Food in Ukraine
Ukrainian food is very delicious, and it has many similarities with Russian cuisine. It utilizes a lot of fat components, much as other cuisines in the area, particularly in celebratory meals. Traditional local cuisine includes “salo” (salted lard) and soups such as “solianka” (солнка in Ukrainian, pork soup) and “borshch” (ор in Ukrainian), a red beet soup. Borshch with greens and cooked eggs is very popular in western Ukraine. The first, salo, is something you may not force yourself to try, but it is a wonderful side dish, and the soups are a must-have meal.
If you live outside of a major city or are unsure about where to purchase food, proceed with care and common sense. Always purchase food at supermarkets or big grocery shops, verify the expiry date, and never buy meat or dairy items on the street (you can buy them at the market but not near the market).
There are some excellent eateries in almost every Ukrainian town. To assist you in making your selection, read the menu boards placed near the entrances of each restaurant.
You may also discover good places to dine without looking for them, if you follow the smoke from traditional wood fires. These are often locations where traditional Ukrainian cuisine is served, especially extremely delicious shashlyky (алики in Ukrainian). Restaurateurs are very welcoming, and you will almost always be one of their first international guests. In addition to the “borshch,” you may get “varenyky” (вареники in Ukrainian, dumplings stuffed with meat, vegetables, or fruits) or “deruny” (дерyни, potato pancakes). A wonderful meal is varenyky with potatoes and cottage cheese in a sautéed onion and sour cream sauce. These are only appetizers, but they will likely fill you up fast.
You may also utilize certain online services to locate any restaurant you want. They typically offer a lot of choices and an English translation, which makes it simpler to find what you’re looking for. These are free resources that offer information on big cities. If there is no internet access, you may ask individuals for recommendations for restaurants, but keep in mind that understanding of English among Ukrainians is limited, and you may encounter unpleasant people. However, in most instances, speaking English or another foreign language makes individuals more friendly.
Drinks in Ukraine
Horilka (the local term for vodka) with pepper is a Ukrainian specialty. Other types of vodka are also popular, including linden (tilia), honey, birch, and wheat. For 1L, prices vary from €1 to €20. Souvenir bottles are more expensive (some bottles cost up to €35 for 0.5L). There is a wide variety of wine available, both domestic and foreign. Domestic wines are mainly from the south, although wines from the Carpathian area of Uzhorod are also very delicious. Ukraine is also well-known for its sparkling red wines. Prices for local wine range from €2-35 per 0.75L bottle (avoid the cheapest wines, €1 or less, as these are sometimes bottled as house wines but sold as local vintages), but genuine Italian, French, and Australian wines can be found for €50 per bottle or more in large supermarkets and most restaurants. Imported wine prices have fallen substantially in recent years, and trends suggest that they will continue to fall.
There are many drinks available (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Ukrainian beer is of exceptional quality. Beer from barrels or kegs (which are more prevalent in cafés) is often watered down. Canned beer is not widely available in Ukraine, and it is not always of the same quality as the same type offered in bottles. Lvivske, Obolon, and PPB make the finest beers (Persha Privatna Brovarnia). Imported beers are also readily accessible, although they are more costly; for example, a bottle of Austrian Edelweiss may cost up to €2, while the average price of Ukrainian beer is €0.50. Overall, Ukrainian beers are extremely delicious and are gaining appeal in other parts of Europe.
Among non-alcoholic drinks, kvas — a traditional Slavic drink composed of rye or wheat – should be tried. During the summer, it is readily available from authorized street sellers. In the summer, there are a number of yellow barrels filled with kvas strewn around the city. Because the barrel’s cleanliness is uncertain, it’s best to purchase it in bottles. Milk drinks of various kinds are also available, although mostly in supermarkets. Bottles of mineral water, as well as lemonades, beer, and strong beverages, are widely available. If you want to purchase bottled water, be sure to ask for “voda bez hazu” (water without gas), otherwise you will be given a fizzy drink.
Because there are many fakes, only purchase vodka or konjak (the local term for brandy) from supermarkets or liquor shops. Every year, a few people die or become blind as a consequence of methyl alcohol poisoning, a chemical used to manufacture phony vodkas.
It is possible to purchase alcohol manufactured in other former Soviet republics in Ukraine. Moldavian and Armenian cognacs are very excellent and reasonably priced. Georgian wines are unique and aromatic, albeit a little too sweet.