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17 Bizarre Foods Every Russian Grew Up With

(Besides borscht).

1. Blini with caviar and sour cream


Cruel prank idea: Tell your American friend it's whipped cream and jam and watch them experience the most intense sensory bafflement of their lives. Recipe here.

2. Herring Under Fur Coat

Julia Volhina /

Imagine a cake layered with salted herring, cooked vegetables, and a coat of grated beets and mayo. It sounds gross but it'll grow on you, just like an actual fuchsia fur coat might. Recipe here.

3. Doktorskaya Bologna


It's the spongy lovechild of bologna and sausage, and every Russian-American kid who brings this in a sandwich for lunch is gonna get asked a lot of questions.

4. Olivye salad


It'll probably freak non-Russians out a little, but really, it's just potato salad if it was jacked up on more veggies, mayo, and the aforementioned bologna. Looks foul, tastes incredible. Recipe here.


Pickled mushrooms, pickled tomatoes, pickled cabbage. All of this gets significantly tastier once you're old enough to use it as a vodka chaser.

6. Kholodets

MEAT JELLO. The concept never feels completely normal, but it's delish and fun to play around with! And look at all the shapes you can make! Recipe here.

7. Salo


It's raw pig fat, and the more of it you have, the better!

8. Kvas


This rye-honey-berry concoction comes in the most badass bottles. And it's slightly alcoholic! ;)

9. Herring, mayo and pickle sandwich


Basically, all the ingredients that complement vodka, plus mayo because WHY NOT. (Also popular in the Netherlands, sans the hard liquor component.)

10. Okroshka


It's cold kefir with cucumbers, bologna, and dill — it's like all the ingredients rejected from soup in the past got together and decided to puzzle us all. Recipe here.

11. Solyanka


Every type of meat + every type of sour thing = soup? We'll roll with it. Recipe here.

12. Kissel


"Fruit soup" made from fruit juice and starch and commonly served as a dessert. In case you weren't sure yet, soup is kind of a big deal. Recipe here.

13. Kishka


Chicken skin/an intestine stuffed with more meat and covered in gravy. In Russia, no meat is left uneaten. Recipe here.

14. Kompot


This one's basically Eastern Europe's version of fruit punch, except that it's made by boiling fruits in water, which just seems like a more complicated way of going about the whole thing, but is totally worth it. Recipe here.

15. Vinaigrette


(Not to be confused with salad dressing.) Beets, potatoes, pickles, and pickled cabbage are the vegetables used most frequently in Russian cuisine, so it's no real surprise that they have a super healthy dish of their own. Recipe here.

16. Varenyky


You can fill them with anything, but fruit is common. Fruit dumpling! Recipe here.

17. And then there's this:


Canned Atlantic herring is a staple of Russian cuisine and is not supposed to look like this. Ever.


Sojuzmultfilm / Via

Even Vinni-Puh rejects this.