Russia street food World Cup spotters’ guide


With the FIFA 2018 World Cup group stages coming to a close at the time of writing, we’re halfway through the tournament.

With the FIFA 2018 World Cup group stages coming to a close at the time of writing, we’re halfway through the tournament. It’s been an action-packed fortnight of football – but what about the food?
 

Russia street food World Cup spotters’ guide


We speak at length on this site about the Russian market for this product, or their overall import volumes – yet, we’ve never really spoken about what Russians actually make with all the food and drink items they import. As the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Krasnodar and the other host nations are alive with football fans and festivities, so too are they alive with food from street vendors, food trucks, and fast food restaurants. The World Cup is bringing Russian street foods into global focus, so let’s take a look ourselves.
 

Five Russian street foods to look out for

 

Blini


Blini Russia’s take on the thin pancake, blinis resemble traditional French crepes and so boast lots of variety flavours and fillings. Both sweet and savoury blinis are popular treats, and are made with a variety of ingredients, like are versions made with grated potatoes, apples, raisins, jam and honey. Even caviar is spread on top by some more decadent diners. Ground beef and pork, as well as cooked chicken, are also popular blini fillings.
 

Chebureki


Chebureki If you’re familiar with the UK’s own Cornish pasties, then Russia’s answer, chebureki, should have you drooling at the mouth too. These dishes are deep-fried, crescent-shaped pastries stuffed with plenty of meat and veggies. Russia is one of the largest importers of fruits and vegetables, as well as meat products, in the world – and vast quantities of each end up in these Russian favourites.
 

Baked potatoes


 Russia imports over $100m worth of potatoes every year (check out this handy infographic for more info). In fact, the root vegetable is a staple of Russian cuisine – and street food is no different. Baked potatoes are fast food favourites in Russia. A variety of fillings are on offer, with pickled mushrooms, salty cheese, and dill-infused salmon as particularly Russian slants on traditional toppings. Kroshka-Kartoshka, literally “little potato”, is one a top-five fast food chain in Russia, specialising entirely in baked offerings.

World Cup fans wanting to take on the Russian spin on baked potatoes should check out one of their 300 nationwide locations this summer.
 

Ponchiki


Think doughnuts are as American as the Stars and Stripes, yellow New York taxis, and the Statue of Liberty? Think again. Russians have been tucking into their own version of this fried snack since before the Soviet Union. Ponchiki is similar to the US-created confection we’re all familiar with: dough either round with a hole in the middle, or round balls, powered with sugar and deep-fried. Readily available in paper cones from street sellers, ponchiki is everywhere.

If you find yourself in St. Petersburg, though, make sure you visit one of the specialist “psyhechniyes” – bakeries that only deal in ponchiki, for the absolute authentic taste.
 

Pirozhki


The Russian word “pirog”, meaning “pie”, comes from the proto-Russian word “pir” or “feast” – and each pirozhki is a miniature banquet in itself. No celebration is complete without them – and global sporting celebrations hardly ever come larger than the FIFA World Cup.

What’s in pirozhki? Anything you like. Most often, they come stuffed with fish, meat, rice, mushrooms, spring onions, and eggs. There are even sweet varieties, which are full of forest berries and seasonal fruits. More Russian street delicacies to try We could go on and on about the sheer volume and variety of snacks, confectionery items, street foods, and more easy-to-eat options in Russia. There are as many as teams in this years’ World Cup as there are street options out there for visitors to Russia to sample.

From the Tartar-originated echpochmak, yet another pasty style, to boiled sweetcorn and shawarma, there’s a huge range of options just waiting to be tried. 
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