Distinctive features of the Ukrainian cuisine
Today KievInsiders will tell you about the Ukrainian world of gastronomic and esthetic pleasure. So, we start introduction to Ukrainian cuisine! Once you arrive in Ukraine, without fail you should taste delicious borsch with hot pampushkas served with garlic and greens, thinly sliced salo with aromatic dark bread and juicy varenyky with, say, cherries. We can assure you that you’ll like it!
Ukrainian cuisine is considered to be one of the best among the Slavic ones. Nourishing dishes with rich taste have been appreciated long ago outside our country, with borsch and chicken Kiev being on the menu of the international cuisine. They are served in elite restaurants of Prague, Sofia, Warsaw and Tbilisi.
And what makes us especially happy is that Ukraine doesn’t stand still: today the traditional national dishes are cooked in a totally new way. And tourists cannot believe that our dishes costing 10-20 euros are able to compete with those that are on the menu of the Michelin star restaurants for 200-300 euros!! Just try and figure out the price difference and imagine a wonderful dinner waiting for you in the downtown of splendid Kiev!
Ukrainian cuisine surprises foreign tourists even more often
It’s a pleasure that guests from abroad are attracted not only by ‘borsch and varenyky’ (though they definitely deserve attention). Today tourists are delighted with Ukrainian pates, cutlets and aspic with molecular horseradish. Frenchmen, for example, have appreciated the tastiness of mature cheeses. And there are those who are fond of a specific product: someone has never tasted sea-buckthorn jam, while the others will realize that there are edible chestnuts.
Yes, probably we’re strange people and one should get used to our cuisine but, trust us, it’s worth it!
Beverages deserve special attention. The thing is that such a substantial and sometimes highly spiced food by default requires abundant drinking. And here Ukrainian uzvar – compote of dried and fresh fruit which, in the opinion of our ancestors, promotes digestion – gives us hand.
It should be mentioned that the majority of tourists cannot immediately understand the taste of uzvar which is difficult to perceive. It reminds them a sweet, slightly smoked soup. But nevertheless all of them gladly order and drink this traditional beverage.
And some more words about Ukrainian wines – they know how to surprise being presented in a competent manner. And the rapture of foreign guests is often expressed with a question: “Can it really be Ukrainian wine? Incredible!”
So, pack your suitcases quickly, buy the air ticket and depart for Kiev – we’re going to amaze you!
What to order in a Kiev restaurant? 10 best dishes of the national cuisine
Borsch – the most popular dish of Ukrainian cuisine. It’s cooked from red beet, cabbage and other vegetables as base ingredients boiled in meat broth. Today the recipes of borsch run to more than 30.
Green borsch – is cooked with water or broth. The main ingredient is sorrel. It’s served with sour cream and boiled eggs.
Okroshka – a cold soup from fresh vegetables, meat and eggs seasoned with sour cream or kefir. It’s cooked with whey, kvass or mineral water as a base ingredient.
Salo – is the hallmark of Ukrainian cuisine. It gets salted well, spiced and eaten with bread and vegetables. Fried salo cut in thin slices turns into crispy cracklings. They are added to potatoes, varenyky and other dainties.
Backed ham – is one of the best meat delicacies. It represents a big chunk of baked pork, mutton, beef or turkey preliminary marinated in spices.
Homemade sausage – juicy sausages made of pork, beef or chicken with a lot of spices. First they are boiled and then fried in a pan till they form a golden crust.
Varenyky – according to the traditional recipe, are cooked with potatoes, cabbage or mushrooms. There can also be sweet varenyky with curds, cherries and even strawberries.
Cabbage rolls – represent small pockets made of cabbage or grape leaves. Rice with minced meat is used for stuffing. They are served with a tomato or a sour cream sauce.
Chicken Kiev – is an appetizing main course cooked from tenderized chicken fillet. A stick of butter with garlic and greens is wrapped in it and then the cutlet is coated with breadcrumbs and fried in a pan.
Crucian carps in sour cream – small size fish with a typical sweetish smack. It’s fried till it forms a crispy crust and then stewed in a sour cream sauce.
Popular Ukrainian beverages
Since long ago kvass and compote have been the basic Ukrainian beverages. They are only consumed cold, that’s why in summer there is no better way to quench thirst. The beverages are prepared from natural foodstuffs thanks to which they are associated with Ukrainian village and ethnic flavor.
Compote is a dessert beverage made from fresh berries and fruits boiled in water with sugar added. Compote is considered ready as soon as water absorbs the fruit and berry color.
Kvass – is a popular, slightly sparkling beverage with a sour sweet smack. It’s made from dried rye crusts or malt. It’s flavored with honey, aromatic herbs and berries.
And, of course, the alcohol. Is there really a tourist there who hasn’t heard about Ukrainian horilka? And diverse liqueurs and brandies – it’s an explosion of taste and pleasant sensations in itself. We’ll try and explain in words what exactly is meant here.
Liqueur – is a home-style berry wine made from raspberries, cherries, plums or gooseberries, which are covered with sugar and fermented. When this process is over, the liquid is separated from the berries, poured into glass bottles and corked well. It’s opened to treat friends and cheerful guests.
A liqueur contains around 15% of alcohol.
Spotykach – is a dessert beverage with an alcohol content of 30% made from berries, fruits and spices. It has the typical sweetness, thickness and pleasant aroma.
Medovuha – a mild alcoholic drink which is prepared from honey and yeast as base ingredients, with hop, roots and berries added. The tastiness depends on the specifics of honey flavoring. The alcohol content is approximately 10%-16%. Medovuha is said to have health giving qualities and excites the appetite well, that’s why it’s a favorite aperitif.
Do you know that medovuha has existed before Scottish whisky, Mexican tequila and Japanese sake? To tell the truth, in ancient times it had been called the alcoholic honey.
Sweet greetings from Kiev
For those who like to regale themselves with something sweet, we would recommend ‘nalistniki’ – thin stuffed pancakes rolled up into a tube. This is one of few traditional dishes which today is cooked in the same way as many centuries ago.
And as a present or a sweet souvenir, the best option will be the Kievsky cake. Made on the 6th of December, 1956 by mistake of the pastry cooks, it became the real symbol of the Ukrainian capital. Packed in the boxes featuring chestnuts, it consists of two fluffy nut meringue cake layers with the butter cream between them. The Kievsky cake is considered to be the favorite dessert of both locals and guests of Kiev.
One more interesting sweet – the “Vecherny Kiev” candies. For 25 years they have totally preserved their recipe. Chocolate toffies with hazelnuts inside made in form of domes wrapped into a gold foil. Taste it and you won’t regret it!