Russian Language Blog

Russian Breakfast: Not What You’d Think? Posted by on Oct 28, 2014 in Culture

One of the first things I noticed upon coming to America many years ago were the differences in what people ate for breakfast. The breakfast that I was used to eating could not easily be found – at first. Breakfast cereals seemed to be omnipresent. Visiting the local grocery store was interesting because there always seemed to be an entire aisle – sometimes on both sides – devoted to hot and cold cereals. When my husband first visited Russia, he automatically assumed that his breakfasts would include some selection of these cereals; he was surprised. It is worth noting that Americanized breakfasts can be found in hotels and resorts though.

During my life in Russia, I always had sandwiches and tea or coffee, for breakfast. The sandwiches consisted mainly of some variety of white bread or rye bread, butter, and whatever type of cheese or meat we could afford, mostly bologna or salami. The bologna we had, as well as the bread and cheese, were different from the Wonder Bread, Eckrich, and Kraft cheese varieties that seemed so prevalent in America. The white bread we ate was not soft and spongy – like so much of it here. The cheese we ate was usually a hard cheese, quite unlike Kraft Singles. It was not until I had been in America for a while that I found the right places to get similar breads and cheeses/meats for breakfast. As far as beverages went, it was not too difficult procuring a good black or green tea.

Russians typically do not eat anything sweet for breakfast – I am talking about breakfast cereals, pastries, and things like that. Fruit and juices can also be added to this list. Breads with some type of meat, like bologna or sausage are common. Children often eat a type of porridge made from semolina, which is essentially the same stuff that goes into cream of wheat; oatmeal is fairly common too. This is often sweetened and can be made with milk or water. On weekends, we would occasionally make eggs for breakfast. They could be cooked similarly to how people in America eat them. Some Russians like to eat theirs with mayonnaise; this never really appealed to me though.

When my husband and I first lived together, he thought that what I ate for breakfast was not very appetizing; in kind, I couldn’t eat those artificially flavored and sweetened breakfast cereals without complaining. After coming back from our first trip to Russia, he was a fan of our typical breakfast choice; in fact, he rarely eats cereal anymore. Never underestimate the power of a woman 🙂 !

Tags: , ,
Keep learning Russian with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Jenya

Born in Russia, I spent the first twenty years of my life in Orenburg, Russia and Mogilev, Belarus. For the last eleven years, I've lived in New Hampshire and Michigan, US. While I continue to absorb and adapt to American culture, I am always thrilled to share my Russian heritage with those who find it interesting. Travel, photography and art play a special part in my life. Twitter: @iamnx2u


  1. Julian Stevens:

    So like reading your articles , keep up the good work , Спасибо !!

    • Jenya:

      @Julian Stevens Julian, glad to hear! I am always open to topic suggestions. Feel free to share ideas for future posts!

  2. Nelieta:

    Great article! I have been married to a Russian for 7 years and I love the Russian bread. We often eat Kasha and blini is one of my favourites!


    • Jenya:

      @Nelieta Nelieta, thanks for sharing! I love bliny myself; as a matter of fact, I am making some this week 🙂

  3. Johnnette O:

    I have been married to a Russian man for 20 years (lived 6 of those years in Russia). One of the things I love about Russian breakfast is that you can make anything for breakfast. My favorite is the after holiday salad leftovers. Nothing like Salat Olivi, schuba, and all the others first thing in the morning with a hot cup of tea.

  4. HAL:

    I chuckled reading your article. It was pretty much exactly the same for my (Russian) wife and me (American). We lived together three years in Russia and now have been in USA for six. Breakfast can go either way for us now.

    • Jenya:

      @HAL Thank you Hal,
      It can go either way for my son and I as well, my husband, however, stays true to his American heritage and eats mostly cold or hot cereals :-).

  5. Ken:

    One observation I had was that toast, which is a staple of American breakfasts, seemed to be virtually unknown. It’s been a few years since I’ve been there so I don’t know if that’s changed. I think I did see it in a hotel dining room that catered to international travelers.

    Another observation, not specifically related to breakfast but you mentioned bread. When you order bread in an American restaurant or it comes with a meal, you almost always will get butter to go with it. I found in Russian restaurants I had to ask for it.

    The other observation about breakfast: if I wanted to drink coffee with my breakfast as I usually do, I would have to tell them to bring it along with the food, otherwise they would wait until afterwards.

  6. Reuben:

    Help, Help. I have been to Russia many times. Every where from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, I always eat for breakfast a hot cereal that looks like oatmeal, but it is not oatmeal. It is so good but I always forget to ask for its name. Can any one tell all the different cereals russians eat for breakfast?