In Russia, the vegan movement is still very young. Moscow and St Petersburg have had a quick evolution over the last 5 years towards serving vegetarian and vegan foods in restaurants/stores. There are now locally made vegan products such as vegan salami, cheese, milks on the shelves. These processed foods are expensive. But you can enjoy the occasional raid of well-known vegan delights, after weeks of Russian staples. Such as potatoes, cabbage, pickles, buckwheat, barley and beetroots, especially in winter.
Don’t be taken aback if people see your choice of veganism as a temporary phase in your life from which you should soon recover. And since you might be seen as a member of an obscure cult, take advantage of that by asking for “postnaya yeda” (fasting food). This is the Christian Orthodox vegan (or vegan + fish) food eaten at certain times of year. Don’t be afraid to inquire about it. Many places should carry at least one dish answering to that definition during those days. Restaurant staff will speak mostly Russian so come prepared with our VEGAN WORDS page.
Traditional Russian food, especially in the countryside used to be mostly based on seasonal vegetables and grains, with scarce appearances of meat here and there. Winters saw little veggies for several months. To this day you will find that Russians can make wonderful things with grains or root vegetables. Including the best breads, soups, pickles and potato dishes. Mainstream restaurants will usually have a few salads or dishes that can be veganized or that are completely vegetarian (see LOCAL FOOD page).
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