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Jan 7, 2013 07:54 AM

Question about Russian cuisine.

Recently the US Junior hockey team won an International tournament in Russia. (They beat may have read about it.) One of the players was from my local area and in an interview said he looked forward to coming home .because he was sick of eating noodles. It sounds like he/them ate noodles for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I only have a cursory understanding of Russian food...noodles don't enter my mind.
So. never figured noodles to be a staple of Russian food. Even if this is just young American men afraid/ wary of local food..why noodles ? What type ? ramen ? They didn't say McDonalds ..they said noodles.
Any insight ?

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  1. The noodle prevalence strikes me as a bit odd, too. I suspect egg noodles are fairly common (viz Stroganoff), but that's about it. Just out of curiosity, where exactly in Russia did the hockey team stay?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Perilagu Khan

      I had the same thought as to wondering where they were. In my times in Russia I have never seen noodles at all that I recollect. Stoganoff was always with shoestring potatoes (although I grew up with it over wild rice). It might be that whoever hosted these kids was saving money with cheap vittles. I would not be surprised if the boys had Salat Olivier at every meal or barrels of pickles, sauerkraut etc. "Schi and kasha: these are our foods" as the Russians say,

          1. re: Perilagu Khan

            Shchi da kasha, pisha nasha! It has to rhyme:)

          2. re: hazelhurst

            I have never seen Stroganoff served with showstring potatoes, as far as cooking at home goes.

            1. re: Marusik

              Really? That's all I saw, even in Kiev.

        1. Saying "Russian cuisine" is like saying "European cuisine." It's an enormous country with many regional influences. Hard to generalize.

          1. OK..then..the tournament looks like it was held ithe city of the Republic of Bashkortostan..Any better ? I can't get more specific than that and I'm not going to rename my post.

            5 Replies
            1. re: rochfood

              I've never been out there so cannot say what teh Local rules are..the Republics I do know..Georgia, Khazakstan and a few others...have their own local gems. Bishbarmat (guess at your own spelling) is a supposedly Tatar dish from Khazakstan, ofr example. It means "five fingers" and is a stewed meat and onion affair. Again, I cannot say that I recall noodles anywhere in Russia/Ukraine but one would think that the closer one gets to Asia noodles would appear.

              Russian hospitality being what it is, though, I am surprised the boys did not get salads, shashlyk, innumerable soups, pickled garlic, schi, fish of every description, mushrooms (especially zhulliene and pickled versions), satsivi and on and on. You should look up the food (see "Please to the Table" for a good start). It is wonderful stuff.

              1. re: hazelhurst

                Making very broad assumptions (and being very open to being wrong) - I would guess that the US Junior National team stayed in a hotel as opposed to private homes. And possibly the noodles were either the only "not intimidating" item, or most appealing to their tastes, or the hotel's attempt at providing "American" food?

                The quote sounds to me similar to my brother returning from university and complaining about how he was sick of eating spaghetti. It wasn't that the dorm food was all spaghetti - that's just all he was choosing to eat.

                1. re: cresyd

                  That's what I was thinking too - a buffet scenario and kids grabbing the most familiar item, over and over again.

                2. re: hazelhurst

                  Noodles are common in Europe: Italian cuisine to name one.
                  Besides, maybe these kids were eating a lot of crappy hotel food--noodles were simple and cheap, and liked by many (spaghetti, for example).

                  1. re: Wawsanham

                    That was basically my thought. Of course, hockey players would burn those carbs pretty fast.

              2. Noodles are fairly common food staple in Russia, as they are pretty cheap (especially the ones NOT from durum wheat - they tend to turn into mush).
                The most popular cheap dishes are - pasta with butter and cheese (and ketchup:); pasta with canned meat (so called makarony po-flotski, pasta navy style); pasta with butter and sugar. Also, there is filled pasta - pel'meni, vareniki; sorta gnocci - lazy vareniki.

                Ah, almost forgot - zapekanki! They are like fritattas, but with noodles instead of potatoes. Could be savory (pasta+eggs) or sweet (pasta+eggs+farmers cheese+sugar).

                It is possible that noodles were served as a side dish for lunch and dinner to the team as noodles are very popular side dish to go with meat-based entrees.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Marusik

                  Does Russia manufacture much pasta these days, or is it mainly imported?

                  PS--I don't think those kids would have compained if they were getting a heavy rotation of pelmeni and vareniki.

                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                    I do not live there, but when I do go back to visit, I see a lot of Russian brands of pasta at stores (I'd take a wild guess that expensive, durum wheat brands are manufactured using some corporation's technology or in part owned by one).

                    Haha, true, but pelmeni and vareniki need to be made correctly (not like some cheap stuff which has 90% of dough and 10% of filling. Or with some "no-name" meat inside).