The Best Food and Drinks in Ukraine


Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, is Europe’s second largest country. Its western regions support closer integration with the West while its eastern region favors Russia, which sees the West as a threat. As Ukraine forges its own path, it is still battling corruption and deep divisions. This has made the U.S. government’s support for Ukraine a top foreign policy priority.

Ukraine is a large, mountainous country with vast, fertile agricultural plains and heavy industry. The southeastern region is hilly and heavily forested, while the central part of the country has a gently rolling landscape. The Dnieper River forms the country’s eastern border, while the Black Sea lies to the south.

Although meat is a mainstay in many Ukrainian dishes, there are plenty of vegetarian options for the non-meat eaters. Potatoes, cabbage, and pickles dominate savory dishes while cottage cheese is often used in desserts. Garlic is also a key ingredient, and you won’t catch any Ukrainian without a bushel of it in their fridge.

One of the most iconic dishes from Ukraine is borscht, which is made with tender chunks of beef and loads of beets, carrots, onions, and fresh dill. This classic soup is perfect for cold days and a great comfort food.

Another must-try dish is pelmeni, which are dumplings filled with either meat or vegetables. The filling is typically pork or beef, but chicken or vegetable versions are available as well. This simple but tasty dish is easy to prepare and can be enjoyed as a snack or light meal.

A hearty, stew-like dish is okrostya, which features tender meat in a rich tomato sauce. The dish can be eaten on its own, or served over creamy mashed potatoes. A version of the dish that uses lamb is also popular.

Street crime is a problem in some cities and the country as a whole. It is best to stay in hotel rooms with secure windows and doors, and avoid walking alone at night. The quality of medical care in Ukraine varies; it is better to visit hospitals that are affiliated with international organizations such as the American Embassy or the Red Cross. Moreover, most local hospitals do not accept U.S. insurance, and it is best to carry a private health insurance plan before traveling. In addition, the income disparity between locals and visitors makes U.S. citizens stand out, making them an easy target for criminals. It is highly recommended to get travel or medical evacuation insurance before traveling to Ukraine.