Many soccer fans knew little or nothing about Russian cuisine before the World Cup, but have tucked into local gastronomy with relish, trying everything from luxurious caviar to staples like veal tongue.
Russian food is often thought of as bland and heavy, and indeed many dishes seem geared towards getting people through the gruelling winter rather than amusing their palates.
But 28 year-old Egyptian Ahmed Morsy has made it a point of trying a new Russian dish every day. Meat-filled pelmeni dumplings and Beef stroganoff rank among his favourites.
"I love it, honestly. It's better than I expected. I don't like spicy food myself so for me it was perfect," said Morsy as he perused a restaurant menu in the sweltering southern city of Volgograd.
"The whole country has exceeded my expectations. I had never been to Russia before, I thought the people would be grumpy and the country not that organised," he said.
Indeed, most fans have been impressed by Russians – some in remote or industrial towns where tourists rarely tread – bending over backwards to help, dispelling preconceptions and spreading an upbeat atmosphere.
"I thought Russian food might be weird. I haven't found it weird. But I do prefer the Uzbek and Azerbaijani barbecue," said Morsy's university pal Mamdooh El Eleila, 29, who ordered Kiev chicken, a fillet that is either fried or baked.
Indeed, food from nearby countries - particularly spicier Georgian cuisine - has been particularly popular with fans looking for a little more piquancy in their plates. Caviar bars and vodka cocktails have also been prized.