Belarusian cuisine has a rich and interesting history. It traces its roots back hundreds years ago to medieval times of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The geographical location of modern Belarus was always a melting pot of different peoples and cultures. Belarusian, Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, Jewish, Lithuanian, Latvian and Tartar cuisines have boiled together and created a gastronomical mix that has become what Belarusian cuisine is now.
The foundation of modern Belarusian cuisine is built on eating habits of Belarusian peasants from western eastern parts of Belarus with addition of dishes common among urban dwellers which are mostly based on Polish and Jewish cuisine. As a result Belarusian cuisine has developed its own unique set of popular dishes and cooking techniques which cannot be found in neighboring countries.
Here are some of the most popular dishes:
A traditional Belarusian dinner must always start with a soup. Hearty soups made from beetroots or cabbage are popular, as well as simple meat-based bouillons. Summertime visitors should definitely try khaladnik, a chilled version of the beetroot borshch. Make your soup a meal by nibbling on a few pieces of the ubiquitous rye bread.
This much-loved Belarusian national dish shows the region’s historic Jewish influence - draniki are essentially potato latkes, though who influenced who is still under debate! To make draniki, grated potatoes, mixed with flour and egg, are formed into small pancakes and shallow fried. They can be stuffed or served with a variety of toppings including mushrooms, pork, sour cream (often sweetened with sugar), poppy seeds, or fruit.