I recently had the opportunity to visit Riga, Latvia and was excited to try the local ethnic foods. One of the first things that I tried was a dish called “sklandrausis”, which is a traditional Latvian pastry made from a sweet dough and filled with a variety of sweet or savory fillings, such as cottage cheese, berries or meat. The dough was flaky and buttery, and the filling was delicious and had a perfect balance of sweet and savory.
Another popular dish that I tried was “gray peas with bacon”, which is a traditional Latvian comfort food. The peas were cooked until they were soft and tender, and the bacon added a nice smoky flavor. It was simple, hearty and satisfying.
I also had the chance to try some traditional Latvian soups, such as “zupa” and “borscht”, which are hearty and comforting. Both soups were made with a variety of vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and beets, and were often served with a dollop of sour cream. The soups were comforting and a perfect to warm up on a cold day.
Latvian cuisine has a lot of influences from neighboring countries like Poland, Germany, and Russia. Historically, many Latvian dishes were created from simple and affordable ingredients, such as potatoes, grains and berries, which were available in abundance. However, with more exposure to international cuisine, Latvian cuisine has evolved to include more diverse ingredients and flavors.
Borscht is a traditional soup that is commonly found in Latvia and other Eastern European countries. It is typically made with beets as the main ingredient, which gives the soup its characteristic deep red color. The beets are usually cooked with other vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, onions, and cabbage, and sometimes meat such as beef or pork is added. The soup is then seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices, such as dill and bay leaves.
Traditionally, borscht is served hot and is often accompanied by a dollop of sour cream, which adds a nice tangy contrast to the sweetness of the beets. In Latvia, borscht is a popular comfort food, often served during the colder months as a warm and filling meal.
Borscht has a long tradition in Latvia and other Eastern European countries. It is believed to have originated in Ukraine and spread throughout the region. The soup was traditionally made with whatever ingredients were available, and it was a way to stretch out a small amount of meat to feed a large family. The beetroot was one of the most affordable and available vegetable in the region and was used to make the broth, that’s why it’s so popular.
Nowadays, borscht is still a popular dish in Latvia, it’s a staple food in many households and can be found on the menu of many traditional restaurants. It’s not only comforting, but it’s also nutritious, and it’s a great way to enjoy the local flavors and tradition.
Overall, my experience with the food in Riga was amazing. The flavors were unique and delicious, and it was fascinating to learn about the history and influences behind the cuisine. I would definitely recommend trying some of these traditional dishes if you ever have the opportunity to visit Riga.