Friday, April 22, 2016

Russian Fast Food

I think the question that I get most from family and friends back home is, "Have you been to 'so and so fast food restaurant'." Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC, it doesn't matter, people want to know what it's like abroad. While I heard places like Hawaii (yeah, I know it's not abroad) or Japan have interesting items on the menu, Russia really isn't like that, at least for McDonalds.

I haven't eaten many places, but, overall, the food tastes just as good or slightly better. I eat at McDonalds a LOT. I don't really like to cook because it's so hard to find random things like cream of chicken soup or broccoli in the grocery stores. Not to go off topic, but if you have any good, simple recipes please send them to me! Going back to McDonalds, I ate it a lot in the USA so the food is pretty comparable, but it's everything else that's different. Any fast food restaurant you go to everything is al a carte even the kids meals. It's kind of annoying when you are really want a lot of food for a bundled price. However, it's good because you can pick and choose what you want.

KFC was different for me too. The food was good but its more similar to McDonalds and Wendy's than the KFC I remember. I haven't been to KFC in forever but I remember it having fried chicken, biscuits, and lots of side dishes. The KFC in Russia has chicken burgers and fries. I constantly call KFC Wendy's and people look at me weird because they don't know what Wendy's is. Subway is the same, but Russians put ketchup on everything so ketchup on a sub is kind of gross, but I ate it.

Unfortunately, there aren't many other American fast food places in Ufa. There are a lot in Moscow, like Dunkin Donuts which I'm dying to go to. There is a Burger King, too but I haven't been there. One thing I miss about American fast food is being able to buy a salad. Russian "salads" are anything mixed with mayo. Sometimes I just crave a bowl of lettuce with vinaigrette dressing, but lettuce is really hard to come buy even in the grocery stores. You can find salads some places but they are usually really small and expensive.

Another big difference are drinks. I drink so much pop because you just can't drink the water here. If you want water you have to order a bottle which is pretty expensive for bottled water. I usually end up getting Coke. Free refills aren't a thing either (except at KFC). I'm one of those people who will drink three glasses of water at a restaurant, but I can't do that here because I can't get water or free refills. It's probably why I feel so dehydrated all the time. Also, I HATE that you cannot get a good cup of coffee. I will have random cravings for just a cup of coffee, but the only thing you can find here and in Europe are specialty drinks like espresso, cappuccino, or a latte. Even the Americanos are gross. I miss just having a cup of coffee with cream.

All the opinions in the post are my own and do not reflect the views of the companies mentioned. 

17 comments

  1. I would not cope in Russia at all. No lettuce or water???? �� I'm not sure how I'd cope. How come you can't drink water?

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    1. Yeah, well, Russia has sanctions on so many different countries (politics) and so a lot of vegetables are really expensive if you can find them. Plus, Russian "salad" is like meat and vegetables mixed with mayo.

      The water just isn't clean. They don't have purifying systems like the other countries. You can get giant jugs of water for your home which are actually pretty cheap but when you are out at a restaurant water gets really pricey.

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    2. I just... i don't know what to say about Your water issues in Ufa. It sounds like Ufa from worse parallel dimension.

      Ufa has purifying system for cold water! Maybe water tastes a bit different from crystal water, but water quality suits all health standarts here!

      Yes, there was crush once decade ago in water supply system and drinking water was overdosed with fenol dioxide. But now it all fine!

      But if You still want to increase Your water quality there are still some ways:
      - As You said big (18-20 liters) jars for about 150-200 rubles for home
      - Aquafor (Аквафор) filtering system, also for home: 200 rubles for 2 liter jar, 200 rubles for changable filters
      - bigger filtering system (they put it under sink, filters costantly) - between 2000 - 4000 rubles
      - For outdoor hydration: every grossery has a range brands of pure (still) water. Ofcourse, Aquaminerale is more expencive, but if You pay attantion to local brands (Красноусольская and so on) - it is about 15 - 20 rubles for 1,5 liter generally. And the coke You said about as I can remember it is 35 - 45 rubles for 0,5 liter.

      feel free to stay hydrated!

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    3. I don't think Ufa is from a parallel dimension. There are plenty of places around the world (including the USA) where you cannot drink the water. Actually most Russians have told me not to drink it. I used to boil it for tea and I was told not to.

      I actually order water. I'm just trying to compare things to the USA which is why some of the things I say don't make sense. I'm not talking negatively, I'm just showing my friends and family how it differs.

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  2. Wow! Really makes me appreciate the water we have here.. I won't drink it unless it's been boiled first as it tastes kinda bad.. But at least it's free and clean.

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    1. I don't even think we are supposed to use it to brush our teeth but I do anyways.

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  3. I wish I could send you some coffee! I experienced that too when I was in Russia! The whole time I was dying for some black coffee, or iced coffee and I couldn't find it anywhere besides once in Moscow and St Petersburg. Or maybe it was that I didn't know how to ask for it... either way it's like trying to find a unicorn.

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    1. I feel like American coffee just isn't a thing in Europe. Everyone tells me, "We have Americanos!" I'm just like, "Americano's aren't the same!" McDonalds here in Ufa finally has iced coffees, although they aren't as good as they make them in the USA. I just got back from Moscow and definitely made sure to stop at Dunkin Donuts for an iced coffee.

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  4. The salad struggle, I totally remember that :p It took us about 2 months of looking to find someone who sold green lettuce in Yakutsk.

    In Ukraine, trendy hipster health food is becoming more of a thing... maybe it'll happen in Russia too?

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    1. I hope. You can find lettuce here in big supermarkets, but it's so expensive. If I get a really bad craving I just go to McDonald's. It's still expensive there but worth it for the big cravings.

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  5. > but if you have any good, simple recipes please send them to me!

    Pelmeni! (Пельмени) ;) Everywhere and any grossery in Russia You can find them!
    Step 1: Boil water in kastryulya, put some salt by Your taste
    Step 2: Put pelmeni in kastryulya, at the very beginning they will drawn (so to not let them stick to each other - do not forget shuffle them with spoon time after time)
    Step 3: when they arise (now no need to shuffle) - just wait for 5-6 minutes boiling them (also may need to decrease temperature)
    Step 4: put them in Your dish, wait untill they cool down, enjoy Your meal!

    PS. Seen post about Your wish to try vodka. So pelmeni goes good with vodka! ;)

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    1. I actually bought some pelmeni yesterday! :)

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  6. Actually I got a simpe one, but you will need a blender for it.
    Ingredients:
    - chicken breast, about one pound (a breast of one chicken, cleared of skin and bones;
    - cream, light (15-20%), about half a cup (100-125 g, half of standart little pack from supermarket would be enough);
    - some salt;
    - oil (olive is better, but sunflower is OK);
    - fresh aromatic herbs, a bunch (any you like and able to purchase, I prefer coriander, but basil or even dill or parsley will go).
    - a pinch of nutmeg powder, if you like it.
    How to cook:
    - cut chicken into small pieces, as big as a half of men's thumb;
    - put herbs, cream, a tablespoon of oil and some salt to blender, blend until you got a smooth mix;
    - heat pan on medium fire, add about a tablespoon of oil;
    - put chicken into pan, cook about 5-7 minutes, stir frequiently — you don't need to fry the chicken, pieces should become white on outside, this would be anough;
    - add mix of herbs, cream, oil and salt into pan, reduce fire to low, cower your pan, cook for another 5-7 mins, add nutmeg powder at the end if you like.
    Serve and eat. Good in itself, but may be served with almost anything you have (rice, potato, broccoli, noodles, beans, whatever).

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    1. Thanks for the recipe! Who are you, by the way? You just show up as Anonymous!

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. My apologies, attempted to login with my LiveJournal account, but got something like "unable to verify your OpenID data". I am matti-san.livejournal.com as well as dee.karev@facebook.com, an IP network engineer from Moscow.

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