109 thoughts on “Modern Russian Cuisine: The Starters”

    • Ageed. The last photo is especially funny, using the bottle cap as an ashtray, meaning the whole bottle will be drunk. LOL

    • What you meant to say was, “As an American who knows NOTHING about Russia, and has NEVER been there…” ______ This site is a farce. It plays on your stereotypes about Russia to tell you want you WANT to hear in a pathetic way to try to make you feel better about living in the US. I tell you this as an American who actually has lived in both the US and Russia for years.

      • yeah, as someone who was born and raised in Russia and then moved to America. I find this site incredibly funny, and your lack of a sense of humor very sad and quite stereotypically Russianesq… I’m sorry that you didn’t find it funny, but stop making us Russians look bad by making those comments. What does it matter to you if Americans find this site funny? Are you that self conscious that you care if people start stereotyping you? Prove them wrong then, or shut the hell up and either get off the site or find a sense of humor.

  1. I like the vodka and pickles with the bread. But I also see some cheese, what kind of cheese is that??

    Greetings from the Netherlands

      • Quite the opposite. In the People’s Republic of Poland it was quite the same. The only thing you could get on short notice was vinegar.

        Nice set of photos. I sure could go for those cancers with beer.

        • It was the same in USSR… as from 1988-89. Before that time I do not remember anything like that. Of course there was not such assortment as nowadays, but at least 8 sorts of cheese.

          • About the cheese in soviet union is true, there was much decent cheese, and all natural without processed cheeses.

            All the product was indeed natural.

            I’ll tell you about freedom in soviet union: When we went to store, we could buy one type of milk, one type of butter, one type of bread, all good, and because we had not to choose from different factories, it was in and out of stores, fast.

            Plenty of free time rather than shopping for favorite box package design.

            • Well of course it is a matter of taste, but when I started to eat bread which was freshly baked every morning by a baker, [not from a factory like in Moscow] the Russian bread all of a sudden seemed very dry and hard to digest. The same with cheese, nowadays you have Russian imitations of the Dutch Gouda cheese, but the original Russian cheese reminded me of American and British cheese: very young, little taste… What I liked about the Dutch cheese were the aged variants in particular. And all natural too, i once got a tour around the factory so I could see it with my own eyes…

              • Apparently, this is really a matter of taste… What I can tell, when our busines partners come from Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy they always ask us to cook for coffee-breaks some sandwitches with Russian rye bread. They are really crazy about it (in good meaning).

                Quite possible that some bakeries bake perfect bread somwhere but in general I’d not recomend you to eat bread baked by private Russian bakeries, as it is mostly terrible. As concerns big factories, at least, in StPet they (not all but some of them) bake very good bread.

                Nowadays in Russia ther’s a lot of various sorts of cheese, mostly imported. If you buy, say, Gouda you never know where it is produced… it can be Estonia, Lithuania, Argentina, Netherlands… As concerns aged sorts, of course, this is already something specific same as e.g. blue cheese.

              • Try Ukrainian bread for once, its considered the best bread of Soviet Russia. Maybe the rest of the world just didn’t find out yet.

  2. I might have to try some of these, first stop, the bottle shop! Love that bottle with the twine wrapping also. An appealing presentation of the photos and lighting.

      • Yes, sounds similar. It is usually made out of grapes, but can be from plums, peaches, pears, almost all fruit. 😉

        • Oh, yes!

          I remember your Prvijenac and Monastyrska Slivovica (sorry if the spelling is wrong, I don’t remember exactly but hopefully you will understand me). These drinks are PERFECT!

            • Depends on how you dilute it… 😉
              Slivovica is still popular in Czech and Moravian countryside, but disappeared altogether from bigger towns/cities.
              My father still keeps a 100+ years old plum orchard and the “raw” product he brings from the distillery is 67 – 70 %. It can be used as an antifreeze or rocket fuel, but it is absolutely unsuitable for drinking.
              We dilute it down to 50, max. 55 %.
              However, my favorite distillate is that made from apricots…

              • Of course, we do the same with our double destiled plum brandy here in Serbia (this kind of šljivovica iz called prepečenica). Or else it would be too strong for drinking. 🙂
                By the way, in the past few years, I’ve noticed that many products destined for European Union market have exactly 40 % (by volume) alcohol content. Is it some EU regulation? No matter if it is šljivovica, vodka or something else, it is 40 %. For example, Gordon’s gin contains 45 % of alcohol for other markets, but 40 % in Europe.

                • I think (but I am not absolutely sure) that the reason is the taxation, which is progressively increasing with the alcohol content. You can still buy stronger booze (right now, I can think of French Ricard 45 %, or Austrian Stroh 60 %) but the price difference compared to under-40% distillates is quite big.

      • Russian beer is the best in the world. I was raised in the Cincinnati Ohio (USA) area, and the best beer in the country is brewed there. Russian beer is superior, even to German bier. NEVER thought I’d say that. My favorite snacks are Russian……. Baltika, small, hard dried fish, raw bacon on Russian rye bread, pickle, onion and cheese!


  3. I think that Nemiroff is Ukrainian vodka. Nemiroff with honey and peppers is great! 🙂

    Finlandia is not Russian too. 🙂

    • Anyone knows if there is still a posibilty to buy this very nice kind of vodka: Chlibnyi Dar? I only drank it once and it was very good, but now I cannot get it…

  4. My ex-girlfriend has given me Putinka “limited edition” which is very nice. About the cheese, there is not especially a Russian cheese i guess?
    I heard beer is upcomming in Russia, I suggest to drink Heineken. 😉

    • I suggest everything except Heineken. The preservatives will give you a severe headache. Grolsch, if you want to go Dutch. Or Alfa… even better.

      Baltica, the Russian stuff – did you know that the darker variant are filtered with asbestos ? Bon appetit !

    • Heineken wanted to be Becks when it grew up. It just never grew up. Pilsnered lagers are okay, but I like ales much better. Of course, we Americans mostly prefer watered-down lager “lite” beers, but once you go bitter, you never go back!

  5. Finlandia and Koskenkorva are from Finland. But hay, Finns and Russians are pals, so both are drinking vodkas from the neighbour. So its actually correct, Koskenkorva and Finlandia are quite normal in the Russian table.

  6. this definitely Ukraine and photoshop. and yes, i’m first.

    Back to the subjects – the pics are nice, though they tell nothing about Russian cuisine, just show some of the Vodka drinking culture.

  7. Russian appetizers:

    VODKA and:

  8. these pics just made me hungry
    i think ill break out the sardines
    russian food looks tastey

    now you guys should put up the fancy pics of the russian meal

  9. Forget the starters!

    Bring on the meat!

    Beshbarmak?!?! (wait the last one is Kazakh…)

    I’m hungry now for some former Soviet Union FOOD ITEMS!

  10. Why nobody has seen the wood? I wood like a nice fresh piece of wood with some lamp oil please!

    I love Russias food!!!

    • for most people, the drink is consumed first followed by the food. There really isn’t a wrong or a right way, it just depends on your preference.

    • In Russia it’s considered wrong to drink without eating anything; it’s perhaps a sign of alcoholism. A Russian wife would be concered if her man sat at the table with nothing bot a bottle of Vodka, so Russian men have acquired the habit of consuming pickles or some other small snack along with the bottle of vodka. You generally down the shot of vodka first and then take a small bite off the pickle, in that order. But the more macho a guy is the more shots he can down between bites. Not every man needs so much food with his drink; some can hold their liquor better than others.

  11. What is the name of that delicious-looking brown bread? And can you please post a recipe for it?

    And what is the name of the dry sausage?

  12. Nice photos and many memories. I am living in Lithuania and it is indeed maybe 15 years since I saw vodka and pickles together. I recall 1990-91 when vodka almost was the only product one almost every day could find for sale in shops. Sad, but about 50% of all Soviet men were said to be alcoholics…

  13. LOL these pictures are great! It seems like a great satire of fine art photography. Thanks for this post, it is sweet.

  14. all good except that KOSKENKORVA is finnish. And did you notice, in example in the first pic the white stuff on the bread, that is slices of fat 🙂

  15. The first picture makes me really hungry. Just in time for lunch! I like those fried pork strips. Here, it is served with rice and some gravy. Crispy crunchy. Mmm mmm.

    The sushi is Japanese, but I think the roe or caviar is Russian. Note the newspaper it’s on too.

  16. I recognized the uncooked, smoked bacon, the kind we knew as “Hungarian Bacon.” My grandfather always had a couple of slabs stashed in a cool, crawl space under the house. Cooking it is awesome- just make sure your vegetarian friends are at least a mile or so away – outside the range of the overwhelming bacon smell. So good. Like it was smoked by the devil himself… I think it’s the real reason the USSR held on to Hungary in 56.
    Here in Chicago, there’s a Russian Specialty Grocery – Bende – that does it right. You can eat it raw, by the way. With fresh onions, bread, alcohol- great summer food.

  17. Great Photos… It is a special form of art, not a food promotion. It is also only for those who understand what it is. But to understand this you have to spend years there, in former USSR. Without it you can’t get the picture. Well done guys! Great Job!

  18. Yes, it is form of art, but also shows a lifestyle of some people. Russians are very nice people, not to mention the ladies…HOT 🙂
    The best Vodka in the world…RUSSIAN!!!

  19. Is that what you call cuisine?
    YUCK!!! everything looks so untasty! not even photoshoping the pics, the food still looks awful. Im thankful to live in Mexico with the best Cuisine EVER!


  20. This is… wonderful.

    and a great compliment to have some finnish beverages with the bunch (though Koskenkorva is usually of bad quality and will freeze when put into freezer). but those images made me hungry.

    Those people talk about sushi, maybe they should check what sushi is. Not necessarily raw fish.

    I love you, keep up the great work

  21. Two things I don’t like about Ukraine: salo and toilets!

    Borsh and sheshlik are great if made correctly. I wish America had beer tents on every corner – especially beer tents that serve sheshlik.

    • That’s “Belomorkanal”, the lowest-level and lowest-priced cigarettes ever.
      Still on sale!
      Mostly used by either poorest people or those who smokes “grass”. It’s quite convenient indeed. So if you look good and policeman in Russia finds this pack in your pocket – get ready for detailed check!

  22. Bro, you’re not totally right using a word “starter”.
    In Russian there is a word “zakuska” which has two meanings:
    1) Starter;
    2) A food that you swallow after a shot of vodka (usually something salted or spicy).
    So here we have second way, I think.
    I just posted it to let everyone know that Russian do not drink vodka as a starter 😉

  23. very funny but some of these photos are actually swiss where bread, cheese and pickles with some kind of aperitif liquor is often eaten as a snack or small meal

  24. Do not realy care if there is a photoshoping.
    This is the ART. This is the Culture.
    Calling to my russkys friends tonight going to the pub YYYYY….

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  29. So beautiful! I could just cry! However, all the liquor stores are shut down for the night in my city and I can’t get a bottle of vodka to go with the brown bread, half-sour pickles, salo, onions, garlic, pickled herring, salmon roe, tomatoes, parsley, canned smoked Latvian sprats and salami in my kitchen! And I have two packs of unfiltered Camels! I AM going to cry!

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