Any trip to another state presupposes acquaintance with the local culture, traditions and, of course, national cuisine. And if Italian pizza, Japanese sushi, Bavarian sausages are known far beyond the borders of their countries, then what about borsch, dumplings, herring under a fur coat and other, primordially Russian dishes? Novate.ru tells how foreigners treat them.
Borscht is usually served with sour cream or mayonnaise. / Photo: mircooking.ru
There is a widespread belief that borscht originated in the Russian Empire, although in fact its homeland is ancient Greece. The locals appreciated beets very much, and therefore called it Beta, like the second letter of their alphabet. Together with cabbage, onions and other vegetables popular in the Mediterranean, beets have taken pride of place in the list of ingredients used to make borscht.
This incredibly tasty dish came to us a little later. Shortly before the beginning of the new era, Roman legionaries settled in the territory of modern Crimea. They brought with them not only Mediterranean vegetables, but also ready-made recipes for dishes, including everyone’s favorite borscht.
Despite its history, borscht is strongly associated not with the Greeks or Romans, but with Ukrainian and Russian cuisine, and is also the most famous dish among foreigners. This is what the American Mary Nelson from the USA says about him: “When I first tasted borscht, I fell in love with it completely and irrevocably. Most of all I was captivated by a kind of “earthy” taste, which people who do not like beet soup call “mud”. And the smell of vinegar, complemented by homemade sour cream, creates an amazing flavor combination. “
Dumplings are often sprinkled with herbs to enhance their flavor. / Photo: gastroferma.ru
If you think that dumplings are prepared only in Russia, then you are greatly mistaken. They are popular with many peoples, but they are all called differently: momo, khinkali, ravioli, manty, wontons. The dish “bread ear” (this is how the word “pelmeni” is translated from the Komi-Udmurt languages) came to Russian cuisine in the 15th century, and since then it has occupied an honorable place on our table.
Pouches of dough with meat or other filling are very popular with foreigners. Many of them admit that they always eat double or triple servings. The most popular variant of dumplings among Russian guests is considered to be a soup dish with a lot of dill and a slice of rye bread.
Dill is the most popular spice in Russia. / Photo: sovet-ok.ru
Despite the fact that dill is not a separate dish, we could not but include it in this list. Almost all foreigners who come to Russia on a business trip or just to relax note that local residents put dill in literally everything. He appears even in those dishes where he is not expected at all (just like love in the famous song of Leonid Utesov). According to the international news and financial information agency Reuters, the average Russian eats about 1.6 kg of dill per year. Impressive numbers, aren’t they?
KingCarnivore, a user of the social news site Reddit, says he hates dill, but meets it in almost every dish he orders at restaurants specializing in Russian national cuisine. The same opinion is shared by reluctant_redditer: “I hate dill and can’t eat it anymore! I’m tired of this spice. How can Russians put it in absolutely everything that is prepared in their kitchen? “
Yes, a special love for dill has formed in Russia, but this attitude is quite justified: the composition of greens includes a large amount of useful vitamins and minerals that have a positive effect on vision, brain vessels, and the functioning of the digestive system.
Only in Russia, jellied meat is prepared without gelling components. / Photo: today.ua
Jellied meat is a cold appetizer made from jelly-like meat broth. As well as dumplings, aspic is present in different cuisines of the world, but each nation calls it in its own way: Germans – brawn, Poles – jelly, Ukrainians – dredgli, Georgians – husbands, and so on. The main difference between jellied meat and the above-mentioned dishes is that gelling agents such as gelatin or agar-agar are not added to it. They are not required for the preparation of the Russian national dish, because the desired consistency is achieved due to many hours of digestion of the legs, tail and head of the animal in the broth. These parts of the body contain a lot of collagen, due to which the jelly hardens.
Surprisingly, jellied meat causes rejection rather than delight among foreigners. Moreover, not everyone can force themselves to even try it. Here is what the Indian Alok Mathur says about the dish: “If you are offered to try cold meat jelly, I advise you to refuse. This dish is not vegetarian as it contains chicken or pig body parts (legs, ears and even hooves). Nevertheless, Russians adore him, but foreigners, especially those from India, find him completely unappetizing. “
5. Herring under a fur coat
Foreigners do not like herring under a fur coat because of the large amount of mayonnaise. / Photo: kto-chto-gde.ru
Unlike all the aforementioned dishes, the herring under a fur coat salad is relatively young. It appeared about 60 years ago in the USSR, and since then has enjoyed immense popularity among Russians. Not a single New Year is complete without this vinaigrette mixed with herring, egg and flavored with mayonnaise. However, almost no one abroad knows about herring under a fur coat, and therefore it is not at all surprising that most foreigners look at him with suspicion. The situation is especially bad if the salad is on the table next to the jellied meat. Also, our guests do not like the abundance of mayonnaise and several layers of the dish. They are probably just afraid to get better. And here is iseztomabel, a Reddit user wrote that the salad won him over: “Initially I didn’t want to try it, but after I was persuaded to do it, I was satisfied. Now this is one of my favorite salads. “
Buckwheat seems bitter to foreigners. / Photo: tunnel.ru
Buckwheat took root in Russia in the 15th century, but in other states they do not even suspect its existence. And if they suspect, they eat in very small quantities, as they feel bitterness and a strange aftertaste. Perhaps this is due to the fact that you need to get used to the taste of buckwheat from childhood.
However, now Europeans and residents of other countries are showing an increased interest in porridge, thanks to its beneficial properties, a small amount of calories. So Shell, a student from India, says that buckwheat became her salvation during the Russian cold weather. The girl is a vegetarian, and initially it was difficult for her to find food that would perfectly saturate the body. However, our popular porridge coped with this task perfectly.
It is customary to eat cheese cakes with berry jam or preserves. / Photo: rerecept.ru
Cottage cheese, from which syrniki is usually made, was called cheese in Russia. It received its present name only three centuries ago, when Peter I brought hard cheeses from Europe. Probably, after that it would be more logical to rename the dish loved by all Russians into “curd”, but “syrniki” have taken root so much that no one even dares to call them something else.
“The grandmother of my ex-boyfriend, who lives in Russia, constantly cooked cheesecakes when I was visiting them. She even made cottage cheese herself, thanks to which the dessert turned out to be incredibly tasty, tender and airy. We ate them with sour cream and berry jam, which my grandmother also closed on her own. I am hooked on this amazing dish, ”la_pluie left a comment on Reddit.com.