats, herring and other treats. Like this photo, where the dish is called "herring under fur coat." :)

1. Olivye salad. I tasted this last New Year's eve. I don't like mayonnaise, so I can't eat it. I never put dressing on anything, or even ketchup, mustard or other condiments. I eat most things plain.

olivye

2. Salo. I think this is now more closely associated with Ukraine. I tasted it in Kyiv - ah, chewy fat! Not to my liking. I eat a lot of chicken and steak and all fat must be trimmed. I know some people enjoy this part of the meat but it gags me.

salo

3. Kvas. You can easily find this in America, but the taste is too strong for me. During my recent trip to Russia, I tasted birch beer for the first time. Delicious and lighter!

kvas

4. Kompot. This drink I really like! I've had it in several Russian cafes, including Cafe Mu-Mu where I tasted it for the first time. Similar to American fruit punch, but more tasty with the real fruit thrown in.

kompot

5. Varenyky. Is this common in modern day Russia? I remember it being the national dish in Ukraine, available everywhere with a wide variety of stuffing like meat, potatoes and sweet fruits.

varenyky

6. Kishka. Never tasted it and there's too much meat involved!! I doubt I would like it. Maybe I'll be brave next time and take a bite.

kishka

7. Blini w/Caviar. I can't eat it though I tried during a New Year's eve celebration last year with a Russian family. Too salty, and I don't like the strong fishy taste.

blini

8. Kholodets. This is the most interesting dish! I remember at the holidays seeing all kinds of creative molds made out of swans, birds, animals, etc. Very strange and funny. :) During Valentine's Day, maybe they produce heart shaped molds? I also ate a version of this at Cafe Mu-Mu and didn't like it. The jelly texture is odd and the minced meat wasn't very good quality.

4ef951d20f53

9. Herring, mayo and pickle sandwich. When we were completely drunk at the seedy St. Petersburg vodka bar, the guys tried to get me to eat this as a snack. I refused and ate cheese and crackers instead. This thick brown bread would have been much better to soak up the poison!! Perhaps this is why I needed help walking home at the end of the night! :) Pickles - I hate this food more than any other!

herring, mayo

10. No words for this photo! :))

canned herring

11. In Russia, I'm completely addicted to the sweets and candies. This is my favorite. Each time I visit, my host always has a bunch in the refrigerator and I eat these bars daily. Delicious!

bar

What's your favorite national dish?

Also, I wonder whether it's interesting to readers if I write about how an average American family celebrates Thanksgiving and Christmas? I can take photos and write about my family celebrations if it's an interesting topic? What do you think? Vote below please.


Comments

( 305 comments — Leave a comment )
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real_marsel
Nov. 13th, 2013 04:25 pm (UTC)
Do you know something about first picture dish?
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 04:26 pm (UTC)
No, I didn't try it? Explain it. :)
(no subject) - real_marsel - Nov. 13th, 2013 04:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 13th, 2013 04:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - real_marsel - Nov. 13th, 2013 04:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - atlantis555 - Nov. 13th, 2013 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - modest_so_zvezd - Nov. 13th, 2013 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - modest_so_zvezd - Nov. 13th, 2013 04:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - matildabolihina - Nov. 16th, 2013 09:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
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atlantis555
Nov. 13th, 2013 04:44 pm (UTC)
Оссподя, как уже достали эти иностранцы обсуждать холодец, сало и под шубой. Не жареные кузнечики с лягушками и то гут...
real_marsel
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
Как легко тебя достать, однако.
(no subject) - atlantis555 - Nov. 13th, 2013 06:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - real_marsel - Nov. 13th, 2013 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - real_marsel - Nov. 13th, 2013 08:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Nov. 13th, 2013 09:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
moebiuscat
Nov. 13th, 2013 04:45 pm (UTC)
M-m-m... I like "herring under a fur coat" and "holodetz" and Olivier salad which is a traditional dish at New Year's eve celebrations - this is a name of a french-born restaurant owner who invented this salad. Legend says that he actually took leftovers from other dishes he prepared for the high-born and threw them together as a salad to feed their valets and carriage drivers. But the fact is that original Olivier salad was much different from what it is now - in soviet times some more exotic ingredients were replaced with more mundane ones.

Like all dishes with mayonnaise and meat etc. they have to be prepared right. They are very easy to ruin. As a rule - you should only eat them at someone's home. I won't ever order them at a restaurant.

Vareniki and Pelmeni (same but with minced meat) are really nice and popular. Great solution when you need something fast. You keep them frozen and just boil for 12 min. and you have a dinner.

Blini w/Caviar (or without) are a treat when my mom makes them :-) You can eat bliny with anything sweet, also with smoked salmon, grated cheese, and of course with caviar if you like it (I do).

I don't like marinated herring, but I love low-salted herring. Hard to find in North America I guess.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC)
Blini w/grated cheese - this sounds tasty! I would like it. I didn't know the history of the salad, thanks. Salted herring can easily be found in specialty shops in America. There are Russian stores in most major cities that will sell all these foods. Such stores aren't in Canada?
(no subject) - moebiuscat - Nov. 13th, 2013 05:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 13th, 2013 06:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - moebiuscat - Nov. 13th, 2013 06:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Nov. 13th, 2013 09:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - notabler - Dec. 30th, 2013 05:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
nao_sim
Nov. 13th, 2013 04:48 pm (UTC)
I love them all. Except # 10 I guess. I eat a lot of #2 even here, in Saint-Petersburg. Though #2 is not a tipical dish here in a big city. The explanation is that I have belorussian grandparents who lived in a village when I was a child.
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
St. Petersburg is an amazing city! I love it and remember my visit there fondly. I hope I can return this winter.
(no subject) - nao_sim - Nov. 13th, 2013 05:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 13th, 2013 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nao_sim - Nov. 17th, 2013 10:34 am (UTC) - Expand
barabaan
Nov. 13th, 2013 04:53 pm (UTC)
burgers, cheescakes, coca-cola.... oh no, im russian, so vodka, burgers with fresh meet of polar bears, and napoleon tart!
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
I rarely eat burgers, never drink Coca-Cola and hate hot dogs! Hmmm, am I really an American? :))
(no subject) - barabaan - Nov. 13th, 2013 05:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 13th, 2013 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
yarowind
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:09 pm (UTC)
All what you shown - all very tasty :))
My wife makes a great kholodets and herring under a fur coat :)
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:12 pm (UTC)
She makes the kholodets with designs like swans, or plain? The decorative ones are nice to look at. :)
(no subject) - yarowind - Nov. 13th, 2013 05:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vasha_masha - Nov. 13th, 2013 05:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
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skifa
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC)
Ok, sweet potatoes, tacos and burritos (well, not exactly american :), pumpkin pie were not in my "like" list when I first came to the States. But I grew to like them :)
I made olivye salad and borscht for Christmas for my american friends once and to their surprise they liked it :) So, all one has to do is try.
I know an american guy who was on an one-year internship in my town. His wife was Russian, but he would not eat anything from Russian cuisine. I still wonder how he ever managed to survive :)

peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:19 pm (UTC)
Sweet potatoes w/brown sugar and marshmallows, pumpkin pie...these dishes are always served at my family's Thanksgiving meal. :) Another thing I noticed about Russian food is that a lot of it is served cold. In America, we eat mostly warm dishes. I forgot to mention that I like Russian soups. I had a very tasty one that was cheesy and mixed with some type of liquor. I don't remember the name.
(no subject) - skifa - Nov. 13th, 2013 05:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
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gella_key
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:29 pm (UTC)
That awful "kishka" isn't really a traditional Russian food, never saw it on the table, perhaps only in Soviet times we had something like that, what was called "liver sausage", it was very cheap, a kind of food for the poor, we fed our dog with it. Most of Russian definately like herring salad under fur coat and Olivier, of course... Although I'm a vegetarian, I still eat that salad, I only make it without meat or sousage.
qtk
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
In kishka not liver. Probably potatoes with salo.
(no subject) - gella_key - Nov. 13th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 13th, 2013 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - qtk - Nov. 13th, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
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qtk
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:41 pm (UTC)
9. It not food. It's horror. It's "nyamka". Complete antithesis of high cookery. The culinary idiot prepares the such.
8. Kholodets. In cafe do a forgery. Weak broth, water, dye, gelatin, bad meat, chemical fragrance.The real kholodets prepare from hind leg (golyonka) and tail. Cook many time with spices. All cartilages are dissolved. Fat clean. Meat becomes very soft. Jelly stiffens without gelatin.

Edited at 2013-11-13 05:42 pm (UTC)
vasha_masha
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:55 pm (UTC)
8+ Употреблять обязательно с горчицей, настоящей (горчичный порошок , залитый острым рассолом от огурцов).
(no subject) - qtk - Nov. 13th, 2013 05:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - vasha_masha - Nov. 14th, 2013 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 13th, 2013 06:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 14th, 2013 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - real_marsel - Nov. 13th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
kholodets is a memory of boullion - steelbear - Dec. 12th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: kholodets is a memory of boullion - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 12th, 2013 10:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: kholodets is a memory of boullion - steelbear - Dec. 13th, 2013 06:44 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: kholodets is a memory of boullion - peacetraveler22 - Dec. 14th, 2013 02:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: kholodets is a memory of boullion - steelbear - Dec. 14th, 2013 08:00 am (UTC) - Expand
sergechel
Nov. 13th, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
most popular russian food is pelmeni
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:00 pm (UTC)
I ate a shitty version of this in a St. Petersburg restaurant, but I didn't like the meat inside. It would have been better for me if it was stuffed w/vegetables. Not sure if this is an option? But the cream on top was good!
(no subject) - qtk - Nov. 13th, 2013 06:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Alex Winter
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:04 pm (UTC)
Селёдку под шубой я бы щас навернул
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:24 pm (UTC)
You're in my area right? In Maryland? Finally some cool weather here. :)
(no subject) - Alex Winter - Nov. 13th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 13th, 2013 08:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
Your palate is suited for Russian foods! I don't need all these fatty foods to keep me warm. I actually almost never get cold. In winter, I don't even wear a coat. The whole time I was in Russia in February I never once felt frozen, even though I was only wearing a light coat. Something strange with my body that I'm always warm so I like cold temperatures. This is why I love Russian winter. :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Nov. 13th, 2013 06:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
jack_cracker29
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:34 pm (UTC)

I was eating my lunch salad when I came across this.
I remember some of this stuff never mind the names but it all looks so jelly fish like (top pix) and then reading about the furry herring(?!) whatever that might be and the toothy monster in a can… my lunch was about to come back out.
I ate a lot of the only thing you have on there, the blini, in most cases it was skinny crepes with caviar. I had to have it at every street vendor when in Moscow. And it was like 50cents or a $1, a while back.
Where is the borscht soup? That another thing my back when Russian girlfriend treated me to. First she made it on beef stock that she made herself and it was disgusting but veggy one was passable just too much cabbage.
There are good things in Russian cuisine we’re just not used to it.
Eating in exotic places is always a challenge. After college, being jobless and not sure what to do I travelled to Europe and spent a week or so in Egypt, my uncle’s friend was working for USAID there. I was mostly in Cairo, Suez and historic sites around it, Saqqara etc After traveling on their roads and seeing what passes for roadkill there, camels, I was in no mood for any meats… I ate pasta for entire week even in nice hotels in Ma’adi area. Only other thing I had was untreated raw dates straight from palm trees they grow on, huge tasty things you have a dozen or so and it could be yr lunch.
If pix.1 is a potato salad w/mayo it’s not so bad just not worth the calories…
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
"Toothy monster." :)) Yes, it's the most disgusting photo. The cuisine is so different from our typical food. Re road kill, have you been to West Virginia? There it's a delicacy as well, especially evil squirrels. :) Btw, maybe you could find a new Russian love here - http://www.sadanduseless.com/2013/11/russian-dating-sites/. Did you see this?
(no subject) - jack_cracker29 - Nov. 13th, 2013 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
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pyenot
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
Kholodets is super! Only with gorchtsa!
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
I didn't know what "gorchtsa" is, so I looked it up. Similar to American mustard but stronger in taste.
(no subject) - notabler - Dec. 30th, 2013 05:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
inamora
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
I adore Blini w/Caviar. Usually I make blini by myself almost every morning.
And Olivye salad I like on New Year Party )))
peacetraveler22
Nov. 13th, 2013 06:53 pm (UTC)
Caviar for breakfast? You're so high class! :)) Or, you eat it with something else?
(no subject) - inamora - Nov. 13th, 2013 07:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
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