UKRAINIAN CUISINE AND RESTAURANTS
An old saying claims: “When the guest is happy – the host family enjoys!” Nothing proves these words better than famous Ukrainian hospitality supported by great national cuisine.
Modern Ukrainian food traditions took all the best from cultural heritage of different regions. While many dishes here are easy to cook they still taste delicious and are famous worldwide. Foreign guests are looking to taste traditional Ukrainian borsch, vareniki with different stuffing and chicken Kyiv.
Bread is at the head of any traditional dinner in Ukraine. There are hundreds of bread recipes and great variety of ritual breads and pastries. There is no Easter dinner without a kulich (aka paska, Easter bread), wedding ceremony without a korovai, or no funeral repast without pirohy (buns with stuffing). Blini (crepes) are not only popular everyday food. There is even a special holiday (Maslenitsa) when blini are supposed to be eaten a lot in different variations
Almost no traditional Ukrainian dish can be cooked without vegetables or fruits. The most famous Ukrainian soup, Bosch, is made of beet roots and up to 20 other veggies. Vareniki (boiled dumplings) and pirohy can be stuffed with potatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, and almost any fruits and berries along with meat, fish and cottage cheese . Holubtsi (cabbage rolls) are stuffed not only with meat but with various combinations of cereals and vegetables. .
Another important ingredient of Ukrainian meal is cereal. Wheat, barley, rice, millet, oat, buckwheat and corn dishes can be either sweet or salty (known as kasha) and are usually served as a side dish or on its own.
And of course it is hard to imagine a Ukrainian dinner without meat or fish (if it is not a fast day). Salo (slabs of lard with or without skin), cutlets, holodec (meat aspic), chicken Kyiv, and home-made kovbasa (sausages) have made Ukrainian cuisine famous all over the world.
Various dairy products are consumed a lot all over Ukraine. Cottage cheese is eaten as a separate dish or used as an ingredient of many dishes. One may be impressed with a great choice of fermented milk drinks. Yogurt, kefir and ryazhenka are among the most popular ones.
Like in any other country tea and coffee are very popular in Ukraine but in a hot summer day you will be most likely offered some cold kvas (fermented beverage made from black or rye bread) or compote (drink from fresh or dried fruits or barriers boiled in water).
Visiting a Ukrainian family is probably the best but not the only way to try the traditional food. There are a lot of cafes, restaurants and even fast food which serve traditional Ukrainian food together with dishes from other cultures. Besides, some popular American and European chains are widely represented here.
English speakers should not have any problems while eating out in big cities or touristic destinations, as they usually have some English speaking staff and English menus.
- Be attentive checking your bill, because a service fee can be included automatically in some restaurants (usually 10%). You may also tip for good service.