International Food Market
7004 Reisterstown Road, 410-358-4757. Open 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
You don't have to speak Russian to buy food at the International Food Market, a combination deli and grocery in the Colonial Village shopping center on Reisterstown Road, but it doesn't hurt. Most of the signs and the conversation in the store are in Russian.
When I visited, I simply smiled and pointed. There is a huge meat counter, with more kinds of salami than there were states in the former Soviet Union. I pointed at something with a sign reading, "beef cezrelam." It was peppery beef salami, at $10.99 a pound. When paired with slices of the "crispy rye bread," $2.50 for half a loaf, it made an excellent sandwich.
The crispy rye bread is so called because of its crisp top. The bread was praised by Ian Swarovski, a Russian cabdriver who gave me a ride the other day to my house from BWI Marshall Airport. It is a dense bread similar to ones baked in the motherland, he said, adding that it is worth the trip to Reisterstown Road. I agreed.
The bread is baked on the premises, as are the pirojok, pastries filled with chicken, lamb or cheese. They sat atop the meat counter. I pointed to one filled with cooked chicken and onions, and the woman working the counter popped it in the microwave. It was warm, spicy chicken in delicate brown crust. The cheese pirojok, also $1.50, was slightly sweet and made a fitting dessert.
I also tried slices of the smoked salmon at $9.99 a pound. It was moist, but very oily and aromatic. The skin and pieces of bones clung to slices of salmon. It was too strong for me.
on the menu
Best bite: Crispy rye bread, $2.50 for half a loaf
Best bargain: Pirojok (meat or cheese pastries), $1.50
Also tasted: Smoked salmon, $9.99 a pound; beef salami, $10.99 a pound