Anybody have any experience with Russian cuisine? I'm going to be in St. Petersburg for 10 days in September and am wondering what the food is like? I fully intend to enjoy my time there so I'm not going to sweat it if I can't stay 100% paleo. I'm just wondering is it going to be easy to find paleoish foods among the local cuisine? Or are they famous for their breads and pastries maybe? I have no idea what they eat. Borscht is the only thing that comes to mind when I think of Russia. That sounds pretty paleo now that I think about it though.
I was in Moscow for six months. You can pretty much eat any style you want. Just don't expect the meat in general to be nearly as good as in the US/Western Europe (unless you eat at a fancy and generally very expensive restaurant). Otherwise, at least in Moscow, you can get just about anything you want.
Fish is something they have an abundance of, and many varieties I had never heard of or eaten before. Pork fat (salo) is a mainstay and very tasty. I love the stuff.
Expect to experience a lot of culture shock. For example, customer service seems to be a bad word in Russia. If you look and act like a stupid/silly foreigner, expect to pay higher prices unless you shop at a standard retail market. Best to have some grip on the language or a friend with you who can guide you as you eat/shop. Best to find a good source of ex-pat information for many things that while available aren't necessarily available in your average store. I am a member of an ex-pat forum for Moscow that was of immense help in many areas.
Kindness and courteousness go a long way and the best way to demonstrate that is by at least speaking their language for little things like hello, thank you, I'm lost, etc. They will know you are a foreigner and will appreciate your attempts to communicate in their language.
In short, you can do "paleo" however you define it, but it may take some work and effort to do it well. And no, you don't have to eat the bread/pastries and other crap that is also readily available just like any western market, unless you want to.
[i'm pretty sure you can eat 'paleo' (in a broad sense) anywhere in the world: even 'vegan' can be 'paleo', and fasting is the ultimate paleo]
as for russia:
if your definition of paleo includes dairy, you can find a good assortment of dairy products in retail stores/supermarkets or at the 'farmers market' (that must be as organic/free range/grass fed as you can get in russia)
if there is nothing but fast food: skip pirozhki / bulochki / vatrushki / belyashi / shaurmi or any other pastry stuff, and go for "shashlik" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shashlik)
and a warning: note that most russian recipes for burgers/meat patties (= called "kotleta") call for adding bread to the ground meat, thus even if it is not 'breaded' on the outside it does not necessarily mean they have no bread inside (perhaps this 'stealth breading' practice began in the soviet period when meat was a scarce commodity)
I know that russian people are very well in folk medicine. And in western russian cites RAW FOOD vegan diet get popular and has some good experts. So probably paleo will follow coming popular their soon.
I think a lot russian depend on their bread and vodca. So it would be hard to cut it out.