Blini, pirozhki and shashlyk are three common Russian foods that are similar to many other types of food found in other countries. Blini is a crepe or pancake that Russians top with cheese, jam, onions, caviar and other foods. Pirozhki is a pastry filled with cabbage, meat, potatoes or cheese. Shashlyk is similar to a kebab, containing vegetables, meats or a combination of the two.
Beet soup, called borshch, is a popular soup served in Russia. Despite its name, borshch contains the complex flavors of several vegetables and meat served with a healthy dollop of smetana, also known as sour cream. Another popular soup made with sauerkraut, called kislye shchi, varies by region and can contain meat or just vegetables. Russians often serve this soup with potatoes.
Russians also favor zakuski, which are known as hors d'oeuvre or appetizers. Sometimes a table of different zakuski is the entire meal, similar to tapas in Spain. If eaten as a meal, the table often contains a mixture of cold sandwiches, vinegrets, salads, cheeses, meats and egg dishes, in addition to hot dishes of pastries, fish, meat, eggs and other foods. Sandwiches, called zakrytye buterbrody, are usually two small pieces of buttered bread filled with herring, sausage, caviar, egg or cheese. Salads, called salaty, can be a mixture of raw vegetables, cooked or pickled vegetables, fruits, meats, or even poached or salted fish.