Here’s a little taste (hehe) of what the food and drink you can grab on the go in Crimea. Not pictured — all the draft beer, wine and kvas (traditional Russian bread-based soft drink) sold by the glass at small stands all throughout town and along the beach. All the cold beer you want, all day long — how much better can a vacation get?

Deep-fried cheburek and pan-fried yantyk are the two versions of the most ubiquitous street food in Crimea. Both dishes are of Tatar origin, and chebureks are very well-known throughout Russia. They are usually filled with ground meat and onions, and sold pre-made. In Crimea, however, they are done on a totally different level. First of all, you choose the filling of the pastry — usually a combination of meat, local Suloogooni cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms and herbs. Then you choose the cooking method and  it is made in front of you. I only discovered the existence of yantyk in Crimea and I prefer it to cheburek hands-down — not only is it objectively healthier, it doesn’t have that greasy aftertaste of anything deep-fried. And I like mine with cheese, meat and tomatoes, and with a little melted butter poured on top. 
The world went mad for shawarma after 2012’s Avengers, but this Tatar wrap has been a popular fast-food in Russia for ages, and was the go-to after-school meal for me and my sister before I moved to the States.  Once again, in Crimea the dish reaches a new height of freshness and flavor (although I had my mind totally blown by a shawarma in Brussels a month later, you will hear all about that). I like my chicken shawarma with all the usual accoutrements: cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, a little bit of onion, tomato sauce, hot sauce and tangy mayo (though here I went totally mad and added cheese). It’s served in a plastic wrap so it’s a totally easy to take with you to the beach or elsewhere and not get it all over yourself.
A little open-air bakery. The round flat-bread, which is probably most reminiscent of Tandoor bread, is made right in that seafoam-colored oven, alongside some savory pastries, like the meat-stuffed samsathe Tatar cousin of the Indian samosa.
Did you bring your beer to the beach but forgot the snack to go with it? No problem! Here is a mobile vendor with all the smoked fish you might want! If you’re having doubts about whether this kind of thing is sanitary or even sane, join the club. I never bought any of this stuff, nor any of the — seemingly very popular — mussel skewers sold by other vendors.
Need a non-alcoholic refreshment after all those snacks? Stop by one of the milk shake stands. The shakes are light, airy (many places advertize the “oxygen-infused” kind, whatever that means), and flavored with a variety of syrups, such as pear, black currant or melon. For no explainable reason whatsoever the most popular brand, “Sweet Madam” has dancing strippers on the label. Milkshakes – they’re fun for the whole family and a way to teach sexual objectification of women to even the youngest ones in yours!

14 thoughts on “WHAT I ATE IN CRIMEA: Street Food

  1. haha the bottles are so russian… typical.
    btw I ve been reading your last post and Im asking myself if all that pork food is tatar how could that be… arent they supposed to be moslems? are you saying even manty were filled with pork?

      • the fact that they are post soviet and not radical is clear to me. crimea would never be that type of country where you can never buy fork or alcohol. but I believe that tatar national food must have developed centuries ago when they were actually becoming moslem and being pretty religious back in the day. so I wonder how come nearly every dish is pork. arabs or chechens dont have pork dishes for example and to my knowledge the quite relaxed about religion kazahs who certainly buy and produce pork – they dont have ethnic pork dishes either only stuff they adopted from other people. it just feels weird – imagine we go to israel and they sell pork shashliks on the street! with milkshakes)

        • Well,Tatars were quite assimilated with Russians so the religion is not playing a big role in food.Money play a big role though.Thats why they buy a chap pork and buy the halal lamb mostly during the muslim holidays.

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