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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia's Butcher Shops And Their Revolution

My first visit to a Russian butcher a few years ago almost turned me into a vegetarian. The smell of slabs of meat sitting uncovered in pools of blood on dirty counters was overpowering. Fortunately, this unhygienic state of affairs is slowly starting to change as some Russian butchers adopt Western practices for handling and packaging meat.

One example of this trend is Knucker, a company with Russian butchers who use a combination of German equipment and know-how and fresh Russian meat to produce high-quality products. Their brightly-lit shops are modern and impeccably clean and are a world apart from Moscow's usual meat shops. They offer a good range of fresh meat such as ground beef (3,600 rubles for 100 grams) which is not too fatty -- and slightly cheaper than the ground beef at Stockmann's, which costs $7.99 a kilo.

Knucker also sells schnitzel (9,900 rubles for 100 grams), roast pork (1,600 rubles for 100 grams), diced pork filet, ideal for stir-fries (1,000 rubles per 100 grams). There is also an impressive array of sausages and deli meats. Knucker will also accept orders for special cuts.

"Gurman," or Gourmet Fresh Meats, produces and delivers vacuum-packed Russian meat from the Ramensky meat plant, where it is prepared under strict veterinary control, to supermarkets such as Super Siwa, Eldorado and the Armenia Supermarket. Super Siwa has a slightly broader range of fresh meat than Eldorado (although Eldorado has frozen legs of lamb and goose and a good little deli), with good-quality ground beef ($5.95 a kilo), rump steak ($12.40 a kilo), pork chops ($7.80 a kilo), chicken breasts ($10.90 a kilo).

The Novoarbatsky Gastronom has an excellent selection of appetizingly displayed Russian meat. Satisfied customers describe the quality of the meat and the standard of butchery as quite high. The range is extensive: It covers first-class cuts for broiling, such as rump steak (6,000 rubles for 100 grams), ground beef and ground pork (3,500 rubles per 100 grams). There is also a good choice of marinated and prepared meats.

So for those of you who still eat imported meat exclusively, it might be time to think again. These Russian meats are affordable, they taste good and are of excellent quality. I should add, however, that my family still buys some meat from Stockmann's. Their meat is better than what I buy back in Australia, where I come from, and I particularly recommend their lean, marinated beef for roasting.

Knucker is at 22 Kutuzovsky Prospekt, metro Kievskaya, tel. 249-0364 and 23 Lomonosovsky Prospekt, metro Universitet, tel. 938-2373.

Super Siwa is located at 9 Slavyansky Bulvar, corpus 1, metro Kutovskaya, tel. 445-0570.

Eldorado can be found at 1/3 Bolshaya Polyanka, metro Dobryninskaya, tel. 238-8611.

Armenia is at 17 Tverskaya Ulitsa, metro Tverskaya, tel. 229-7021.

The Gastronom Novoarbatsky is located at 13 Novy Arbat, metro Arbatskaya, tel. 291-5828.

Stockmann, 2/3 Zapetsky Val, metro Paveletskaya, tel. 233-2602.