One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to explore local markets. They’re the best places to get a real feel for local life, taste amazing foods, and immerse yourself in the culture. Come with me as I try traditional Ukrainian food in Kyiv, Ukraine!
My afternoon kicked off at Tsars’ke Selo Restaurant, a traditional and authentic Ukrainian spot with my guide Margarita from Tours by Locals. It’s located in an old-school, village-style house in Kyiv!
The employees at the restaurant wear traditional folk clothing, which adds to the atmosphere and ambiance. It’s made to look like an old, cozy farmhouse inside. There’s an outdoor terrace and an open-air kitchen where they grill kebabs and vegetables.
I started with some cranberry vodka, which was incredible! Then, they gave me and Margarita a master class on making vareniki, a type of dumpling that’s popular in Ukraine. The cook rolled out the dough and then I finished up. I had to use the rolling pin to make it very thin!
Then, they cut out the circles in the dough and add one cherry to each dumpling. I had a little bit of trouble making them, but they still came out quite tasty!
The cherries inside the vareniki burst when you eat them. Also, the cherry sauce on top gave the vareniki an added sweetness and tartness. I loved how hot they were on the inside!
We followed the cherry vareniki with the borscht in bread, chicken Kyiv, and a type of local potato pancakes called deruny.
Next, I tried some spicy and strong vodka, followed by the borscht in a bread bowl. The borscht also contained a pork rib inside! The rib was hot, tender, and meaty, and had absorbed the borscht broth. I loved it!
Next was some salo, which is cured pork fat with garlic sauce. I also tried some fluffy bread with garlic & onion sauce and sour cream. But I couldn’t get enough of the meaty ribs!
The deruny were next and came with some sour cream. They were crispy and golden brown. Eating it with a fork and knife was great, but eating it with my hands was even better! They reminded me of hash browns!
Our Chicken Kyiv was next, which is breaded and fried chicken with a buttery sauce with herbs inside. It came with some creamy mashed potatoes and vegetables. I loved it. It was a super hearty stick-to-your-ribs kind of dish and keeps you warm!
Next was more vodka with a pepper inside, followed by potato vareniki with sour cream. The caramelized onions on top were amazing!
We continued with a Kyiv cake that had some chocolate on top, as well as hazelnuts, meringue, and some jelly. It reminded me of Nutella.
The flavor combination was insane and the sweetness was balanced with the nuttiness and a more savory feel! I loved the textures of the different layers.
After eating, we hopped back in the car and drove past the Ukrainian parliament and the residence of the President on our way to Bessarabsky Market, the oldest Ukrainian market in Kyiv, Ukraine.
The market is one large market with high ceilings. It’s the oldest covered market in Kyiv. There are lots of fruit vendors in the middle, as well as butchers, fish vendors, nut vendors, and more. We headed up to the top level of the market, where we got views of all of the vendors below us. Then, we headed back down and tried some salo on bread with radish and garlic. The bread was amazing, as was the lard!
Next was some general’s lard. It was salty and delicious, as was the classic salo. The vendors were so friendly! I followed the salo with some amazing homemade pork sausage. We then came across pickle vendors selling lots of pickled vegetables. Further on were more salo, beef tongue, lamb, and goat in the butcher area. The vendors kept feeding me more pork lard with bread and pickles!
Next was some sweet and creamy cottage cheese and some spongy soft cheese. I followed that with molozyvo cheese, which looked like flan!
Then, I tried some insanely good crystallized honey. Ukraine is one of the top producers of honey in the world! We tried quite a few types, including some that were thicker and others that were spicy! Then, I had an aphrodisiac that tasted like beets! What an incredible look at Ukrainian life at Bessarabsky Market in Kyiv, Ukraine!
I hope you liked coming with me to have Ukrainian food in Kyiv, Ukraine! If you did, please give this video a thumbs up and leave a comment below. Also, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and click the notification bell so you don’t miss any of my travel/food adventures around the world!
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