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Food & Dining in Ukraine


Ukrainian cuisine is hearty and substantial. Choices abound, and making reservations and dining out can be a wonderful experience in colour, taste, music and hospitality. Popular Ukrainian dishes are the Ukrainian borscht, Lviv sausage and chicken Kiev. In the summer, when vegetables are plentiful, you will find okroshka, a cold soup made from cucumbers, potatoes, radishes, dill sausage and buttermilk. In Crimea, several Tatar dishes are worth sampling: lagman, a hearty soup with meat, noodles and a spicy broth; plov, spicy rice with meat and carrots; and shashlik, kebabs with different kinds of meat. Most dishes include potatoes

Ukrainians say that you should drink pepper horilka (vodka) with your meal for a feeling of real paradise. Other people will joke about the popular snack known as "Ukrainian Snickers" – vodka and salo (cured pork fat) – which are eaten in small bites or with bread.

When choosing a restaurant at which to eat, you will find one that you like based on the menu posted by the entrance of every establishment. This may sound strange, but in most towns in Ukraine there are some very good restaurants, sometimes even luxurious ones, and these restaurants do serve properly made food. If you like travelling to more remote parts of the country and are in doubt about what to eat, remember that vegetables are always a safe choice.

Along the way you may find nice places to eat not by following the rare signs, but just by tracing the sky for the smoke of traditional wood fires. These are often places where they serve traditional Ukrainian food, including very tasty shashlyky. Restauranteurs are very friendly, and more often than not you will be one of their first foreign visitors. Next to the borscht you might also ask for varenyky (dumplings filled with meat or vegetables) or deruny (potato pancakes). Do try varenyky with potatoes and cottage cheese in a sautéed onion and sourcream sauce. These are just starters, but ones that might fill you up quickly.


In general, it is very cheap to dine in Kiev by Western standards. So long as you stay away from the places that totally pander to tourists, the food is great and cheap. Of course, do try the borscht and the mlyntzi, and then try absolutely everything else. Baked goods are cheap and great too. Even the ice-cream on the street is great. An especially distinctive one is to the right from Khreshchatyk subway exit – blue kiosk with varying lengh of queue.

When you see vendors selling some liquid from big yellow/blue tanks on the street, you can be sure that it is kvas, which is a brewed bread drink. Some people like it and others hate it. It tastes a bit like malt, and there is no alcohol.

There are many restaurants that claim to serve authentic Ukrainian food, but often they prepare Cossack food, which is basically the same, as they are Ukrainian ancestors.

In recent years, Ukraine has experienced an explosion in the growth and development of its restaurant industry. Diners in most major cities, but especially in Kiev, can choose from restaurants serving top-notch French, Italian or German cuisines. More exotic fare includes Georgian, Indian, Korean and Chinese. Japanese sushi restaurants are popular in Kiev, particularly among the country's political and cultural elite. There's one called Hanoi which serves Japanese and Vietnamese food. It is located near Metro Arsenalna. The quality is quite high, although the prices are too. Further, you will find various sushi-bar-chains in Kiev, namely Sushi-Ya, Murakami and Yakitoria.





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