Cities Journal
Globe Trotter

A Brief Guide To Latvian Cuisine

In our new Globe Trotter series, Viral Travel reviews all the best places to see, eat, and stay at, in every country of the world!

This week we visit: Latvia

Latvian traditional cuisine has been largely influenced by food from neighboring countries, especially those in the Baltic region. Dishes are mostly based on meat and crops, and fish is particularly popular due to the Latvia’s geographical location.

The most common ingredients used in national recipes include potatoes, wheat, barley, cabbage, eggs, onions and pork. Hearty and filling, meals are usually high in fat and butter. Since they are also low in spices, people used to Mediterranean cuisine might find Latvian food somewhat lacking and tasteless, whereas folks from Midwest U.S. and England will have no problem getting used to their dishes.

Some of the specialties you should definitely try include kotletes (meat patties), zupa (beet soup or sorrel soup), pīrāgi (pastry filled with bacon and onions), rupjmaize (dark rye bread), rasols (potato salad with eggs, gherkins, bacon, sausage and other ingredients), karbonāde (breaded pork chops) and kartupeļu pankūkas (potato pancakes).

Favorite alcoholic beverages are beer, vodka and balsam (herbal liqueur made with different natural ingredients mixed in vodka). Riga’s Black Balsam has been produced since 1700, and though the exact recipe is unknown, some of the ingredients include ginger, oak bark, bitter orange peel and cognac.

RELATED: Top 3 Must-See Attractions In Wonderful Latvia

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