Travel Like A Local: Moscow’s Markets
MIR’s John Seckel has lived in Moscow, Russia for nearly two decades. In that time he’s cooked many meals with ingredients fresh from the local market. But as John explains, there are more than just veggies for sale.
Coming from a very small town in Wisconsin, when I needed eggs, I went out to the barn and collected them from the chicken coop. When I wanted to eat chicken, I opened up one of our two gigantic freezers and pulled out a chicken that was raised on our farm. Apples or cherries or pears or mulberries were plucked off one of the many trees in the yard and vegetables came from the garden. That’s not to say that we didn’t go to the supermarket at all, just that much came from our own gardens and farm.
Nowadays hypermarkets have forced many local markets to close, and malls with major brand names and food courts are popping up like mushrooms after a good rain. The markets that do still exist have had to keep up with the times and modernize. Buildings have been built to house what used to be in a tent or just lines and lines of fold-up tables piled with goods sitting under the open sky. Digital scales and cash registers are replacing simple hand-held calculators and scales.
Of the markets that has survived in Moscow, Dorogomilovsky Market is one of the most famous and very much worth a stop. Check out the rows and rows of fresh produce. Maybe you’ll find something that you aren’t used to seeing at home, such as the slightly sour, but very healthy feijoa fruit that most likely came from the Sochi region, or some pickled wild garlic (called cheremsha) or Allium ursinum, that goes great with some ice-cold vodka.
Or what about tasting some pine nuts that came from Siberia or oil made from those pine nuts? If you have never tried marinated Russian mushrooms, you haven’t tried mushrooms. If you are looking for something more exotic, such as hippophae, now is your chance. Even though Customs back in your home country might not let you through something fresh, why not try just a sample? The Russian market awaits you!
You can taste all kinds of Russian foods on MIR’s scheduled tours to Russia, from upscale restaurant cuisine to fresh apples and marinated mushrooms in the local markets. MIR has a mouth-watering, award-winning tour that foodies will love, A Chronicle of Russian Cuisine and Culture, that includes visits to the kinds of local Russian markets that John writes about.
Top photo: Strategy at Izmailovo Market in Moscow, Russia. Photo credit: Helen Holter
PUBLISHED: January 25, 2016