Friday, February 19, 2016

Guest Post: Eating Vegan While Traveling Russia

Hello dear blog-babies! This week, I am featuring a guest post from Jess Signet over at Tripelio, on eating vegan in the land of Russia. I often make jokes about Russian "salads" in Armenia being lathered in mayonnaise and featuring cubes of some mystery meat, so I was very interested in this topic, and when I make my way over to Russia, will definitely use it as a guide! So without further adieu, check out this awesome guest post:

----


Eating Vegan While Traveling Russia

I would like to thanks Lena for publishing this article. Her site is a great place to get some amazing health and travel tips, for vegans and non-vegans alike! After reading this article I recommended you check out this post on red lentil soup—a great vegan recipe to have in your back pocket!

For vegans, traveling can be quite a daunting concept. Many countries are far from vegan friendly, and due to language barriers, trying to get a realistic idea about just what is in the food your eating can be a near-impossible task. The last thing we want to happen is to be stuck somewhere with only chips to eat or have to compromise our diet choices because we can’t be sure what’s vegan-friendly.

Russia is a country that’s well known for its meat heavy dishes and lashings of sour cream, so in short, it appears to be a vegan’s worst nightmare. However, with just a little bit of forward planning, it becomes apparent that, like most places, eating vegan is possible if you do the research. Here’s how to enjoy your trip to Russia while staying true to your vegan lifestyle.

Visiting the Main Monuments
Russia is a place of fascinating history and vibrant culture, and therefore, there are plenty of iconic landmarks to visit. The Kremlin and the Red Square in Moscow are a vivid and stunning nod back to the era of the Soviet Union, as well as being places of astounding architecture in their own right. For art lovers, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersberg holds a remarkable art collection on the equally impressive ex-site of the old Winter Palace, which is also just a short ten-minute walk away from St. Isaac’s Cathedral. However, it goes without saying that when visiting these places you’re going to need to stop for something to eat. Luckily, there are more vegan options that you’d realize around these well-known sites.

…and Their Local Vegan Restaurants

First, The Happy Cow is a great website that shows vegetarian and vegan eateries in every country in the world. The site claims that there are 39 restaurants and health food shops in Moscow and a whopping 54 in St. Petersburg, so there’s definitely no shortage of places to try. However, it’s important to remember that if you plan to access this website when you’re overseas, it’s a good idea to use a VPN to protect your personal data from being stolen while you’re connected to insecure public WiFi networks.

Alongside vegan-specific spots, many Russian restaurants offer veggie accompaniments, such as stuffed peppers and salads, which can be made vegan friendly. For example, Stolovava 57—located right next to the Red Square and the famous St. Basil’s Cathedral—allows guests to choose salads or buckwheat-based dishes and then pick their own dressing separately. Similarly, there are many hearty winter soup dishes that are made from vegetables and potatoes and are completely vegan-friendly.

Veganism in the Sticks

Although there is a wide array of vegan options in the more metropolitan cities, things do seem to get a little bit harder as you travel out into the countryside. However, if you look hard enough, there are veggie-loving individuals all over this great country that offer places to stay and vegan options for their guests. For example, Uncle Pasha’s Dacha—a horse ranch based near Starista in the countryside between Moscow and St. Petersburg—where Uncle Pasha himself offers a fully-vegetarian menu, which can easily be made vegan with a few alterations. Other than this, smaller towns may have their own weekly agricultural food markets, so you can get your hands on some fresh fruit and vegetables, which brings us on to our next point!
Home Cooking

When traveling with specific diet requirements, home cooking can be your best friend. There may be places where there are no vegan options—either because it’s not considered or because, very often, restaurants can run out of specialty items—so it’s always good to have a fallback option handy. Many hostels and guesthouses are fitted with kitchens that are available for guest use, so having a few back-up recipes on hand that use simple, everyday ingredients that you can pick up from the local store or market means that you’ll never have to go hungry. Whether you try to stay authentic to the local cuisine and rustle up some Russian inspired Squash Cavier (Kabachkovaya Ikra) or a hearty Russian soup such as Saurkraut Shchi, or go more generic with a good old ratatouille or vegetable broth, having these recipes in your back pocket can be a godsend for any traveling vegan.

Veggies For The Road

The final thing to consider when traveling Russia is the sheer size of the place. Because of this it’s highly likely that you’ll be spending a large about of your time in transit. Whether you chose to embark on one of the countries epic train rides, such as the world famous Trans-Siberian Express, or you are just traveling between separate stop-off destinations, you’re sure to encounter a time where you need to eat while on-the-move. Fortunately, with a bit of forward planning, you can easily pick up a few vegan snacks and pack up some meals so you don’t have to go hungry. Many supermarkets in the main cities do stock vegan products—such as soy pudding and even kale burgers—and similarly, some of the vegan cafes offer takes-out options of vegan tarts and other treats. Plus, there are always generic snacks such as crisps, nuts and dried fruit that can help you along the way. In short, as long as you pre-prepare and don’t expect to be able to grab a vegan meal on the train, then you’ll never find yourself short of food while traveling.

Being vegan in Russia is surprisingly less of a daunting task than you might first perceive it. Sure, you’re going to have to get used to the trays and trays of meat and the quizzical looks when you ask about vegan options in mainstream restaurants, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find there’s plenty of delicious vegan options within the local cuisine and many recipes you can cook yourself.

If you’re a vegan who’s experienced eating in Russia and you have any more tips to add to this list, then be sure to comment below.

About the Author: Jess Signet is an avid traveler and enjoys writing about her adventures. Knowing there’s more to the world than the bubble she lives in makes her want to travel even further. Traveling is her drug, and she’s addicted. (Please, no intervention!)



4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tips but with a little bit of effort and in sensitiveness to the strange looks of restaurant staff, it is actually not that hard to find decent vegan food.

    Russia travel

    ReplyDelete
  2. Vegan food is crazy cheap at the moment in Russia. Here is our top 10 list of vegan foods in Russia. We were fortunate to have a kitchen and supermarket for getting the ingredients.

    ReplyDelete