Kiev, Ukraine is a travel heaven for foodies. Ukrainian food creates a unique blend of flavors influenced by centuries of cultural crossover from neighboring countries, soil and environment conditions. They often feature ingredients that on the surface contradict each other, but when combined with generous seasoning reflect a harmonious and delicious flavor.
When exploring the streets of Kiev, you will want to stop at a local restaurant for a classic serving of borscht. Traditional borscht gains its red coloring from beetroot mixed with a meat broth. Often served with garlic rolls and topped with sour cream or yogurt, it’s a delectable choice for a true taste of Ukraine. The green borscht is a spring variety made with sorrel and served with hard-boiled eggs.
2. Chicken Kiev
A chicken filet fried to perfection with a piece of butter has made Ukrainian food famous for a reason. To cook the chicken while ensuring the butter inside does not flow during the process takes an impressive amount of skill. Some recipes add garlic and parsley for seasoning, making it a mouthwatering dish for the enthusiastic foodie to try.
Similar to gazpacho, okroshka is a cold soup often served in the summertime for a refreshing meal. It is prepared either with kvass, a drink made from bread, or kefir, a sour milk. Cucumbers, radishes, carrots, and other greens often get mixed with hard-boiled egg and/or sausage, creating this unique, signature dish.
Varenyky can most closely be described as a dumpling. Made with dough, Ukrainian chefs fill the dumpling with cabbage, meats, cherries, cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, and so much more. They range from savory to sweet, giving you the chance to satiate any flavor you’re in the mood for.
For the truly adventurous foodie, a trip to Kiev is not complete without sampling the Ukrainian dish of choice for celebrations: holodets. A meat broth frozen to a jelly state stuffed with bits of meat, usually pork, sounds like the strangest food to avoid. But for that authentic Ukrainian experience, it’s a must-try.
This is the Ukraine version of potato pancakes, a favored meal in many cultures around the world. This iteration of the dish features grated potatoes, and sometimes onions, frying them into thin patties and served with sour cream or baked yogurt. Some recipes prepare a sour cream sauce cooked with onions and mushrooms to create a creamy topping to pour over the potato pancakes.
Taking their cue from varenysky, these pancakes get wrapped around any kind filling imaginable, from fried mushrooms to berries and cottage cheese. One of the more traditional ways to prepare them is with cottage cheese and raisins. Nalesniki is a dish with roots in Shrove Tuesday, a celebration that happens before Lent.
When in Kiev, do as the locals do, and partake in a snack of salo – pork fat. Often served with black or rye bread and spices, it’s a surprisingly good source of vitamins A and D. Salo can come in various forms, from smoked to raw, added to borsch, and most popular, served with horlivka, Ukrainian vodka. A little bit each day goes a long way according to Ukraine’s culture.
When breakfast and sweetness collide, you get syrniki. A combination of flour, eggs, cottage cheese and sugar, this light and fluffy breakfast dish entices you to wake up to a glorious morning in Kiev. It’s often topped with jam and sour cream, to start off your day satisfying your sweet tooth.
10. Kyiv Cake
When desserts are all you can think about, it’s time for a slice of Kyiv cake. Layers of butter cream, merengue, hazelnut and chocolate frosting entice you to go ahead and take a cheat day. It’s simply too good to resist.
Taste all the flavors of Kiev on our “16-Night Black Sea in Full” MAX SHORE odyssey.