On my second trip to Harbin, I went with two of my supervisors, one of whom speaks Russian. I really didn't want to leave Harbin without trying a Russian restaurant, and so we made sure to eat a feast with someone in the know!
For those who want to skip the touristy, non-authentic Russian restaurants, look for Katusha right across the street from the flood monument at the end of Zhongyang Da Jie, by the Songhua river.
We started with an iceberg lettuce salad with chicken, eggs, and a creamy dressing that's not Caesar, and a pickled soup with some kind of animal's chopped innards a dollop of sour cream.
The salad was nothing special, but the soup was very tasty and devilishly tart. The muscle behind my jaw throbbed in reaction to the occassional pop of sourness.
Next, came our respective main courses, which we shared since the dishes arrived one by one in 15 minute intervals. We had meat-filled blintzes, beef patties in a cream sauce, and bell peppers stuffed with ground beef and rice in a tomato sauce. This was when I realized that Russian food is just as hearty as Northeastern Chinese or Mongolian food. Northern China and Russia really aren't for dainty people with small stomachs. All the meat dishes were delicious. My favorite was the meat-filled blintz. It was the most delicate of the three.
Meat-filled Blintzes; Beef Patties with Cream Sauce
Bell Peppers Stuffed with Ground Beef and Rice
And because we were crazy, we ordered the skewered pork meat that takes 45 minutes to prepare. The proper way to eat this is with thinly sliced raw onions and vinegar. It was darn good, but we were about to burst at the seams by the time we got to it.