Kremlin Menu Watch, Part 3

You may not be a man like Putin, but you can try to eat like him. Here are some excerpts from the news on his presidential feasts in the Kremlin and in other parts of the Empire.

Vladimir Putin on a fishing trip in Krasnoyarsk Territory
What does Vladimir Putin eat? – Vladimir Putin on a fishing trip in Krasnoyarsk Territory – Photograph courtesy of Russia’s Presidential Press and Information Office

You may have heard the news of our Man of Action catching a giant 40+ lb pike during his photo op trip to Siberia last month:

The Kremlin insists it was a fair catch, and the fish was turned into pike steaks for Mr President and his Prime Minister. As for those who question the actual weight of the fish, we can do quick check: Putin is 5’7″ (= 67″) tall, the fish is no more than about 2/3 of his height (= 45″), and depending on which northern pike length-to-weight chart or formula you choose, a fish of that size weighs 22 lb to 29 lb. Conclusion: the official weight of 46 lb seems a bit exaggerated!

So what does Vladimir Putin eat these days?

An article here tells us a bit more about what was on the menu during the Siberian trip. Upon his arrival in Chita, the President chose a quick snack of vegetables, boiled tongue, and potato pancakes before a late meeting. Not just any potato pancakes though, but pancakes with Baikal omul and omul caviar, a specialty of local restaurant Zabaikalye.

During a more formal dinner at the same eatery, he was served a “Cossack circle” of game (check out the pictures of gargantuan round platters on the web site), consisting of stuffed quail, wild goat tongues, venison and boar sausages, “and much more”. This sounds like heaven to me, but we’re told that the restaurant’s honorable guest preferred a buryat dish called buuza (a steamed dumpling filled with meat that’s not very different from Central Asian Manty), and even ordered seconds. For dessert, a strudel of cowberries, sea buckthorns and black currants was much appreciated.

Here’s a video version of the article (in Russian):

When he’s not playing He-Man in Siberia, the head of state likes to spend summer at his dacha in Sochi (how original). An older article from Komsomolskaya Pravda sheds some light on what he eats there. Cooks at the Bocharov Stream dacha are usually not very talkative, but the scoop comes from an American traitor who was invited to cook for a large banquet. Michael Thompson, chef at a local luxury hotel, reveals that Putin prefers lamb to beef, fish to meat, red wine to liquor, simple meals to complicated dishes. (I guess he wouldn’t like my blog. Sigh.)

Chef Thompson is willing to share with us one of his creations that made it to the presidential table, but only in a modified version. You see, in Russia, that great protector of authors’ rights, dishes served to high-level officials are “copyrighted” (laugh). The recipe goes something like this:

Presidential Fish Roll

  • Take 1 salmon filet, skin-on and 1 cm-thick (trim off the flesh accordingly), and place on a piece of plastic wrap. Cover with a sheet of nori, and spread some pike-peach mousse 1 cm-thick.
  • Take another sheet of nori, spread some salmon mousse 1 cm-thick, and roll.
  • Place the salmon mousse roll on top of the salmon filet preparation, and roll again.
  • Steam until cooked.

At Sochi’s sanatorium for the presidential administration — according to waitress Irina — Putin likes to have a borscht or some fish and onion rasstegai (open-faced pirozhki) served with a light fish soup.

Apparently, the President’s penchant for seafood has an immediate impact on the local food trends. We learn that during a summit of the Eurasian Economic Community, a dish was served consisting of a whole monkfish stuffed with seafood and injected (yes, with a syringe) with fruit juice — don’t ask me how the juice stayed in there. Another dish popularized by VVP is a fish terrine made of ground salmon, pike-perch, scallop, and monkfish, with a carrot brunoise.

Time will tell if the Vlad’s recent bachelorhood will bring more reports of lavish dinners. In the meantime, here’s an updated summary of his exploits.