Ukraine is one of the largest countries in Eastern Europe and is often called the bread basket of Europe due to its vast agricultural resources. Nearly 60% of its arable land is devoted to crops that produce some of the world’s finest grains, including wheat, barley, sugar beets and corn.
Ukraine has a unique cuisine that blends traditional Slavic techniques with European influences. Most dishes are made with a variety of grain resources such as rye and wheat flour, but also include staple vegetables like potatoes, cabbages, mushrooms, and beetroots.
Ukrainian food is rich in both savory and sweet dishes. It combines fresh, local ingredients with traditional recipes that have been passed down from generations.
Borscht: This red beetroot soup is a favorite among both Ukrainians and travelers to Ukraine. It is typically served hot or cold and can be topped with various savoury and sweet toppings.
Salads: The main ingredients in Ukrainian salads are always at hand and can include a wide range of vegetables. Popular salads in Ukraine are olivier, Vinigret (beetroot and sauerkraut), dill pickles, peas and boiled eggs mixed with mayonnaise or sunflower oil and salt.
Dumplings: Pierogi are the most common dumpling in Polish cuisine but a variety of different stuffings can be used to fill these delicious dough rings. They are traditionally filled with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut, but they can be stuffed with savoury or sweet stuffings such as curd cheese, berries, and more.
Chicken Kiev: This is the dish to order in a Ukrainian restaurant, but it can be found in schools and government canteens as well. It is a flattened chicken breast that is coated in herb butter and fried.
Banosh: This is a classic Ukrainian porridge, usually made with corn flour and cooked in sour cream or Slovak Bryndza cheese. It is popular throughout the country and can be eaten cold or warm with a side of chopped bacon, crumbled cheese, fried breadcrumbs or vegetable sauce.
Paska: It is a very important bread in the Ukrainian diet and is traditionally eaten on Easter. It can be found in almost every kitchen and is sold at markets around the country during this time of year.
Soups: The Ukrainian diet is rich in soups and stews that are traditionally slow-cooked. They can be served hot or cold and feature a wide range of ingredients, from beets to cucumbers and carrots.
Bublik: This is a type of baked good that is very similar to a bagel and can be eaten warm or cold. It is typically topped with poppy seeds, sesame seeds and sugar.
Eggs: Besides pysanky, which are eaten during Easter, Ukraine also has a long tradition of eating eggs. It is a popular breakfast food and can be enjoyed at any time of the day.
While Ukraine is an incredibly beautiful and exciting country to visit, travelers should be aware of some safety issues before traveling there. Street crime is a major problem, and the police are poorly paid and trained. During recent years, the government has bolstered security, but it remains far from Western European standards and U.S. citizens are still targeted more frequently than in some other countries.