SOCHI - Russian food is a mystery to many of us. Sure, we've heard about such things as "borscht," "pirogi" and "caviar." But what are they really and do people with similar taste buds like 'em?
9NEWS reporter Anastasiya Bolton is in Sochi and had a chance to guide reporters Jay Watson from Atlanta and Mark Curtis from Phoenix a Russian menu:
When I sit down at a Russian restaurant, my only reaction is excitement.
"So many yummy things," I exclaimed when looking at the menu of little place built in Rosa Khutor, in the mountain cluster.
Those who know me, say they get hungry watching me eat. I love food; I can't help it. On the menu here, are all my favorite things. Jay Watson said she needed a guide, who am I to say no?
"Obviously, we have to have borscht," I say to Jay. "That's just the best thing ever. I think we should get some crapes with cheese. Obviously you have to have crepes with caviar, where else are you going to do that?"
The restaurant is small and temporary. It faces the gondola and the snow-covered mountains, where the skiing competitions are being held.
It has a small menu, but just the right size for journalists and visitors to try, or locals to grab a familiar bite.
Jay was a fan of pelmeni, or Russian homemade ravioli, and crepes and cheese. Now really, unless you're lactose intolerant or don't like cheese, who wouldn't like that combination?!
A traditional meal here, like in any Russian home, begins with soup, in some cases, borscht. Mark Curtis got served a hot plate of the dish. The meat, potatoes and cabbage are obvious. He tried it. The verdict, "I like it, I actually like it."
This Evgeniya Kavalchuk's second year working at this restaurant. She says she recommends to customers the dishes she likes.
"They don't understand borscht," she said of her own personal favorite. "Most can't understand why it's served with sour cream."
My approach: more for me. And for the people who have learned to love the beats, the potatoes, the cheese, the pelmeni or Russian ravioli.
"The French like our cuisine very much and are happy they have something to eat here," Kavalchuk said. "Austria, Germany, Japan. Americans also come here, they started liking the food. Many come just to have our version of meat balls. If they don't get borscht."
Maxim Akimov is visiting Rosa Khutor from Moscow. Here's how he sees his native cuisine.
"Delicious, meaty, filling," he said. "Something you'd want to come back to over and over again."