Each cuisine is rooted in the local soil and climate, in spiritual beliefs, and even myths dating back to prehistoric times. Local cuisine pleases the taste buds of people who keep it alive and gives them energy and inspiration to nurture the national culture and to contribute to the world. It is this localness that makes it so special because it is the area and its people inhabiting it that create unique tastes and food combinations.
That’s also a reason why many world cuisines are known to a limited number of people within some small territory. They are too reliant on local products and too unusual for the mainstream palate. These dishes do not appear on daily menus across the globe and do not become synonyms of a country itself, like sushi, pizza or curry do.
Unlike Indian, Italian, or Japanese cuisines, Ukrainian food is still relatively unknown across the world. Yet, its European spirit will be OK for most Western countries, and love for particular veggies and foods will make it interesting for Asian or African food lovers. Below, we will list the top 5 foods that will please the choosiest foodies while also representing the rich local cooking traditions.
A tender chicken breast with a dollop of fresh butter hidden within, coated in golden crumbs, and braised in aromatic oils. Do you feel your mouth watering, like we do? That’s the famous local dish that has the name of the Ukrainian capital – Kyiv. It can be served with a variety of side dishes, like fresh salads, hearty potato or pasta side, or more exotic couscous and pita. Chicken is a product that every culture has on the menu, so begin your acquaintance with Ukraine at this tasty point.
Kapusniak (cabbage soup)
Soups and cabbage are not everyone’s favorites, they are more often associated with boring ‘healthy’ food served in our childhood instead of exciting candies and ice cream. Yet when cooked properly, soups, and cabbage soups, in particular, can offer a thrilling gourmet journey, like it is the case with kapusniak. This hearty soup for colder days is cooked with smoked ribs, finely chopped cabbage, and thickeners like potato or millet. Served with a generous sprinkle of pepper, this soup is deliciously smooth and hot. No wonder that when offered a sample, Korean foodies appreciated this Ukrainian dish as the one resembling their own kimchi soup. So when slightly tweaked, this meal gains a truly universal appeal.
Oh yes, you may say that many cultures have dumplings as a staple, but every cuisine has its own variety of dumplings. Ukrainian dumplings are made of batter poured into a boiling pot. Then, the hot dish is dressed with fried bacon and onions or served with milk and sour cream. It may look simple, but it is nourishing and reflects the agricultural traditions of Ukrainians. All cultures that have their own varieties of dumplings will thoroughly enjoy this treat.
Yes, you have probably heard about this famous dish. It’s hearty, soupy, nutritious, and very tasty, possessing that special umami flavor so loved around the world. Besides, it is rich in veggies, has healthy fats and carbs. If you look for a reliable recipe of Ukrainian borshch, look no further than where the detailed recipe of this filling and warming dish is provided. No surprise that Singaporean foodies with their unique street food found a place for borshch in their hearts (and stomachs).
Potato pies and apple pies (pyrizhky)
Pure decadence as it is: the soft fluffy dough and savory or sweet fillings. Unlike a classic American pie with a thin crispy crust and an abundance of filling, pyrizhky features a feather-soft layer of dough and a balanced amount of filling. These small pies are a convenient snack to hold in hand and enjoy on the go. Yet they are also perfect for a leisure lunch with iced coffee or some stronger beverage (like sherry).
Discover Ukrainian cuisine and be surprised at how contemporary and cool it is!