One of the most important things to learn when traveling to a new location is how to order food. At first, ordering food in Russian may appear challenging. With a little practice, you will be able to order food in a Russian restaurant with confidence and be sure that you will get exactly what you want.
Before we get into the restaurant vocabulary, it is important to understand Russian dining etiquette and customs. Typically, groups dining together do not request separate checks. Instead, the group splits the bill amongst itself.
Friends may offer to cover your bill. It is proper to decline politely. If they insist, don’t fight them, but don’t take the offer too quickly either.
Tipping is widely debated. Tipping is appreciated but not required. A good starting point is 10%. You may tip more if the service is particularly good. If it’s particularly bad, you might tip less or not tip at all. Consider studying the finer points of dining etiquette before traveling to Russia, especially if you intend to eat at any upscale restaurants.
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At the table:
Dining and paying:
|What do you want?||Что вы хотите?|
|What would you like to order?||Что вы будете заказывать?|
|What do you recommend?||Что вы посоветуете?|
|Do you have…?||У вас есть…?|
|I want…||Я хочу…|
|I would like…||Я буду…|
|Bring me…||Принесите мне…|
|How much does it cost?||Сколько стоит?|
Now that we know major vocabulary words associated with ordering food, it is time for you to learn some popular Russian foods to choose from:
Kasha — Каша
In the United States, kasha is most commonly associated with buckwheat. In Russia, however, Kasha can refer to any grain porridge. Kasha is a popular Russian national dish. It is also versatile, as it can be sweet or savory and eaten at any time of day.
Soup — Суп
Soup is extremely common in Russia. You will find numerous varieties of both hot and cold soups.
Schchi – Щи
While it may be unfamiliar to Americans, schchi is one of Russia’s most popular soups. It’s a cabbage-based soup that Russians have been eating for over 1,000 years. It typically includes cabbage, meat, a variety of vegetables, and spices.
Borscht — Борщ
Borscht, perhaps the most well-known Russian soup, is thought to have originated in Ukraine. Nonetheless, it has a long history of popularity in Russia. While it is most commonly associated with beet soup, other varieties do exist.
Green borscht, for example, contains sorrel. Borscht can also be served hot or cold and sometimes with meat. So, in short, borscht may or may not contain beets, and meat, and may or may not be served hot.
Pancakes (Blini) — Блины
Blini are small, thin pancakes. They come with a wide variety of toppings to suit any palate. Sweet blini with toppings like jam and honey are available, more savory varieties may include caviar, mashed potato, or meat.
Herring — Сельдь
Herring is eaten in a variety of ways, including pickled or in salads. One popular salad is селёдка пoд шубoй (herring under a fur coat), also known as “dressed herring” in English. Pickled herring, onion, mayonnaise, and cooked vegetables like potatoes and beets are featured in this dish.
Beef stroganoff — Бефстроганов
Mid-1800s Russia was the place where beef stroganoff first appeared. Since then, it has gained popularity all over the world. Although there are variations, the standard ingredients are egg noodles, beef, mushrooms, onion, and sour cream.
Cabbage rolls — Голубцы
The fact that cabbage rolls are common in Russia should not come as a surprise because they are popular throughout much of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Russian cabbage rolls typically include a grain, such as rice or buckwheat, and minced meat. Sour cream and tomato sauce are frequently found in the sauce.
Rye bread — Ржаной хлеб
Rye bread, also known as “black bread,” is a favorite type of bread on the Russian table. In the past, Russians would greet visitors with salt and rye bread as a sign of friendship.
Rye bread initially gained popularity because it was less expensive and healthier than wheat bread, but it soon established itself as a dominant force in Russian culture.
Olivier salad — Салат Оливье
Salads made with mayonnaise are very popular in Russia. The popular Olivier salad was created in the 1800s by a Belgian cook working in a Moscow restaurant.
It is a potato salad that also includes apples, pickles, onions, carrots, peas, hard-boiled eggs, and occasionally meat. It’s especially well-liked on New Year’s Eve.
You can also learn Russian without a teacher by exploring various content materials available on internet platforms. Learning any foreign language requires a very consistent approach.
|Vodka (Vodka is obviously very well-liked in Russia. There’s a good chance that someone will expect you to drink vodka if you travel to Russia. Be sure to take it slow and eat something while you drink.)||Водка|
|Soda||Газированная вода / Газировка|
|Tea (The 1600s saw the introduction of tea, which is quite popular in Russia and frequently linked to national identity.)||Чай|
Vegan diet — Веганская диета
Like vegetarianism, the idea of what’s included in a vegan diet may not be consistent. Printing a list of excluded items can be helpful.
Gluten-free diet — Безглютеновая диета
Wheat is widely used in Russian cooking, but you can still find some gluten-free options like potatoes, meat, and salads.
- peanuts — арахис
- nuts — орехи
- seafood — морепродукты
Bon appetit! — Приятного аппетита!
This saying is used before meals.
For your health and prosperity! — За ваше здоровье и благополучие!
За ваше здоровье и благополучие! is a popular drinking toast.
You also need to learn to thank you in Russian while ordering food in Russia. Learning Russian greetings will help you get along with native Russian speakers. Give your best at Russian restaurants. Place your order with utmost confidence and grace.
If you get a good experience, tip well. Try to be courteous and gentle. These 50-plus words and phrases are a great starter course in your Russian dining adventure. Try out new food items once you visit new Russian restaurants. Learning how to order food in Russian will help you more than even you can imagine.