Russian lawmaker to propose 50 per cent quota on foreign food in restaurants

Russian lawmaker to propose 50 per cent quota on foreign food in restaurants
Meal in a cafeteria-style restaurant serving traditional Russian food (Image: appaloosa under a CC licence)

28 July 2015

Russian State Duma Deputy Vadim Solovyov is writing a bill that would impose a quota on foreign food in restaurants.

The proposal would require all restaurants in Russia to make Russian dishes account for at least half of their menu. The law will not apply to restaurants that are “nationality specific”.

A member of the Communist Party faction in the State Duma, Mr Solovyov lamented that he has had a hard time finding traditional Russian food near the State Duma building, which is located near Red Square. He believes that the initiative will both promote traditional Russian food and attract foreign tourists.

“I’m Russian and eat Russian food with great pleasure, but around the Duma it is rare to see our national dishes on a menu,” stated the deputy.

Restaurant critic Olga Suytkina has voiced her support for the proposal, affirming that the state should play a role in the development of Russian cuisine. She emphasised that appreciation of national dishes must come from a sense of patriotism rather than a “trend for Russian cuisine”.

Mr Solovyov intends to submit the draft law in the autumn session of the State Duma.

Traditional Russian food came under the media spotlight earlier this year when film directors Nikita Mikhalkov and Andrey Konchalovsky applied for government funding for their national fast-food project Yedim kak Doma! (Eat Like at Home!).