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24 августа 2019

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As we know, there is no companion for the taste and color. When it comes to traditional national dishes of a country, the opinions of gourmets sometimes radically differ. Russia was no exception: some locals enthusiastically follow old recipes at home and choose the best Russian cuisine restaurants in Moscow, while someone, on the contrary, prefers trendy foreign news at numerous grocery stores, exotic combinations, or at least proven hits of Mediterranean cuisine.

Recently, we talked with travelers from around the world about what they associate with the cuisine of the European part of Russia. Almost everyone called dumplings, borsch and pancakes among their favorites. Indeed, many and many others liked these and other dishes of Russian cuisine due to their serving and portion sizes: hearty, mouth-watering, fragrant, they fit perfectly into home gatherings or a friendly dinner in a restaurant, especially in cold winter weather, when you want to warm up and recharge your batteries.

It is surprising that among many foreigners our favorite delicacies cause frank surprise and suspicion. For example, in Latin America, red caviar, being an exquisite delicacy in the highest circles of society, reminds the majority of too salted salmon and has nothing to do with the taste preferences of local peoples — they definitely will not be spoons in those parts.

Many do not accept Russian salads, richly flavored with mayonnaise. If Olivier has already become an official Russian salad and is sold ready-made abroad in supermarkets, then for a salad or exotic “Herring under a fur coat” or “Mimosa” that is still popular at New Year’s feasts, it’s still exotic for Russia (and such familiar to us) look with disbelief.

In addition, the high calorie content and the abundance of canned and boiled ingredients contradicts the main principles of the same Mediterranean cuisine, where everything is served as fresh and natural as possible. Indeed, not all Russian dishes are useful for a slim figure, and given local hospitality and the desire to feed guests, even if they looked at tea for 5 minutes, forget about a taxi and get ready to actively visit the main attractions so as not to gain extra pounds.

It became interesting to us: what popular Russian goodies do foreign tourists consider the most original and unusual? Having made a trip to the culinary traditions of Russia, we present to your attention a list of the most unusual dishes of Russian cuisine — through the eyes of travelers from different parts of our planet.

Okroshka

It is worth recognizing: even among the Russians themselves, this dish causes endless debate. Kefir or kvass? What is the best way to serve such a soup and which products are included in the classic recipe? Perhaps every Russian family has its own answer to these questions.

Okroshka is a cold soup, much more intricate and bizarre than the same Spanish gazpacho. Initially, okroshka was mentioned in the texts of the XVIII century, which testifies to the centuries-old traditions of cooking this dish. As integral ingredients, finely chopped vegetables with the addition of pickles are used, as well as a base in the form of meat, chicken or even fish (however, modern variations are also found with pieces of doctor’s sausage).

Whatever the final composition, the main principle of preparation remains unchanged: mix all the finely chopped ingredients, pour with special kvass (and let it brew for at least half an hour) and eat it cold, seasoning it with spicy greens and thick rustic sour cream to taste. This soup is ideal for hot summer days and feasts somewhere outside the city at the cottage, while remaining a satisfying first course, which can be prepared quickly and relatively inexpensively.

What is curious, in addition to kvass (which is new to many foreign guests) as a liquid base of soup, various dairy products are used in everyday life, including ayran or even yogurt, mineral water or kombucha (another mysterious foreign tourists product), cucumber pickle or beer. In search of that very okroshka, we advise you to try it in several restaurants in Moscow and compare your impressions, and if you are still inclined to more familiar combinations, choose soup, soup, soup or borsch — the classic of Russian cuisine will definitely not leave you hungry and indifferent.

Stroganina

Originally from the northern part of the country and Siberian regions, this winter dish reminds of the vast expanses of our Motherland, its wildlife and the generosity of local resources. Stroganina, common in Russia for more than four centuries, has become the hallmark of Yakutia and is popular among the Eskimos and Komi peoples.

Stroganina is, in fact, frozen meat or fish, cut into thin chips. However, this seemingly simple dish requires a lot of attention when choosing ingredients and during harvesting. Craftsmanship and a special sharp knife (preferably made by local Yakut masters) complement venison or properly caught fish of special breeds, preferably nelmu, sturgeon, omul. The whole process is similar to a special Arctic ritual, in the heart of which is a tribute to nature, the power of local frosts and the secrets of several generations.

If you have not been to Siberia yet, but have already planned a trip to Moscow, be sure to take the time to local traditions and traditional Russian recipes and order the stroganina in a classic serving as an original snack before the main dishes in one of the capital’s restaurants. Small portions allow you to try different types of sliced ​​planer, dipping the thinnest slices in seasoning from a mixture of sea salt and black pepper — a simple, but at the same time successfully emphasizing the taste of this original dish from the harsh northern edges. For true gourmets, we also recommend discovering unusual types of meat, for example, bear or elk meat.

Aspic jellied

Is jelly not a fruit and berry dessert, but a full-fledged meat dish? In Russia — yes, it definitely happens. Many travelers do not believe their eyes when they see jellied meat in the menu (in some regions — jelly), which confuses its composition and method of preparation. Meat broth gelatin garnish is especially popular in winter; Russian housewives cook it for at least 6-8 hours, adding onions, carrots, peppers, bay leaves and herbs, and then lay it in layers and cool, coming up with unusual decorations and geometric shapes when serving.

Jellied meat is prepared from various types of meat (beef, chicken, or pork — and sometimes from three types of meat at once) or fish for important ceremonial events, whether it is a birthday or a public holiday. If you come to visit an ordinary Russian family for a traditional home dinner, the jelly will be an indispensable participant in the festive table, and horseradish or mustard is considered the best addition to it. We agree that the texture and presentation of the dish are quite specific, but out of interest we advise you to definitely try this “riddle of the Russian soul” — and share your impressions with relatives and friends.

Buckwheat

A record holder in protein and energy value, buckwheat has not gained wide popularity outside the countries of the former USSR. But in vain: the “queen of cereals” is rich in iron and serves as an excellent side dish, as well as an independent dish with the addition of meat, onions or vegetables. It is interesting that buckwheat is also served in a sweet form — with sugar, milk or honey — which makes it a universal product, while being healthy and economical for the traveler’s budget.

If you look closely, buckwheat can be found not only in Russia and the CIS countries, and in combinations quite unusual for Russian housewives. For example, in Asia, baked buns or make noodles from buckwheat flour, thin pancakes with various hearty fillings are prepared in the north of France, “Greek” cutlets are made in Poland, and in Israel they are included in kosher cuisine. You can find a variety of serving options when traveling around Moscow, where buckwheat in recent years has taken a worthy place in the menu in the Russian style. Moreover, many restaurants offer to taste buckwheat, buckwheat risotto, which combines Russian and Italian cuisine.

And what popular Russian dishes are the most unusual in your opinion? What Russian cuisine have you already tried, and what are you planning to try on your upcoming trip? Share with us in the comments!

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