russian-food-vocabulary

Russian Food Vocabulary: 70 Words to Satisfy Your Hanger

Hunger can make you do crazy things.

It can make you hangrily yell at your friends.

It can make you eat foods that you know are digestively dangerous.

It can even make you purposefully speed in front of a cop for the sole purpose of getting pulled over in order to sneak bites of donut from him when he’s not looking.

But when you’re hungry and need to communicate what food you want in Russian, things could get even more dicey.

Without proper preparation, ordering food in Russian could be riskier than eating half a dozen bean burritos with nary a Gas-X in sight.

If you’re trying to teach yourself Russian, it should come as no surprise that Russian food vocabulary is some of the most important vocabulary you could hope to learn.

Russian greetings may help you get through social interactions, but a friendly привет (hi) can only get you so far when your stomach is growling louder than an angry Siberian tiger.

So learn the 70 common food vocabulary words below and prepare to say “приятного аппетита” (“bon appetit”).

But first, we’re going to look at a few useful ways to practice your Russian food vocab.
 


 
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How to Practice Russian Food Vocabulary

Read restaurant menus.

Reading restaurant menus is one of the funnest ways to improve your Russian. You can casually peruse the menus of restaurants in cities you hope to one day visit. You can read the food descriptions, consider what you might like to eat and even imagine how it might taste. But reading restaurant menus is more than just fun: It’s also a great way to learn useful Russian phrases, like those used to describe food.

A simple Google search can help you find restaurant menus in pretty much any major Russian-speaking city. You can even search in English and find some amazing-looking restaurants with websites in Russian.

russian-food-vocabulary

For instance, if you want to fantasize about eating out in Moscow, you might look at the menu for Ресторан Обломов (Restaurant Oblomov). For beginners, it’s a strong choice, because the menu is also available in English. You can have the English and Russian versions of the menu open in separate browser tabs to switch seamlessly between the two if you need to cross reference word meanings.

russian-food-vocabulary

Северяне (Northerners) is another Moscow-based restaurant with an online menu you may want to browse. It also offers PDF menus in both Russian and English. Северяне offers a broader but less descriptive menu than Ресторан Обломов, so is great for learning basic food vocabulary.

Read food magazines.

Russian food magazines can help reinforce the food vocabulary you’ve already learned and even teach you some new terms you never knew you needed.

russian-food-vocabulary

Российский продовольственный рынок (Russian Food Market) is a great online magazine for Russian learners. Articles are available in both English and Russian (the English versions still show Russian-language graphics, but the text itself is in English). The vocabulary used is more advanced, but since this food magazine focuses largely on the food industry in Russia, you’ll get some valuable insight into food trends and how they affect the overall market.

Read Russian recipes.

Reading recipes in Russian is a quick, easy way to reinforce your Russian food vocabulary. While there tend to be fewer complete sentences in recipes, you’ll find plenty of ingredient lists you can peruse whenever you have just a couple minutes.

russian-food-vocabulary

Еда (Food) is a Russian website with lots of great recipes. You can even filter by the type of dish. Recipes frequently feature a video, a brief description of the dish, a recipe list and preparation instructions. For instance, the recipe for тонкие блины на молоке (thin pancakes on milk) can help you practice some basic food words and teach you to make a crepe-like treat.

Study Russian-language food videos on FluentU.

russian-food-vocabulary

FluentU takes real-world videos—like movie trailers, news, cooking videos, inspiring talks and more—and turns them into personalized language lessons. Check out the “Health and Lifestyle” and “Culture” categories for videos like “Mushrooms That Russians Eat,” “Russian Cottage Cheese Pancakes” and “Holiday Food the Russian Way.”

Watching food videos with FluentU’s interactive captions and taking advantage of the corresponding custom quizzes will give you a chance to practice basic food vocabulary and pick up more and more advanced words along the way.

Приятного А​ппетита! 70 Tasty Russian Food Vocabulary Words

Fruits & Vegetables

Фрукт — fruit

Овощ — vegetable

Яблоко — apple

Апельсин — orange

Банан — banana

Виноград — grape(s)

Виноград is a trickster. It’s used to refer to a singular grape or multiple grapes, sort of like the English word “deer.” You can also use виноградина if you want to clarify that you’re just talking about one grape. If you want to make it super clear you’re talking about a bunch of grapes, you can use гроздь винограда.

Груша — pear

Клубника — strawberry

Малина — raspberry

Вишня / Черешня — cherry

Вишня and черешня are two different types of cherry. Вишня refers to a sour or tart cherry. Черешня refers to a sweet cherry. You’re much more likely to encounter черешня, so this is the more important word to remember.

Картошка / Картофель — potato(es)

Potatoes are a big deal in Russia, so it should come as no surprise that they go by a variety of names. Two common words are картошка and картофель, both of which can be used to refer to just one potato or multiple potatoes. No need to pluralize here!

Помидор — tomato

Лук — onion

Чеснок — garlic

Перец — pepper

Капуста — cabbage

Морковь — carrot

Брокколи — broccoli

Цветная капуста — cauliflower

Note that the phrase for “cauliflower” builds off the word капуста, which means cabbage, a close relative of the cauliflower. In fact, цветная капуста literally means “colored cabbage.”

Огурец — cucumber

Баклажан — eggplant

Свекла — beet

Салат — lettuce

If you like your greens, салат is a super useful word. It can mean “lettuce” or “salad.”

Гриб — mushroom

Grains

Крупа — grain

Мука — flour

Хлеб — bread

Рис — rice

Каша — kasha

While kasha might not be as well-known in the English-speaking world, it’s very popular in Eastern Europe. In the United States, the word usually refers to buckwheat. However, in Russia, it can refer to a variety of different grain-based porridges that may be savory or sweet.

Dairy/Egg

Сыр — cheese

Масло — butter

Мороженое — ice cream

Яйцо — egg

Meats

Мясо — meat

Говядина — beef

Курица — chicken

Свинина — pork

Бекон — bacon

Колбаса — sausage

Рыба — fish

Морепродукты — seafood

Краб — crab

Креветка — shrimp

Икра — caviar

Desserts

Десерт — dessert

Кекс — cake

Торт — pie/tart

Конфета — candy

Конфета can refer to all sorts of different candy. Want to get more specific? Chocolate fans can ask for шоколад.

Common Dishes

Блин — pancake

Блин is the Russian word for “pancake.” However, pancakes in Russia are usually distinctly different from American pancakes. They’re thin and may be eaten with either sweet or savory fillings, sort of like a crepe. The plural, блины, is also widely used and may sound more familiar to native English speakers, since this term is often used in the United States, too.

Пицца — pizza

Сэндвич / Сандвич / Бутерброд — sandwich

Сэндвич and сандвич are both used, though сэндвич is more common. You might also see бутерброд, though this usually refers to an open-faced sandwich.

Гамбургер — hamburger

Суп — soup

There are a lot of popular soups in Russia. You may encounter щи (“shchi,” a cabbage-based soup), борщ (“borscht,” a beetroot soup) and countless other variations on the beloved dish.

Beverages

Напиток — beverage

Вода — water

Молоко — milk

Кофе — coffee

Чай — tea

Сок — juice

Вино — wine

Пиво — beer

Водка — vodka

Other

Соль — salt

Сахар — sugar

Черный перец — black pepper

You’ll notice this reuses a word that appeared earlier in the list, перец. However, in this context, it refers to the common seasoning rather than the vegetable.

Орех — nut

Арахис — peanut

Грецкий орех — walnut

Лесной орех — hazelnut

Миндаль — almond

 

Don’t succumb to hanger.

Study these 70 Russian food vocabulary words and satisfy your appetite for learning.

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