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23 May. 2023

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Ukrainian cuisine: traditional foods and dishes that foreigners should try

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Ukrainian cuisine: traditional foods and dishes that foreigners should try

Traditional Ukrainian cuisine is among the most delicious in the world. Learn more about the favorite dishes of the Ukrainian people and what you should definitely try while in Ukraine

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Ukrainian cuisine has absorbed the culinary traditions of several millennia. Today, many chefs are rethinking traditional dishes and giving them new colors, while emphasizing the uniqueness of authentic flavor combinations.


In recent years, gastro-tourism has become a trend among tourists, and Ukraine is a great destination for this. However, do not think that only foreigners should discover national dishes. Every Ukrainian can feel like a tourist in his or her native place: look at familiar places in a new way and taste traditional dishes.


Foreigners who decide to come to Ukraine for the first time are advised to take care of their safety by taking out an insurance policy.  In addition, if you are planning to come to Ukraine to taste traditional dishes, please read the entry rules.


The thousand-year history of Ukrainian cuisine


It is believed that the foundations of Ukrainian cuisine were laid by the Trypillians. They learned to bake bread - first unleavened, then with sourdough. Over time, additional ingredients and spices were added to the dough.


Even Balzac described Ukrainian bread in a fascinating way:  "...When you come to Ukraine, to this paradise on earth, where I have already noticed 77 ways of making bread." 


An important feature of Ukrainian cuisine is its integrity and regional diversity at the same time. While dishes from different regions have common features, local products play a major role. For example, in Western Ukraine, many dishes contain cheese and wild mushrooms, and in Polissia, potatoes are used.


Traditional products


Cereals play a prominent role in the diet of Ukrainians. Our ancestors used to cook flour dishes as early as 5000 years ago, as wheat, millet, and barley were already grown. Rye was cultivated later, about a thousand years ago.


The most favorite cereal in Ukraine is buckwheat. It is not only tasty, but also very healthy, and hosts cook it several times a week. The Slavs also grew buckwheat, but they called it "greche" or "buckwheat" because the grain came to the Ukrainian lands from Byzantium and was sown by Greek monks.


Sunflower oil, which is added to most dishes, contains vitamins A, D, E, K, B and important fatty acids. Sunflowers began to be grown in Ukraine not so long ago, in the 18th century.


Another traditional product for Ukrainian dishes is potatoes. However, it was brought to Ukrainian lands only 300 years ago. Before it was introduced, Ukrainians used to cook onions, garlic, cabbage, turnips, and cucumbers.


Dishes that foreigners like


Everyone has heard of varenyky, borsch, and pampushky with bacon. However, tourists like another dish the most: the Kyiv cutlet. It's not surprising, because juicy chicken meat with flavorful butter and crispy breading is actually a perfect combination.




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Dishes you should try


All foreign guests are advised to try the following dishes:

 Borsch;

 Kapustnyak;

 Varenyky;

 Kulish; 

 Banosh;

 Holubtsi; 

 Cutlet po-kyyivsʹky;

 Poltava dumplings;

 Salo;

 Lviv cheesecake;

 Kyiv cake;

 Kvass;

 Medovukha;

 Traditional drinks;


Kvass is considered to be the oldest drink, as it was mentioned in a document dating back to 989. Vodka is younger than kvass - it appeared in the XIV century. Beer in Ukraine has the same history as in other European countries. This drink was first produced by monks and was consumed even during fasting.


Interestingly, Ukrainians are coffee drinkers. In fact, you can enjoy excellent quality coffee in Ukraine, especially in Kyiv and Lviv. By the way, not only Lviv claims to be the coffee center of Ukraine. Kamianets-Podilskyi and Khotyn were at the center of the struggle against the Turkish invasion, so it is not surprising that coffee has long been smelling there. 


Interesting facts about Ukrainian cuisine


Traditional kulish is considered a dish for the prevention of cancer, thanks to millet. This cereal normalizes blood pressure and heart function, and is also a source of magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese, and sodium.


What is the most favorite dish among Ukrainians? It is borsch. The rating also includes dumplings, shish kebab, jelly and cutlets.


For traditional dishes, pork meat is most often used. The reason is simple: historically, pigs were raised for slaughter, as oxen were used as draft animals.


We remind you! Even in today's realities, the attractiveness of Ukraine's picturesque landscapes continues to attract foreign tourists. We have selected the best tours to Ukrainian cities that you can go to right now. Follow the link for details.




We recommend purchasing it for a safe and comfortable trip to Ukraine: 


Visit Ukraine Insurance - safe travel in Ukraine (insurance covering military risks);

Visit Ukraine Tickets - book bus and train tickets to/from Ukraine;

Visit Ukraine Tours - the largest online database of tours to Ukraine for every taste;

Visit Ukraine Hotels - book hotels for a comfortable stay in Ukraine;

Visit Ukraine Merch - choose patriotic clothing and accessories with worldwide delivery.

Cooperation - cooperation and advertising integrations with Visit Ukraine and Visit World projects.




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