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Ukraine
VarenykyNow
unexpected Ukrainian street food in Kyiv
Say you want to have a special snack (you know that feeling - not exactly sure what you want, just something to make you happy right NOW!), it's usually not a fancy haute cuisine dish, that pops in your mind. Commonly it's some sort of good old street food.

"Street food" traditionally refers to a meal which is easy (and pleasant) to eat right on the street (while taking a walk for example).

Ok, we know, you know about hot dogs, burgers, shawarma and other tacos. But there's also national street food. Vietnam, Singapore, Czech Republic, Britain, Germany, France, Mexico - are definitely among the national street food titans.

Ukrainian national street food may not be as widespread as the ones mentioned above. But it's extremely delicious and totally worth exploring. One of the awesome street food points in Kyiv is the VarenykyNOW.UA restaurant near Lva Tolstogo square (Velyka Vasylkivska, 14).

Shall we take a look at the menu?

It's pretty obvious, that if there's one thing this place simply has to serve - it's varenyky. Varenyky - is a traditional Ukrainian dish. It's a lot like dumplings with different fillings. The dough can be either thin or puffy. Varenyky with cherries, cottage cheese, potato, cabbage, mushrooms and meat are probably most popular in Ukraine.

VarenykyNOW.UA serves multicolored varenyky (one color for each taste). You should definitely try their signature black varenyky with pike perch (59 UAH) or classic puffy Poltava-style varenyky with cherries (39 UAH). There's also varenyky with potato and wild mushrooms (39 UAH), stewed cabbage (39 UAH), 4 cheeses (59 UAH), chicken and shrimp (59 UAH), meat (59 UAH). Eat them with a fork if you like, but it's also a perfect finger food.

Another curious thing on the menu is - oysters. "What's so Ukrainian about that?", - one might ask. Oysters themselves are! Cause they're Black Sea oysters. Black Sea oysters were exported to Europe by the early twentieth century, they are less salty than the Mediterranean and somewhat gentler and more iodine in taste. You won't surprise anyone with lemon oysters, so try oysters with ... tomato.

Oysters with tomato cost 39 UAH.


There's a widespread stereotype about Ukrainians eating lard all the time. It's not quite true, but Ukrainians do love lard! Here at VarenykyNOW.UA they have truffle lard carpaccio. Ultrathin slices of finest lard, seasoned with Carpathian truffle are totally delicious. Will go great with a shot of vodka or khrinovukha (traditional horseradish tincture).

Try some truffle lard carpaccio for 39 UAH.

Besides that - lard with some bread will be a perfect addition to a bowl of borscht. Which brings us to the next item on the menu. Borscht has been one of the most famous Ukrainian dishes for over 500 years. There's a unique borscht recipe in every Ukrainian family. Trying borscht in Ukraine is a must.
Trying spicy borscht Cayenne in VarenykyNOW.UA is truly an exciting experience! It's an experimental cosmic cream borscht.

Borscht Cayenne (with meat or vegetarian), served with sour cream and a garlic bun - 49 UAH.

Finally - a natural born takeaway dish. We're talking about a guinea fowl and pheasant liver pate with carrot mousse. This gentle (you can barely imagine just how tender it is) snack, combined with freshly baked bread is simply unforgettable (a glass of wine will definitely not hurt). And it's served in tin cans, so you can easily grab some to a picnic in Shevchenko park (right nearby).

Guinea fowl and pheasant liver pate with carrot mousse - 69 UAH.


So there it is. True Ukrainian cuisine is not to be found in ancient cookbooks. It's right there on the streets. Go get it!