Kharkiv is the second-largest city in Ukraine, and that makes it a natural place of interest to anyone who wants to explore the country, its culture, and its gastronomical peculiarities. Founded in 1654 as Kharkiv fortress, it quickly became an important part of trade and culture during the times of the Russian Empire. In the twentieth century, Kharkiv survived World War II. All the scars and wrinkles of the changing times sculpted a unique face that you should really get to know.
Borsch is a native Ukrainian and Polish dish. A distinctive feature of this soup is its color - red or dark red, it all depends on the beet, which is added there. Borsch is a very rich soup, its broth is brewed from beef meat, and then vegetables such as cabbage, carrots, onions, potatoes are added to it. Today there are many varieties of borsch, but, of course, this is one of the most favorite dishes in Russia and Moldova.
Ukrainian food enthusiasts have long history of trying to discover the true origins of borsch. The dish is extremely popular in most Eastern European countries, and many claim that their compatriots actually invented it. However, Ukraine is the most likely candidate. The recipe of borsch derives from an ancient soup originally cooked from pickled stems, leaves and umbels of common hogweed. Many variations exist thanks to the popularization of the dish, but the true Ukrainian borsch is a thing to seek out specifically.
The aptly named BORSCH eatery will help with this.
This dish was invented by the French chef Lucien Olivier and has nothing to do with what you can now see on the Russian table. Initially, it was not a salad, but a dish that included boiled grouse meat, partridges, as well as cooked crawfish. But the Russians got used to mix all the ingredients and eat them with mayonnaise. Now the salad recipe has changed a lot but has not ceased to be a favorite holiday dish.
It's a rather funny thing talking about the kind of salad that was popularized across the former Soviet countries long ago. Olivier salad is not, in fact, made from a person named Olivier but from diced boiled potatoes, carrots, brined dill pickles or cucumber, green peas, eggs, celeriac, onions, as well as diced boiled chicken or bologna sausage. In Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and other countries, Olivier is the salad served at the New Year's table and is virtually inseparable from the celebration.
Bon Appetit will turn a regular order into a celebration.
It's a very simple green salad, a mix of croutons, parmesan cheese and romaine lettuce. The dressing is so addictive. It's made with eggs, lemon juice, black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, and mustard. This salad was introduced by Caesar Cardini, a restaurateur from the USA and Mexico.
There's a joke in there somewhere about people in Slavic countries naming salads after people, but we can't put our fingers on the proper punchline. Aside from the obvious humour, caesar salad is actually great. It's a green salad made with romaine lettuce and croutons dressed in lemon or lime juice, olive oil, egg, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Quite the combination, wouldn't you agree. Unlike Olivier, it is mostly served casually.
Nasha Dacha is very good when it comes to salads.
Salo is the nutritious fat stored by an animal ahead of winter, after a year of feeding. Pork, beef, lamb, bull and goat salo are all made industrially.
It's almost an offensive stereotype how much Ukrainians love salo. There are countless jokes, caricatures, and stories about this truly national dish that few people outside of Europe would probably recognize. Salo comprises cured slabs of the fastback, and sometimes pork belly, with or without skin. The art of making good salo is something farmers and chefs have perfected over many generations. For preservation, salo is salted and sometimes also smoked and aged in a dark and cold place, giving it a gritty, folk-like look, feel, and taste.
Kume has great local salo.
It is a broad range of dishes from all over the world. They are small balls of dough that is made with flour and water and wrapped around a filling. Fillings are so versatile, it can be any meat, fish, seafood, fruit, etc. Dumplings can be boiled, baked, steamed or fried.
Aside from hardcore fatty foods like dumplings, Ukraine has a lot of softer yet hefty offerings. For example, the local abundance of dumplings is something close to astonishing. Variations with different meats, seasonings, spices, secondary components like herbs and sauces - there's almost nothing in Ukrainian cuisine that cannot be made into a filling for an interesting dumpling. In Ukraine, a special kind of dumplings called "vareniki" is particularly popular
Puzata Hata is a wonderful place for dumplings.
Many countries call dumplings their invention. Chinese jiao-tzu, Asian manti, Italian ravioli, Georgian khinkali, Japanese gedza and, of course, Russian dumplings - pelmeni, are small boiled pies with meat.
Aside from dumplings, the other most popular dish where the dough meets a specific filling with spices and other additions would be pelmeni. Many consider it Slavic or even specifically Russian or Ukrainian food, but the true origins of the dumpling-like recipes are lost somewhere in Asia, where pelmeni or their prototypes were invented long ago. The filling can be minced meat pork, lamb, beef, fish or any other kind of meat, venison being particularly traditional for colder regions, thus making pelmeni especially popular in China and Siberia.
Chekhov has lots of different kinds of pelmeni.
In the culinary arts, the term cutlet is used to refer to a boneless, thin cut of meat — chicken, veal, pork, or lamb — that cooks very quickly and is usually pan-fried. Most cutlets are made by pounding the meat until there's even thinness and are often dusted with flour or coated in breadcrumbs before cooking.
It's common knowledge that cutlets became popular in Eastern Europe after local cuisine in different places became standardized and gentrified according to the standards of globalized living. However, the trick is in the "how", not the "what". The art of making cutlets out of anything requires a lot of inventive thinking - pork, veal, fish, chicken, potatoes, and a mixture of pretty much anything and everything. The main challenge for someone who likes to eat is finding the most interesting cutlets.
Yankee BBQ & Bar offers great cutlets.
Sausages in a natural shell, made of pork and beef, with the addition of black pepper and nutmeg.
Everyone knows what a sausage is. The meat product formed in a casing traditionally made from the intestine but sometimes from synthetic materials can be comprised of pork, veal, chicken or turkey, there's even blood sausage and rare meat varieties. But the principle is always the same. Yet not everyone will even guess what kielbasa is. It's very Ukrainian in the way it is made, stored, and served. Eaten with breast and drinks, added to almost any kind of the main course, Ukrainian sausage is fatty, strong in taste, and very nutritious.
Riva Park Shale has great jamon kielbasa.
Okroshka is a cold soup made of mixed vegetables (raw cucumbers, boiled potatoes and eggs and sausage). The origin of the name might have come from the Russian word ‘крошить’ which means ‘to crumb’, i.e. to cut into small pieces. Then Russian people add some kvass and salt there.
This one is undeniably an Eastern influence. Only the people from the banks of Volga could have come up with the idea of a cold soup comprised of raw vegetables. Even though the ingredients are similar to those in a Russian salad, the taste of okroshka is quite different due to the fact that the ingredients are diced and then mixed with kvass or sour cream. This is what earns okroshka its unique reputation. It's part drink, part salad, and part soup if we're being honest.
Shoti is a restaurant of Georgian cuisine with surprisingly authentic okroshka.
Syrniki is a Russian dessert cooked from quark with eggs, flour and sugar. The mixture is fried in the shape of patty cakes on the sunflower seed oil to become crispy. They are usually cooked for breakfast and served with sour cream, berries or condensed milk.
There is a reason pancakes are universally beloved. There's absolutely no reason for syrniki not to be. This is because syrniki are pancakes made with curd cheese, and they are delicious. The Ukrainian language retains the old Slavic sense of the word that gave the dish its name, meaning "homemade cheese", and the purity of the Ukrainian recipe is in adherence to the classic preparation formula. Syrniki can be served with tea, spoon sweets, and other accompanying elements of a fun dessert.
Mama Manana is a good choice here.
Kharkiv is a modern city in the very heart of Europe that follows the trends and the times but offers something valuable beyond the generalized comfort of today's world - its native cuisine and the love of the people for their food. Get to know it better when you visit.