Belarusian staples include bread, potatoes, cabbage and pork. Patties and pies are also very common. Food used to be cooked over a hot clay stove, so many traditional dishes are slowly baked or stewed.

 Belarusians traditionally eat a light breakfast and two fairly hearty meals. Breakfast might consist of a sandwich and coffee. Lunch, at three in the afternoon, is usually soup, salad and a main course. Supper, around eight in the evening, is a larger meal.

 Pork is the most popular meat in Belarus, although beefsteak is also common. A traditional dish is kotleta po krestyansky, pork cutlets served in mushroom sauce. Machanka is a sauce served with various meat and pancake dishes. Freshwater fish such as perch and crayfish are plentiful and served in many restaurants. A common soup in Belarus is shtchi. Made from sauerkraut, potatoes and fried onions, it is usually served with sour cream.

Belarusians enjoy kalachi, a small loaf of white bread made in the shape of a padlock. However, most people eat rye bread, because rye is more plentiful in Belarus than wheat. The country's short wet summers make it difficult to grow wheat, and most wheat is imported.
  Did you know?
Presenting bread and salt to a visitor is a traditional form of hospitality in Belarus.
Potatoes grow throughout the country. Belarusians eat them in a variety of ways. They may be baked in the embers of a fire, then sprinkled with salt and eaten with butter. They may be grated and made into dumplings, which are stuffed with mushrooms or vegetables and baked in the oven. They may be formed into pancakes called dranniki, which are fried with mushrooms and served with sour cream.

 Mushrooms are often ingredients in stuffings, sauces or fillings. Popular dishes include hrybi u smyatane (mushrooms with sour cream) and hrybnoy sup (mushroom soup). Most households preserve and pickle fruits and vegetables for the winter months when there is a shortage of fresh produce.

 Byarozovysok, or birch juice, is a popular drink. It tastes like a non-alcoholic ice wine. Other common drinks are kvas, which is made from malt, flour, sugar, mint and fruit, and compot, which is made from boiling dried fruit with sugar.

  Mushroom Salad

 40 g dried mushrooms
200 g beef liver
2 salted cucumbers
3 onions
2 eggs 
150 ml mayonnaise
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Pepper and salt to taste


 Wash dried mushrooms 3 or 4 times, soak them in cold water for 2 to 3 hours to swell, then wash them again. Strain the water that the mushrooms have been soaking in, then boil the mushrooms in it. Boil beef liver, cool it and cut it into very small pieces. Fry an onion in oil. Add the onion, liver, slices of salted cucumbers, and half the mayonnaise to the boiled, chopped mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Before serving, pour the rest of the mayonnaise on top.