Blog / sauna culture, bathhouse history, Russian food, and more

Banya Etiquette

Banya Etiquette

We love seeing newcomers at our bathhouse. Trying something that is completely new is a sign of open mindedness and perhaps bravery. It's fun to share the history and etiquette of steaming with newcomers, after all, it is our passion. There are some unspoken rules at all bathhouses, and it's understandable that not everyone would be aware of these rules, so we've compiled a list of tips to help every one of our customers become a true bathhouse pro! #1 Never leave any steam room doors open Leaving the door open to a steam room is definitely the most common mistake that beginners make. It is innocent enough, but often […]

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Kombucha, Kompot and Kvass

Kombucha, Kompot and Kvass

Valentina and Victor have been making classic russian drinks for as long as I can remember, and now they have brought them to the banya. Kvass, Kompot, and Kombucha, are favourites at the bathhouse, yet we still get many questions about what these drinks are and how they are made. Hopefully this post will clear some things up. Kvass Kvass is considered the national folk drink of Russia, and appropriately has been around as early as the 8th century. This slightly fermented beverage is Bathhouse favourite. The process of brewing kvass involves fermenting bread for a month or so, then adding some essentials such as raisons and sugar. The result […]

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How to Make Shuba (Russian Herring Salad) – Рецепт Шуба

How to Make Shuba (Russian Herring Salad) – Рецепт Шуба

  Ingredients  2 pickled herring fillets (Polish or Russian store)  1 small red onion (minced) 2 medium boiled potatoes (cubed) 2 large boiled carrots (grated) 3 hard boiled eggs (grated) 1 large boiled beet root (grated) mayo to taste   Boil the potatoes, carrots, beets, and eggs separately so the flavours don’t blend. Let cool before grating and cubing. Make sure there are no bones in the herring fillets before cutting them up into small cubes.  Assembly On a large serving platter or baking tray, spread out the herring in a thin, even layer. A rectangular shape is most practical but a round shuba is more festive. Sprinkle the red onion […]

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The Complete Guide to Veniks

The Complete Guide to Veniks

The venik can induce feelings of confusion, curiosity, and horror in the average newcomer to the South-Western Bathhouse. We don't blame them. It is easy to see how whipping oneself and others with a bundle of tree branches can seem a little barbaric, but anyone who has been brave enough to surrender themselves to the leafy lashes of a venik massage will tell you of the incredible relaxation it brings. But the venik is much more than just a tool for massage; it comes with its own set of health benefits and in many ways it has become the symbol of the Russian bathhouse, as it is such a unique […]

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A Happy Second Banya Birthday

A Happy Second Banya Birthday

January 2, 2014 officially launched us into our second year of existence. The Banya is a little shy about its age, so we had a quiet acknowledgement of this instead of a large celebratory event (next year we promise, although it's hard to follow New Years). Reflecting upon the past year, we have a lot of people to thank. First off, thank you to our committed, word-of-mouth spreading, nature documentary watching, pickle brine drinking (you know who you are), steaming, borscht eating regulars. We treasure those nights where it all winds down and we can get to know each other under the melting haze of relaxation. Secondly, we thank those […]

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Big V’s Chicken Tabaka Recipe – Рецепт Цыпленок табака

Big V’s Chicken Tabaka Recipe – Рецепт Цыпленок табака

  Chicken Tabaka is a dish from Georgia, often referred to as “chicken cooked under a brick” or “flattened chicken. ” It differentiates itself from other fried chicken with its bright eastern European flavours and its method of cooking. By using a weight on top of the chicken during the frying process, more surface areas crisps up. This is ideal when you are trying to build strong flavour as the caramelization and browning process really takes things to the next level. We have been serving Chicken Tabaka (Цыпленок табака) for over a year at the South Western Bathhouse. The recipe was pulled out from the archives of my father’s childhood memories. […]

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