Where do you eat if you are vega(n) in Russia? Vegetarian or vegan in Russia is difficult. Russians understand when you say ‘no meat’ or ‘vegetarian’, but meat is the norm. Most of them don’t know vegans or vegans. Yet I have met Russian vegetarians. They say that the group of vegetarians is growing – like everywhere else.
What do you eat?
In Russia you have salad bars with traditional Russian food – I try to eat locally – in supermarkets, chains and Russian (lunch) shops. There is always a beet salad, a carrot salad, a cabbage salad, a radish salad. The salad with peas and potatoes often contains meat.
There is also soup. Borscht a traditional beet soup (it tastes different everywhere), I have eaten mainly in the west and in the east I ate Okrasha (cold soup). Note that there is often a meat and vegetarian variant. Traditionally cream should be used in both soups. You often get this separately, but you can always ask for extra to be sure.
Or eat Pelmeni, the Russian ravioli. Most of them are with meat, but they are also without meat. Sometimes it’s called differently. Pelmeni can also be eaten sweet.
Of course you can also eat pancakes. They eat it in the morning, but you can also fill it up for lunch or in the evening. This is available everywhere. For breakfast you have them with cheese in them, but also with apple and just natural as we know them in the Netherlands.
Young people mainly eat sushi – which is very trendy – and that often lies next to the traditional food. In Russia you also have a lot of Georgian food which you can also eat vegetarian.
Soy milk, rice milk and oat milk can be found in the better supermarkets throughout the country. In coffee tents they often also have soy or oat milk when you ask for it.
Russian food is good to do. I like it, but they hardly know any herbs here, except for salt and pepper. And after a few days you do need something else. Fortunately they also have a lot of Italian business here, Georgian and Asian food.
Where are you going to eat?
Russia is big, so it is hard to say where you can eat for the whole country.
Moscow & Ekaterinburg
In Moscow and Ekaterinburg you can go to Mu-Mu. It is affordable and you can brag yourself. A must in Moscow is SOK or COK in Ostrov Balchug.
A nice market – typically Russian – near my hostel is Rogozhskiye torgovyye ryady. This is also in Moscow. Here you can also have fun eating and also all vega and vegan if you want.
At the train stations are mainly kebab shops, very popular in Russia, I once asked for a vega wrap with vegetables. That was surprisingly delicious, because their wraps and vegetables are fresh. This is true for the whole of Russia, by the way. Their salads and bread usually look very good.
In Omsk there are many nice tents near the Leninstraat, the main street of the center. You can also get good coffee and soy milk.
And there is a nice tent on the Kalla Marksa Avenue. That is the street from the station to the right. Near the Tsirk tram station, towards the station on the right, there’s a white shop selling all kinds of sustainable products. Super tasty!
Novosibirsk is perfect for vegans and vegans. A hipster city in Siberia, who would have thought so? There are a few recommendations: Veggie Pit in Tsentralnyy park. The organic shop Dzhagannat. Veggimarkt in the street Ulitsa Uritskogo.
In Krasnoyarsk there wasn’t much, but there was the very nice little shop Veggie!