Kaliningrad Street Food
Kaliningrad Street Food
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is going to be special for fans attending from around the globe, especially when it comes to trying local food. There are so many great venues across the country ready to host games but perhaps the most intriguing is Food.
A Little Bit of Background
Kaliningrad is Russia’s western most city and is not connected to the huge mass of land we all know as being Russia.
The city and province, which go by the same name, is bordered by Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic Sea. Due to its location, Kaliningrad has many European influences. This can be seen on the streets, through the clothes people are wearing and the range of delicious food available.
There will be four group games played in Kaliningrad during the 2018 World Cup. The pick of the matches being the clash between European heavyweights, England and Belgium. The other three matches to look forward to are Morocco vs Spain, Serbia vs Switzerland and Croatia vs Nigeria.
Fans who are attending these matches, have a special treat in store when staying in Kaliningrad.
Throughout the year, there are many organised events celebrating Kaliningrad’s street food. During the 2018 World Cup, you are invited to join the locals and sample some of the best street food you will find anywhere on the planet.
Why Kaliningrad Street Food?
Trying food is one of the best experiences of travelling. It helps understand the culture of the place you are visiting. While eating at a top-quality restaurant is nice, to really get to grips with life in Kaliningrad, you need to try the street food. This is where many of the locals buy their food, especially when enjoying a day out with the family or on a commute home following a day at work.
By sampling the delicious Kaliningrad street food, not only will you enjoy local food prepared and cooked by Kaliningrad citizens, you will also meet many local people and that’s a great part of travelling to any event.
You can also see your food prepared and cooked in-front of your very eyes. This is something you rarely have the privilege of witnessing when eating at a restaurant.
Kaliningrad Street Food Festival
The Kaliningrad Street Food Festival has been organised to highlight the importance of food and how the joy of eating food together, as a social group has diminished. Therefore, one of the main aims of the Kaliningrad Street Food Festival is to cook up something special and enjoy it on one communal table.
In many ways, this goal matches the essence of the World Cup, which is groups of fans getting together to not only celebrate the beautiful game but to meet new people, from different countries and cultures and make new friends.
Street food in Kaliningrad has the same effect.
The accessibility of tasty, fresh food in a public and safe environment means a lot to the people organising the Kaliningrad Street Food Festival. Every fan visiting for the 2018 World Cup is invited to take to the street, mingle, buy some food or take a picnic to the park.
Kaliningrad Special Football Weekend
The Kaliningrad Street Food Festival even organised a special football weekend. Fans were invited to play football in the park, engage in table football tournaments, watch matches outdoors on a big screen and enjoy the wealth of fantastic street food available.
It was a great success, with people of all ages coming together to share their passion for football and Kaliningrad street food.
Fans attending the 2018 World Cup in Kaliningrad are in for something special.
Delicious Local Street Food in Kaliningrad
So, as a football fan attending the 2018 World Cup in Kaliningrad, what can you expect to eat on streets of the city?
Fish has played a large role in the Kaliningrad Street Food Festival over the past two years and continues to be one of the tastiest options available.
Ask those who attended the Fish Food Festival at Zelenogradsk resort in 2017 what their impressions are of Kaliningrad street food and you will be met with a glowing response. The festival was attended by more than 50,000 people and during the 2018 World Cup you will have the opportunity to taste the best regional fish on the streets of Kaliningrad.
You can expect to find many examples of regional fish. Some of the best fish to try include Baltic salmon, cod, pike, perch, mackerel, capelin and smelt. What is on offer varies depending on the time of the year but these are some tantalising examples of what you can expect to find.
Many street food vendors in Kaliningrad have their own take on how to cook, prepare and serve the fish. Head to the stalls with an open mind and try something new or enjoy a twist on an old favourite. You may even get to try some fish tea!
Some of the biggest queues you will see at Kaliningrad street food stalls are where the burgers are being cooked. Perhaps it’s the tantalising smell or the fact that so many people are already waiting in line, you know it must be good and decide to join them.
The burgers are cooked on an open grill. You will find a great choice of pickled vegetables and spices to add to the flavour. You can even have your bun toasted or have fried sesame seeds added to your roll, of which there are usually a selection from which to choose.
Don’t expect to come away with a burger reminiscent of fast food chains. These are high quality, prime burgers and chances are, the two sides of your bun will be about 3 inches apart as you walk away from the stall. If you are feeling hungry before heading into the match, a street burger in Kaliningrad is delicious and will leave you with a warm feeling inside.
Doughnuts are one of the most popular street foods in the whole of Russia, not just Kaliningrad.
Known to the locals as ‘ponchiki’, they became popular during the Soviet era. There form are mostly round, fried balls covered in powdered sugar. They also come with a hole in the middle, much like ringed doughnuts found in the United Kingdom and United States.
You will find them for sale in several kiosks around the city and they usually come served in paper cones.
Mostly deep fried, ponchiki is not something you would want to make a regular part of your diet but as a nice treat, perhaps with a cup of coffee, they make a great snack while enjoying the sights of Kaliningrad during the World Cup.
Stands cooking and selling Shawarma are to be found all over Russia. If you are lucky enough to visit more than one location during the 2018 World Cup, you are sure to see them more than once.
You will find Shawarma in Kaliningrad and if you don’t spot the name on the stand, you will certainly notice the large cut of roasting meat. When you place an order, you will receive cuts of the roasted meat and this is made into a sandwich with additional fillings of your choice.
You can add both vegetables and sauce and together with the meat, these are folded in a wrap or sandwich.
Different types of meat will be available in Kaliningrad including lamb, chicken, turkey, beef and veal. You can even find some spits with mixed meat. There is something for every meat lover who is attending the World Cup.
This is another common street food in Russia and you will find street vendors in Kaliningrad offering baked potato with a great choice of filling.
Baked potato as a street food has become popular in many countries around the world. It may not be a new sight for visitors to Kaliningrad during the World Cup but there is nothing wrong with eating something familiar.
There is a huge choice of fillings available including mushrooms, cheese, butter, salty cheese with dill, salmon and many more.
Don’t be afraid to ask if you are not sure what anything is on the baked potato stalls. If you do not ask, you may miss out on something you would have loved to try.
While enjoying the street food in Kaliningrad, you will need a drink to wash it down. If you want to try an authentic Russian drink on the street, Kvas is a must.
Look out for the large yellow barrels with two wheels and a lady sitting next to it in a small foldable seat. This is where you can buy Kvas in Kaliningrad.
Kvas is a traditional drink made from bread and although the locals do not regard it as being a beer, it is listed in many beer guides around the world as a beer. This drink was very popular during the Soviet era and remains so in Kaliningrad, especially during the summer months. It is also known in Russia and Ukraine as Black Bread.
Kvas looks like a light lager in colour but the alcohol content rarely goes above 1%. That is why Russian’s do not class it as a beer. It simply is not strong enough!
Look out for some sellers who offer different flavours of Kvas including strawberry and mint.
The word ‘pirozhki’ means ‘pie’ in Russian. They were often used to mark celebrations and for each occasion there was a special pie. Today, they are eaten more regularly throughout the year. You are sure to find many street sellers offering them in Kaliningrad during the World Cup.
Pirozhki can come as plain dough or with a choice of fillings including sweet, savoury and sour. Examples of popular fillings include mushrooms, fish, vegetables, rice, onions, fruit and berries.
These are crepe-like pancakes which have been enjoyed in Russia for centuries. Considered the most popular type of Russian street food, you will find stands selling Blini throughout Kaliningrad and possibly outside and even inside the stadium on match day.
They are cooked on a griddle to order and as you wait, you can look at the choice of fillings and use the time to pick the ones you want. You will find a wide range of options from ham, cheese and caviar to jam and honey.
Due to the location of Kaliningrad, you will find some influences from both Lithuania and Poland in the street food.
You may find some of the menus on the boards of the vendors have dishes with Polish names, such as Flyaki. This is a polish soup made from beef tripe. You may also find Polish sausages and Befsztyki, which are minced steaks.
If the summer conditions mean you do not fancy a hot soup, you could try the Lithuanian Borscht. This is a cold soup made with buttermilk, beetroot and often comes with additional cucumber. You can also try Lithuanian zeppelins, which are potato dumplings complete with various fillings including meat, cheese and mushrooms.
You may also find street traders from Lithuania and Poland selling their own brand of beer. The streets of Kaliningrad is a great place to find and try a beer you have never seen before.
Prices of Kaliningrad Street Food
The costs of food when travelling to an event such as the 2018 World Cup depends on where you reside. For some people, the exchange rate can make some things seem expensive. For other people the same item could be cheap.
The people of Kaliningrad take their street food seriously. As such, the quality is very high, especially during the festival.
Prices for food can range from between US$3 for Blini and US$10 for gourmet burgers. Clearly there is a difference between the two types of food and hence the price. However, you should not expect to pay more than US$10 for any of the street food in Kaliningrad. If you look at the price of a gourmet burger elsewhere in the world, you will find Kaliningrad to be very reasonable.
Pride in Their Food
The people of Kaliningrad take great pride in their street food. This is evident in the way they organise great events such as the Kaliningrad Street Food Festival.
The organisers of the city picnic street food weekend in Kaliningrad won an award at the Russian Street Food Awards, which was established by the European Street Food Council.
First place went to Bykov Bar, with their slightly salted Murmansk cod winning over the judges. Second place was awarded to the Dagestan shop and coming in third were Place Dough. They each went to Berlin to represent Russia in the European competition and this says a lot for the high quality of their food.
You are in for a delight
Football fans attending the 2018 World Cup in Kaliningrad are going to enjoy a feast for the senses with the fabulous choice of street available in and around the city. Take the time to look at what’s available and meet the local people as you enjoy some of the best street food to be found anywhere in Russia.