Warsaw Tatars rustle up culinary feast ahead of World Cup match against Poland

Award-winning chef Rustam Rakhimov at his “U Kucharzy” restaurant on Warsaw’s Długa Street Kalbar / TFN

To coincide with Sunday’s match, from June 22-24 the Kazan tourism department is hosting the Festival of Tatar Cuisine to show off the best of Tartar cooking.

Poles not lucky enough to travel to the Russian city of Kazan to witness the national team’s do-or-die World Cup encounter against Columbia will still have the chance to try some of the food and flavours found in the city.

To coincide with Sunday’s match, from June 22-24 the Kazan tourism department is hosting the Festival of Tatar Cuisine to show off the best of Tartar cooking. The city is the capital of Tatarstan, one of Russia’s federal republics, and it and the region are home to some two million ethnic Tatars, whose nomadic ancestors once roamed the Gobi Desert.

Their food retains the influence of their nomad past but over the centuries has also absorbed influences from the ethnic groups that surround them such as Russians and Udmurts. 

Some of the gastronomical highlights of Tatar cooking that will be in the spotlight at the festival include Tatar Azu, a dish of thinly sliced meat covered in a spicy sauce, and ochpochmaq, a triangular pastry filled with minced beef, onions and potatoes. People will also have the chance to try chak-chak, the national sweet of the region, which consists of deep-fried balls of dough covered in honey.

All these dishes and many more will be rustled up by award-winning chef Rustam Rakhimov, who will be pulling the culinary strings at the festival’s location Restauracja “U Kucharzy” on Warsaw’s Długa Street.

“Often people talk to each other while eating,” said Dr. Igor Zhukovskiy, the director of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture in Warsaw. 

“It's good to talk about good food. We are trying to create opportunities for dialogue on some of the most interesting aspects, in my opinion, of Polish-Russian relations: art, music, science and gastronomy. I invite you on a culinary journey to one of the most interesting regions of Russia - fascinating Tatarstan,” he added.