Just yesterday, I was in Vancouver’s Commercial Drive area and I decided to go for lunch at Andy’s Bakery (935 Commercial Drive). My girlfriend Karen Winter (a soup-a-holic like myself) highly recommended that I checked out Andy’s for its Split Pea Soup and I’ve been meaning to do so for quite some time. But when I first arrived, I was disappointed that the Split Pea Soup was not available – it was on the menu yesterday. Awe shucks!
I thought to myself that I will have to come back to Andy’s for the Split Pea Soup another day. But one second later, the White Russian Borscht Soup stopped me from exiting the bakery. Hmnn, I never heard of White Russian Borscht. So, why not stay and have some?
Since I am very familiar of and a big fan of Ukrainian Borscht (I grew up in the north end of Winnipeg which was highly populated with Ukrainian delis and perogi houses), I was curious to find out what was the difference between Ukrainian Borscht and White Russian Borscht.
So a large cup it was!
I did like the taste of the White Russian Borscht soup. The soup had some fine tasting stock base with cabbage and seemed to be seasoned quite well with dill (although, I can tell it was dried dill and not fresh dill). The soup was light and not too heavy. I think potatoes were used to give it an additional creamy texture and not cream per se. The soup did not seem to have red beets but carrots may have given it an orange tint. I am guessing that no beets were used and turnips were used instead – hence the “White Borscht” label. I could only guess the other ingredients because the lady at the counter could not tell me what the ingredients were what-so-ever. Personally, I find it very odd that she did not know the ingredients. Employees should know when customers ask the question, no? Maybe the soup was a pre-made soup or prepared offsite? But still, there should be no excuse on not knowing the ingredients so that you can tell your customers.
So what are the differences between Ukrainian Borscht and White Russian Borscht?
I did a bit of online research and here is what I have found:
- Ukranian Borscht: Is typically made with beetroot as main ingredient. Other country recipes have tomatoes and then beetroot as main ingredients.
- Russian Borscht: It seems as though there are many versions of Russian Borscht with beets, but no White Russian Borscht documented on forums or Wikipedia from a history stand point.
- Polish Borscht: There is talk of a White Polish Borscht (aka zurek) which typically has dark rye flour, hard boiled eggs, smoked kielbasa and horseradish. That is NOT what I had yesterday.
But wait…..I did find one recipe that refers to White Russian Borscht that can be close to what I had yesterday. I am guessing that this version of borscht is newly created and not something handed down from our grandparents time. Chef Andrea Reusing’s White Borscht With Turnips, Savoy Cabbage and Horseradish recipe looks close to what I may have had yesterday and she does refer to it as “White Russian Borscht” in the article.
Have your heard of White Russian Borscht? If you personally know what it is or have made it in the past, please feel free to comment on this post!
The verdict of Andy’s Bakery White Russian Borscht Soup? Overall, I do recommend this soup if you are ever in the Commercial Drive area and in a rush. It did taste very good and won’t break the bank for $4.20 with a roll. Don’t expect fine dinning or ambiance though, the eating area is basically a counter at the window – which was just fine for myself yesterday.
This soup is a contender to recreate at home in the future with some very minor tweaks. I would try to follow Andrea Reusing’s recipe (link above):
- add fresh dill and lot’s of it. Andy’s soup had dried dill – it is easy to notice that.
- use a splash of white wine to give the soup a little acidity and to elevate the taste.
- use a dollop of sour cream on the top as garnish with a fresh sprig of dill.
- use smoke bacon or kelbasa.
- dice potatoes and turnip in a consistent manner and not let them get to mushy before serving.
- used low sodium vegetable stock, especially if I use bacon.
- serve it in a pretty white glass bowl.
Soup Mistress Rating for White Russian Borscht at Andy’s Bakery: