Countries with the Most Similar Food to Russia

Country Food Similarity Index - Map of Countries with Similar Food to Russia

The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied. 

5 Countries with the Most Similar Food Ingredients to Russia

Russia is the largest country by land area, but it is also one of the coldest on average. As a result, the nation boasts a unique culinary tradition. Given its harsh climate, Russia tends to have hearty and substantial meals able to provide sustenance during long, cold winters.

  1. Ukraine is Russia’s neighbor. Both countries are predominately Orthodox Christian countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. One of the most iconic dishes that both countries share is Borscht. Other shared delights include Pirozhki (small stuffed buns) and Pelmeni (dumplings filled with meat or mushrooms), which are slightly different but equally popular in both nations.
  2. Belarus borders both Russia and Ukraine. It is yet another predominately Orthodox Christian country that was once part of the Soviet Union. Draniki, potato pancakes often served with sour cream, are eaten in both countries. However, one difference is that Belarus tends to incorporate potatoes in their meals more. Additionally, soups like okroshka and borscht are popular in their cuisines.
  3. Czech Republic is another Slavic country in Eastern Europe, although it was never part of the Soviet Union. Dumplings are a common element in both cuisines. However, the Czech version is are larger and fluffier. Dishes with pork are also extremely popular in these countries, but Russia tends to eat more chicken on average.
  4. Sweden‘s climate is quite similar to Russia’s. Both have extremely cold winters due to their northern latitudes. Their food ingredients are also similar. The tradition of pickled and preserved foods is strong in both of these country’s cuisines. Fish, such as salmon and pole are commonly consumed in Russia and Sweden as well.
  5. Lithuania is another country on this list that borders the Baltic Sea. Their dishes are often made from potatoes, grains, and dairy products. Kugelis, a Lithuanian potato dish, is reminiscent of Russian potato casseroles. Both cuisines also have an abundance of wheat and rye breads. Beet soups are commonly consumed in these countries as well.

Related: The 10 Most Similar Countries to Russia

5 Countries with the Least Similar Food Ingredients to Russia

All five countries with the least similar food to Russia are located in Africa. Interestingly enough four of the five are landlocked as well. The climate in these countries is also significantly warmer. This affects what type of crops are grown in these countries. Moreover, these countries are much less developed than Russia. Potatoes and wheat products are not as commonly eaten in these countries.

  1. Chad is a landlocked country in the middle of Africa that is mostly Muslim. As a result, pork is not nearly as widely consumed there. Furthermore, sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains in Chad. These crops are well adapted to the Sahel’s harsh climate.
  2. Democratic Republic of Congo is mostly rainforest, so its climate is much hotter and humid than Russia’s. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country, an ingredient that is not commonly seen in Russia. The most commonly eaten meat in Congo is freshwater fish, whereas chicken and pork are more popular in Russia.
  3. South Sudan is to the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is another country where cassava is the staple food, however the country eats its share of sorghum as well. Peanuts and sesame seeds are also commonly parts of their cuisine, unlike in Russia.
  4. Central African Republic is another former French colony on this list. Cassava and yam are two of the most commonly eaten staple ingredients in the country. Furthermore, taro and bananas make up a much greater share of the diet in Central African Republic than in Russia.
  5. Burundi is yet another French-speaking African country on this list. It is located in the tropical regions of Africa. Its diet is in large part based on cassava, sweet potatoes, plantains, and bananas. Furthermore, freshwater fish is the country’s biggest source of meat.

Related: The 10 Least Similar Countries to Russia

Full Food Similarity Ranking of Countries and Territories

Russia’s Most Common Food Ingredients

Protein: Chicken, Pork
Fruit: Apple, Banana
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Wheat, Potato

Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

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