Soviet cuisine

Soviet cuisine, the common cuisine of the Soviet Union, was formed by the integration of the various national cuisines of the Soviet Union, in the course of the formation of the Soviet people. It is characterized by a limited number of ingredients and simplified cooking. This type of cuisine was prevalent in canteens everywhere in the Soviet Union. It became an integral part of household cuisine and was used in parallel with national dishes, particularly in large cities. Generally, Soviet cuisine was shaped by Soviet eating habits and a very limited availability of ingredients in most parts of the USSR. Most dishes were simplifications of French, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian cuisines. Caucasian cuisines, particularly Georgian cuisine, contributed as well. Canteens run by the government were called stolovaya.[1]

Solyanka with olives

In the West, Soviet cuisine is frequently conflated with Russian cuisine, though the particular national cuisine of Russia can be thought of as discrete.


Ukrainian borscht with smetana, pampushky, and shkvarkas

An everyday Soviet full course meal (lunch or dinner) consisted of three courses, typically referred to as "first", "second", and "third"; an optional salad was not numbered. In a restaurant, one could eat anything one liked in any order, but in a typical canteen, especially in a workers' or students' canteen, one would normally have received what was called a "combined lunch" (kompleksny obed). The first course was a soup or broth, i.e., "liquid" food (notice the difference from the Italian cuisine, where a "primo piatto" could also include a pasta dish — under a Soviet approach the pasta dishes belonged to the second course). The second was some kind of "solid" food: meat, fish, or poultry with a side dish, called "garnish" (Russian: гарнир). Garnishes typically included potatoes in a variety of forms, buckwheat kasha, macaroni, etc. Bliny, baked dishes (Russian: запеканка zapekanka), or eggs could also be served as the second course. The third was something to drink: tea, coffee, kompot, milk, kefir, etc.

Typical vegetable salad made of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and dressed with smetana

Green vegetables and salads were seasonal, and with some exceptions uncommon at the table. Spices were rarely used and food had a generally mild taste. There were no differences between breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals. Lunch was always consumed with a soup as a first course. A tradition of a "fish day" on Thursdays, when fish or other seafood was consumed instead of meat, was started in State-run canteens and cafeterias to alleviate a shortage of meat, but nevertheless filtered to many private households. The common approach, which still somewhat holds today in Russia is: eat a lot at each meal, few times a day. Eat nothing between meals – the reason for this was that the State-run eateries in the Soviet time was largely under the control of doctors, and the medical wisdom at the time was that snacking between major meals would ruin the appetite (especially for children) and will lead to indigestion and intestinal distress.[citation needed] A typical lunch meal could consist of chicken-broth-based soup or borscht for a first course and fried meatballs or goulash served with boiled potatoes or buckwheat porridge as a main course. Butter or sour cream was typically used as a sauce.

Zakuski at a celebration table

Holiday meals were typically derived from old French and Russian cuisines with extensive use of heavy sauces, marinated meats, and melted cheese. Mixing ingredients and extensive cooking was common, just as in classic French cuisine. Generally, much effort was made in order to prepare such meals. Often, the richness of a holiday table was an issue of honor for the family.

Typical dishesEdit

Kvass street vendor in Vladikavkaz

Zakuski and saladsEdit

First courseEdit

Second courseEdit

Third courseEdit

Usually served in a 200 millilitres (7.0 imp fl oz; 6.8 US fl oz) glass in common diners of obshchepit.



Street foodEdit

See alsoEdit