Ural cuisine is not something special, firstly because Middle Urals is a multinational place, secondly because of the harsh climate (it's the so-called territory of risky farming) the number of products is limited. Overall, local cuisine is nourishing and substantial just like everywhere in Russia.
Uralskie pelmeni - Ural dumplings or ravioli usually with meat are supposed to be a local speciality although they don't differ from Siberian pelmeni and you can eat them in any Russian place. Besides, the Chinese state that they invented dumplings (like everything else in the world) and of course, it's difficult to disagree with them.
Autumn is a lovely season for all types of mushroom dishes. Russians love mushrooms, more than that they like to pick them up in the woods. Early in the morning on a bright autumn day you can see how gribnyaki (mushroom pickers) queue on the bus or train station with large plastic buckets. Rummaging about in the Ural forests can be fun especially if you find eventually a few mushrooms. Every babushka can instruct you what mushrooms are safe for eating. Usually they are easy to differentiate. Poisonous mushrooms smell nasty and grow big. If you don't like the idea of walking in the woods possibly meeting up with a bear, there are long lines of gribnyakis with buckets full of mushrooms along the roads. Now I should explain a very important thing: the mushrooms I'm talking about are not the ones sold in Amsterdam. So the Russians who sell their mushrooms on the roadsides are not some kind of drug dealers, they sell tasty things. Then you can fry them with potatoes or cook a mushroom soup or preserve in marinade, the letter is good with vodka.
As for other little specialities, Russians like to put mayo in every dish, so Yekaterinburg mayonnaise manufacture Provansal' is considered the best. Don't be afraid of mayo that much because in general Russian mayo is much lighter that the western versions and is a good cold dressing for salads. If you have a sweet tooth you should definitely buy some chocolate candies made in Yekaterinburg confectionery SladKo. They are delicious and it's not an advert, that's what my friends from Siberia and western part of Russia say when they get here. These candies are slightly more expensive than other brands because contain more chocolate.
Sometimes it's hard to predict what foreign visitors may take a liking to. My ex boyfriend from the UK bought here packs of smoked salty cheese to take home on the ground that it was good with beer and there was nothing like that in the UK. May be you should try it too. The cheese is called Kosynka means a plait for it looks like thing stripes done in a form of a plait and it's really good with beer.
When I was little, when Yekaterinburg was still called Sverdlovsk, there was such thing as pyshki - a Soviet version of donuts. The Soviet donuts were only glazed with powdery sugar, no jam, no chocolate. They were something to die for. When my family moved to the north to Nizhni Tagil, we sometimes drove 140 km to Yekaterinburg to buy hot pyshki. Unfortunately, the last cafeteria that sold pyshki on Sverdlova Street was closed down a few years ago. It gave place to another shiny mobile shop.
Anyway, there are many nice cafes and restaurants in Yekaterinburg some of them are very unique. I'll tell you about them in my next posts. Meanwhile, Priyatnava apetita! (bon appetit!)
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- Places to eat in Yekaterinburg
- Chinese Market. Where to shop in Yekaterinburg
- Is Ural in Siberia?