Ukrainian food

Red (or Ukrainian) Borshch

Red Borshch is a soup based on beetroots. This is why it usually has a special red colour. Depending on the recipe, borshch may include meat (beef or pork, often on a bone stock), or be purely vegetarian.

Every housewife in Ukraine has ist own way of making borshch, and sometimes not the only one. But, in general, Red Ukrainian borshch consists of various vegetables. Beside beets, there usually are: cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions. Tomato paste, dill and black pepper are often used as condiment. In summer, sweet peppers and tomatoes may be added. Sometimes borshch may contain mushrooms or beans.

This typical Ukrainian soup is often served with smetana (sour cream) and pampushki (small yeast-fermented breads with garlic sauce).

Almost all Kyiv restaurants representing traditional Ukrainian cuisine have borshch on the menu. Some of them may even offer some variations of this delicious soup. So, even if you are not a great fan of soups, try it anyway just to know what it tastes like.

Green borshch

There is also a traditional Ukrainian sorrel-based soup, or green borsch (zeleny borshch in Ukrainian). It is lighter than the red one, and often contains leaf vegetables.

Like beetroot borsch, it is based on meat or vegetable broth, and and usually contains boiled potatoes.

It is served with sour cream, a hard-boiled egg, and may be sprinkled with dill.


Kulish is a millet porridge based on a meat broth, with potatoes, carrots, onions and salo (pork underskin fat). It is considered to be a traditional Ukrainian Cossacks dish. In old times, cossacks appreciated this nourishing porridge for its easy-to-cook. 

The ideal Kulish is considered to be cooked over an open fire. However, the home-made mullet porridge is good as well. The best solution for Kiev visitors is to try it during public holidays, as it is often prepared over a fire in field conditions for different festivals.


Boiled stuffed dumplings, varenyky may be savoury or sweet, depending on their filling. Savoury dumplings may be filled with meat, potatoes, stewed cabbage, salty farmer cheese. Among sweet fillings there are cherries, strawberries, bilberries or sweet farmer cheese.

Varenyky may be topped with fried bits of bacon and onions (for savoury only), with sour cream or melted butter for both of tastes.