Ukrainian dishes have a sophisticated simplicity about them and often combine fresh, pickled and smoked ingredients. Their food is neither heavily spiced nor bland, but rather has the perfect combination of seasoning. Bread is of course the mainstay of the Ukrainian diet, which unfortunately has taken its toll on my waistline!
Ukrainians also do love their sour cream! I was asked "Vy khotily smetanoyu?" at almost every meal, which means "would you like sour cream?" They top everything with it, whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert.
During my time in Kiev, I was able to try many different dishes, but I will only share with you my favourite ones!
First up is the national dish of Ukraine…borshch. There are many different versions of this beet-based soup, which can contain as many as 20 various ingredients, depending on the season, region, and personal preference of the cook. I’ve learned that it can be meatless or prepared from a rich meat stock and contain either beef or smoked pork. The one that I thoroughly enjoyed had pork, beets, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, onions and of course, sour cream! It was absolutely divine! You definitely cannot come to Ukraine without trying it!
Last but not least, I have to say a little about Ukrainian sweets. I quickly became aware that Ukrainians are obsessed with Roshen candy and chocolate. Roshen is a Ukrainian confectionary, which you can find in just about every central square, mall or underground complex. It sells an array of candy and chocolates that can be bought in bulk, making it quite cheap.
It is also here that you can buy the famous Kyivskiy tort. It is a tasty local specialty comprising of a layered cake made from crumbly raised wafers, hazelnuts, cocoa and cream. As I celebrated my birthday in Ukraine, this cake, which also serves as one of the symbols of Kiev, was a scrumptious addition to my birthday!
While those are by far my favourite Ukrainian dishes, I also had the opportunity to eat in an authentic Georgian restaurant. My meal was so delicious that I couldn't pass up mentioning it! La pièce de résistance was of course the khachapuri, or cheese pie, which is the national dish of Georgia. It consists of hot flaky layers of buttery bread, which is filled with a mound of mouth-watering cheese. It is so good that it is sinful…and I definitely do not want to know how many calories are in it! But suffice it to say, if you ever have the opportunity to try it, you must, and just leave all of your healthy eating mantras aside!
Well there you have it folks…the best of Ukrainian cuisine! As one who is very interested in the culinary art, I have to admit that I was extremely pleased with all of the food that I tried in Ukraine and I found their national dishes to be both wholesome and delicious!