Reporter’s Notebook: Which food to try when traveling in the former USSR

In the former Soviet Union, someone’s first stop to try local food should be at a supermarket. There is plenty of products at the stores. So, a tourist can be lost trying to make a choice. In this essay, an individual may find valuable advice on popular Russian, European and Asian food in Kazakhstan and other republics of the former USSR.

Kolbasa – Kazakhstanian supermarkets offer a variety of delicious sausages called kolbasa. About 100 different brands of kolbasa are shown on the shelf at the supermarket in the Karaganda-city, Kazakhstan. The sausages are smoked, half-smoked, salami, bologna, and ham. They taste similar to American products, but differently. A price for kolbasa varies from two to seven U.S. dollars per kilogram. The meat products come from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Photo by Tanya Nyborg.
Fish – Russian classic writer, Nikolai Gogol, said, “Which Russian does not like fast riding?” An alternative for the popular saying would be, “Which Russian does not like to eat fish?” Fish is one of the favorite products not only among Russians, but among ot¬¬¬her Europeans, such as Pools, Germans, Swedes, etc. At the Kazakhstanian supermarket, a customer usually has a good choice of fresh, smoked and salted fish, and caviar. Photo by Tanya Nyborg.
Chocolate – A supermarket in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, offers dozens of brands of chocolate sweets and bars. Some of them are packed in beautifully designed boxes. One of the leading producers of chocolate products in Kazakhstan is the factory “Rahat” located in the Almaty-city, a former southern capital of the country. Photo by Tanya Nyborg.
Korean food – Korean food is extremely popular in Kazakhstan and some other parts of the former Soviet Union. Korean salads are usually consisted of meat, fish mixed with vegetables and dressed with oil and soy sauce. Korean food is spicy; red or black peppers are added in good quantity. Some Kazakhstanian supermarkets have delis and sell Korean food to go. On the picture, Korean salads at a supermarket in Karaganda, Kazakhstan, are shown. Photo by Tanya Nyborg.