Snacks In Russia: No Challenge At All

food in saint petersburg, russia

Running from one destination to another, one may notice their stomach crying out for some food supplies. How to make a quick choice and get precisely what is needed?

It may be an option to plan in advance – almost everybody shops for food before a long excursion!

Where to go on food shopping


Russian supermarkets are organized in a very similar way to American and European ones. You will find clearly marked sections, some of which contain such widely known products as chocolate bars and biscuits. Naturally, the majority of them are made in Russia: don’t be afraid to try something unusual, it can become a favorite Russian snack! For instance, a lot of foreign tourists happily discover oatmeal cookies for themselves. Being very common in Russia, this snack is inexpensive and easy-to-find. There is also a chance that you will be able to find the snacks you are accustomed to, especially if they are made by big companies. The products in supermarkets are usually quality, but you should check the use-by date.

Grocery stores

Grocery stores are very widely spread in cities. Some of them look like smaller models of supermarkets: you pick everything you need and then head to the cash register. Others have the products displayed in showcases and at shelves, so that you need to address a saleswoman behind the counter. It is appropriate to ask her whether there is a product you want or details about it. The choice of goods is smaller than in a supermarket, but basic products like bread and yoghurts are always there for you.

Food open markets saint petersburg russia

Open markets

An unforgettable place to visit! At the sight of an open market some people are reminded of Spain and excited about the possibility of buying kilograms of organic food for very little money. Others run helter-skelter in an attempt to avoid being pushed or shouted at by elderly ladies (babushkas) on their food shopping.

An open market looks like an assembly of tents inhabited by sellers, who are frequently manufacturers themselves. Being objective, I would say that not everyone from overseas feels comfortable there if unaided. Customers are rather noisy and sellers may get intrusive. Even though some of them are willing to give a really valuable piece of advice, it is sometimes hard to tell one from emphatic advertising. However, if you feel confident about choosing products with somebody chattering at your site, an open market will be a great option. Mostly, people in tents sell fresh fruit (which can serve as snacks on a journey) and vegetables.

In most cases you can find specialized stalls (a small stall = “kiosk”) nearby. Those are supplied by manufacturers (small or average companies specializing on something in particular). Therefore, countermen are indifferent towards the sales volume and leave you on your own.

A stall that sells dairy products is a great destination. You may want to stock up sandwiches with thick slices of cheese or some sweetened cottage cheese with natural dried fruit.

Not very long ago an unusually dressed middle-aged man with strong accent caused the build-up of a long line in front of a milk stall in my area. He bought 1.5 kilograms of cottage cheese, 3 cans of sour cream and 2 kilograms of cheese. Indeed, Russian dairy products are known to be perfectly organic and extremely tasty.

You can also find stalls with fresh bakery – everything from patties to rye bread with bran.

A place to sit down for a minute

Naturally, there are cases when one does not have time to buy food in advance or it is unreasonable to carry it around (for instance, while walking in a city centre).

When the time comes, it will be an idea to decide whether it is possible to spend half an hour at a place or you must grab the snacks and hit the road (to be in time for the bus, train, plane, personal sedan chair…)

The first variant is that the personal sedan chair has not yet arrived and there is some spare time to devote to exploring how life tastes right where you are. If so, you may want to attend one of those famous Russian establishments – “stolovaya” (it is similar to a school canteen).

Canteens (stolovaya)

Remarkably, they are very affordable, convenient and safe. In other words, the quality of food is decent, but you hardly have to pay more than the ingredients of a dish cost. A stolovaya usually includes two areas: the first is where clients gather to buy their food; the second is where they settle down to consume it. The menu is quite predictable, and from what can be eaten fast there are salads and soups (yes, the famous Russian borscht will also be there!). To get hold of a dish, you should ask a member of staff to put one or another kind of food (everything is displayed in showcases) on your plate. It will be weighted for you to pay – the whole procedure takes a short time.

stolovaya in saint petersburg

Old canteens usually have their dining areas painted in light colors with minimum of extra decoration. However, the modern ones can look very stylish and include unusual furniture.


Another option is a small café where some dishes are cooked in advance so that you can choose and have it straight away. A small café-bakery called Pirogoviy Dvorik on the street Naberezhnaya kanala Griboyedova (near Kazan Kathedral) in St. Petersburg serves as an example. Freshly baked vegetable and meat pies are being cut in triangles and bought up in a few moments along with sweet buns. There are also cafes that serve Russian pancakes with fillings and syrup.

cafe saint petersburg

You can even drop in at one of the atmospheric places of St. Petersburg: the café PirO.G.I. at Naberezhnaya Fontanki will allow you not only to have a bit to eat (the menu also includes various bakery) but to catch a glimpse of novelties of Russian music and cinema.


The menu of a Russian McDonald’s is slightly different from the American version. Unfortunately, there are far less salads and special breakfast dishes. On the plus side, these establishments are rather widely spread, so you have an opportunity to pick up what is familiar. You may also have something wrapped in one of those lovely eco-friendly bags to take with you.

How to find anything edible immediately

Even if you are attacked by hunger right in the middle of the street, there are several options to choose from.

Needless to say, a supermarket or a grocery store (with the latter more likely to be found) in the vicinity will definitely improve things. In case there are none, you can always look for the following:

Street stalls

Street stalls are all very different. Some sell only juices, chocolate bars, ice cream and chips while other have a whole menu of salads, sandwiches and even soups. In a stall of the second type you will be able to find a fresh packaged vegetable salad you can eat right there (standing at a table beside the stall) or take with you. To turn to the first type, a box of low-sugar cookies or a package of cereal cushions seem to be the most appropriate options.

street food in saint petersburg

Sometimes a stall in the street may be similar to what you find at an open market, with fresh products of a particular kind from manufacturers. However, they are rarely situated in a city center.

To make the long story short, somebody unaccustomed will not die from hunger in a Russian city. Instead of that, they may even find new, inimitable and inspiring tastes and flavors. The small adventures are awaiting now.

When searching for the place to have lunch in St Petersburg use Geo Tag with and enjoy the city!

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