Latvia: Food & Drink
The cuisine of Latvia tends to be healthy and hearty and, like many European countries, it has been influenced by its neighbouring nations. Meat is a regular part of most meals in Latvia including game like beaver, deer, boar, and duck. However, the most commonly used meat is pork. Potatoes are another mainstay in Latvia and accompany nearly all Latvian dishes in some form or another. With its Baltic Sea coastline, it is not surprising the fish is a big part of the country’s diet. Many consider smoked fish to be a delicacy here. Finally, Latvia is a great producer of milk products and one should not miss the opportunity to taste some fresh cheese when they visit. While Latvian food is quite traditional, Riga, the capital city, hosts a great deal of international cuisine.
Popular dishes include:
Grey Peas with Bacon: This is one of the most traditional hot dishes found in Latvia. This dish contains grey peas that have been boiled and then fried with bacon. It can be served with sour cream and can either be a snack or also a main meal.
Rasols: This is a salad dish that consists of cubes of potato, ham and gherkin that are covered in cream.
Sklandrausis: A sweet pie made from mashed carrots and potatoes that is baked in a rye flour crust.
Karbonāde: These are breaded pork chops.
Kartupelu pankūkas: These potato pancakes can be served with either sour cream or lingonberry jam.
Cottage Cheese: As mentioned, Latvia is a great producer of dairy products. One such specialty is cottage cheese. There are different varieties and it can be prepared and served in different ways including with pancakes or mixed with cream.
Rye Bread: This is considered the most popular bread in Latvia and there are different types made with different vegetables or dried fruits.
Imported beer is available in Latvia, but popular local brews include Aldaris and Cesu. A popular liqueur is Riga Black Balsam. If ordering tea and coffee in Latvia, it usually comes black.
Things to know:
Tips are usually included in restaurant bills, but anything extra for good service is appreciated.
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