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02 Jun. 2023

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How Ukraine tastes: traditions and popular dishes of Ukrainian cuisine

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How Ukraine tastes: traditions and popular dishes of Ukrainian cuisine

Ukrainian cuisine is famous for its delicious dishes all over the world. Learn more about the peculiarities of Ukrainian culinary art

Watch a new video about Ukrainian cuisine on our YouTube channel "Visit Ukraine"
Watch a new video about Ukrainian cuisine on our YouTube channel "Visit Ukraine"
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The popularity of everything Ukrainian is growing steadily: from art to fashion brands. Ukrainian cuisine also attracts foreigners and encourages them to try traditional dishes in Ukraine or cook them in their own kitchens.


Here's a look at what Ukraine tastes like and what dishes are considered to be Ukrainian heritage.


Features of Ukrainian cuisine


Ukrainian cuisine cannot be called dietary. Because our ancestors worked hard, they had to eat high-calorie foods. 


Traditional Ukrainian cuisine was able to combine a variety of ingredients compared to European cuisines, which were usually made from vegetable or meat products.


There are certain stereotypes about Ukrainian cuisine. Some people consider it to be peasant cuisine, but this is not true. At the beginning of the 20th century, Ukrainian restaurants served very sophisticated dishes, such as truffles, oysters and crayfish pates.


The country's culinary symbol


Almost every Ukrainian would call this dish a symbol of Ukraine - we are talking about borsch. A red, rich soup, it is very aromatic and tasty. 


Ukrainians have been cooking this first course for centuries, but its Ukrainian roots have only recently been officially recognised. Only in July 2022, UNESCO added borsch to the list of intangible cultural heritage. So now everyone in the world knows that borsch is a Ukrainian dish.


Bread is the head of everything


Since the ancestors of modern Ukrainians were farmers, they started the cult of land and bread, which is still preserved to this day. More than 10 bread recipes are indigenous to Ukraine, and rye bread has become an object of Ukraine's intangible heritage. We would like to add that other authentic Ukrainian dishes include pampushky, palyanytsia and kalach.


In fact, Ukrainians cook a lot of dishes from grain, and some of them are sacred. For example, kutia, which is cooked at Christmas. It is boiled wheat or barley grains with honey. Another example is Easter cake, the sweet bread of Easter.


In addition to Orthodox traditions, some dishes embody pagan customs. Although it has been forgotten, pancakes and dumplings, traditional for Shrovetide, symbolise the sun and moon.




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Dishes that embody the traditions of Ukraine


Ukrainian cuisine is usually associated with varenyky, bacon, pancakes and vodka. Yes, these dishes do belong on a traditional table, but we don't limit ourselves to them.


It's hard to imagine Ukrainian cuisine without Kyiv cutlets, sweet syrniki or stuffed cabbage rolls. We also cannot forget about potatoes, which remain one of the main vegetables of Ukraine. After it was introduced to Ukraine in the 18th century, our ancestors came up with many dishes, including pancakes. Before the advent of potatoes, Ukrainians used to eat turnips, as well as garlic, onions, cucumbers, beetroot, and cabbage, which we still love today. 


Interestingly, Ukrainian cuisine has unique spices: mustard, wormwood, rue and nettle. They were used to season dishes before the advent of foreign spices.


Traditional drinks for Ukraine


Medovukha is an alcoholic drink known since the times of Kyivan Rus. It consists of fermented honey and water. Wine was also consumed by our ancestors: traces of the first wineries dating back to the 4th century BC were found in the Crimea.


However, we are not claiming that wine is an indigenous Ukrainian drink. It was brought by the Greeks, who had colonies in Crimea.


Modern cuisine


Traditional dishes continue to be prepared and improved. For example, chocolate-covered lard is an interesting interpretation of familiar ingredients. 


Today, restaurants offer not only simple Ukrainian dishes, but also reinterpreted ones, such as green borsch with nettles and cesar, roast pork brisket boiled in beetroot kvass, or cold pork. 


For those who like to learn about Ukrainian traditions through national cuisine, we offer gastronomic tours. It is during these tours that you can fully enjoy delicious dishes and picturesque views of Ukrainian cities. 


Learn more about the peculiarities of Ukrainian cuisine in our new video on the Visit Ukraine YouTube channel.


Photo: Istockphoto




You may be interested in:


Visit Ukraine Donation - make a good deed and an important contribution to the Victory of Ukraine;

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

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

Visit Ukraine News - get the latest news and updates in our Telegram channel;

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




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