My First Meal in Russia

How easily are you able to recall your first “something?”  Don’t let your imagination run too freely there…you know what, I’m just going to skip ahead and say that the focus of today’s post is food.

I wish I could remember my first meal for Indonesia, Japan and China, but even though that’s nigh on impossible, at least Puerto Rico’s comes through.

And…considering that I was there quite recently, my lunch in St. Petersburg, Russia stands out.  (Putting photos in chronological order helps too.)

My hotel wasn’t in the busiest part of town, but nearby there were the expected kebab huts and Georgian restaurants, but I couldn’t yet capitulate to the stuff I already knew and enjoyed.  What is Russian food?  It’s an ongoing discovery.

In any event, the hotel was also near a столовая (stolovaya), or cafeteria/canteen, a good candidate to try something local:

St. Petersburg, Russia, Stolovaya Meal (First Meal)
But how much of it was Russian?  Let’s not delve into semantics right now, but one of the stolovaya workers – after sticking her tongue out at me but before giving me a hard time – mentioned that the borscht, the beet soup in the upper part of the picture, is more Ukrainian than anything else.

I also chose stuffed cabbage with pickles, garlicky carrots with dill, Russia’s favorite herb, and a mysterious beef and onion stew.  The drink is called морс (morse), and it is usually made from berries and sugar syrup.  Another patron at the cafeteria told me that “mors is good for womAn.”  That settles that.

I realized that restaurants in Russia seemed to charge for every little thing, in particular small servings of various sauces.  Supposedly it cuts down on waste, but I couldn’t help but recite to myself “profit margins” after every order of ajika.

Do you think this was an appropriate first meal for Russia?

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5 Responses to My First Meal in Russia

  1. Jess Carey says:

    Definitely looks like an interesting meal! The food they eat over there seems SO different to anywhere else in the world, so heavy and hearty! Did you have any favourite meals over there??

    • Have you tried Russian food, Jess? Guess it has to be hearty since most of the country congeals once the winter comes along;)

      I’m still very unfamiliar with Russian cuisine, save for a few meals in Brooklyn, but the pickles and dumpling aspects are worth revisiting again and again…

      • Jess Carey says:

        No, I haven’t – it’s probably the only cuisine I haven’t found in Melbourne!! I have heard that dumplings and potatoes feature heavily though, which sounds delicious!

  2. That looks delicious!
    My first meal in Japan, as a 16 year old fresh off the 12 hour flight was a bowl of ramen that was the most delicious thing I’d ever tastes. We ate at one of the standing-up places in the airport.


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