traditional Russian foods

7 Traditional Russian Foods To Try In Moscow

Curious about traditional Russian food? You should be… Generally speaking, when people think of Moscow, they think of three things: Red Square, vodka and Matryoshka (the cute little nesting dolls). What many don’t know, though, is that Moscow also has a bustling food scene that is both diverse and flavourful.

From former USSR dishes to classic Russian doughnuts, here’s our roundup of must-eats while in the nation’s capital.

Traditional Russian Foods To Try In Moscow

1. Pelmeni

Pelmeni is a Russian spin on China’s dumplings and Poland’s pierogi. Somewhat of a national dish, it’s best enjoyed smothered in sourcream with a shot of vodka. Fortunately, you can find it all over Moscow, which leaves plenty of opportunities to try multiple fillings!

image: The Spruce Eats

2. Borshch Moskovy

Borscht is a Slavic staple native to neighbouring Ukraine. This tasty soup is made up mainly of beetroot, cabbage and beef and is known for its distinctive bright red colour. Though Ukrainian in origin, it’s very popular and easy to find in Russia. Each region puts its own spin on classic borscht so why not give Moscow’s version a try? Borshch Moskovy is traditional borscht, but Moscow style.

3. Blini

Blini, sometimes known as a Russian or Ukrainian pancake, is a must when in Moscow. Imagine a paper-thin crepe made from buckwheat flour smothered in your pick of savoury toppings such as caviar or smetana and you’ve got Blini. Much of the West pictures blini as palm-sized, but traditionally they are around 8 inches in diameter and quite the meal.

image: Taste Atlas

4. Ponchiki

These Russian doughnuts are served a number of ways, but one thing is always certain, they should be piping hot and smothered in powdered sugar. These delicious treats are common in food stalls but can also easily be found in cafes that specialise in ponchiki called pyshechnaya.

image: Russia Beyond

5. Shchi

Cabbage is a huge part of Russian cuisine, and is an essential dish to eat when it comes to traditional Russian food. As such, this dish has been on tables across Russia since the 9th century. Shchi is a hearty cabbage soup that’s a favourite among tourist and locals alike. While it can be enjoyed year-round, it’s particularly popular in the summer.   

traditional Russian foods
image: The Spruce Eats

6. Khachapuri

Okay, so this isn’t Russian food but it is a classic dish in Moscow. Georgian food is to Russians what Mexican food is to Americans. Rich, hearty, flavourful and you never leave without feeling like you’re about to burst. Delicious Georgian food can be found all over Moscow, so it’s practically a crime not to have one (or five) Georgian meals while in Moscow.

Khachapuri comes in many forms but the most popular is Ajarian Khachapuri. Adjarian Khachapuri is a buttery cheese boat made with sulguni and topped with a raw egg. It can only be described as life-changing. 

traditional Russian foods

7. Chebureki

Again, another not-so-Russian must-eat. Hailing from Crimea, chebureki are essentially a Crimean version of an empanada and can not, we repeat can not be missed. Fried turnovers filled with your choice of cheese, meat or herbs but really, why choose? Just get all three. You can generally find them in any food hall or street food market. 

traditional Russian foods

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Melanie Hamilton
Melanie Hamilton

Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.

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Alice Carroll
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I like that you mentioned that Georgian food is to Russians what Mexican food is to Americans. Like how my Mexican friends tend to differentiate American renditions of Mexican dishes, I’m pretty sure that Russians would have a different version of the more traditional khachapuri. I hope I could get my hands on a recipe for that so I can try it out at home.