Riga, Latvia

  • Date
  • 9 September 1999

Latvian population: 2.5 million. Fifty-sever percent are Latvian, 40% Russian speaking, 2% Lithuanian and 1% Polish.

Riga population is 850,000.

The Latvian President makes US $25,000.

Latvian food is heavily influenced by German cuisine, as is Estonian food. Some Latvian dishes:

RUPJMAIZE, dark rye bread, is the most popular and is sometimes sprinkled with nuts and raisins.

SKABA PUTRA, sour barley soup, is served cold with sour cream and barley.

PIRAGI, dumplings, most times made with onions and bacon, are used in many dishes.

CUKAS GALERTS is the best kind of Latvian pork.

SKABIE KAPOSTI, sauerkraut, is a required side order.

KARTUPEJI, potatoes, must be present for a meal to be complete.

KLINGERIS, for special occasions, is a pretzel-shaped pastry with saffron and filled with almonds and raisins.

ALDARIS, Latvia’s most popular beer brand, is smooth tasting.

Dinner at Staburags, Alus Krogs (Beer Restaurant). Seven of us drank Aldaris Latvian beer and ordered many Latvian dishes like smoked ribs (pork), peas with bacon, potatoes with bacon, salads, garlic bread on Latvian brown bread and pickled cucumbers.

The peas with bacon dish was splendid. It’s easy to prepare as long as you have a connection to the right peas and bacon. You need gray peas (only from Latvia), which you boil. In a separate skillet, fry special Latvian bacon (thick, small cubed pieces including the fat) with onions. Once peas are finished cooking, place them in a plate and pour bacon, onions and a little grease from the meat over the peas. Then devour!