Ukrainian red borscht

Ukrainian Salo & Borscht

The Italians have pasta, the French have foie gras but Ukraine has Salo and Borscht.

There is a special place in Ukrainian hearts for these two delicious delicacies that date back centuries. It is said (jokingly) that you will not be allowed to leave Ukraine until you have tried Ukrainian Salo and Borscht. Traditionally, salo is eaten as an accompaniment to Borscht. Often Salo is served with some dark rye bread, and of course, a shot of vodka (and why not). Every country has a culinary hero, an emblem of national identity. Make sure you don’t go home without trying.

Salo

Ukrainian Salo

Often referred to as "Ukrainian drugs", salo is something that is held dear to all Ukrainian's. Salo is basically pork fat that has been smoked, salted or mixed with a variety of spices or garlic. It can be served in a number of ways or even chopped into different varieties of food. Traditionally salo is best served on its own with dark rye bread and a shot of horilka (see alcoholic beverages). Some Ukrainian's prefer "general's salo" which is salo but with some meat on the fat. Contrary to most people’s idea, salo is a healthy food. Pure fat is good for digestion, unlike the transient fats found in much of western food. I prefer it with dark rye bread rubbed with garlic and a shot of vodka or horilka. To visit Kyiv and not try salo would be a tragedy.

Ukrainian red borscht

Ukrainian red Borscht

Ukrainian borscht is a cult dish that captures the essence of Ukraine in a bowl. There are two types of borscht (red and green) but at least 30 variations of the recipe depending on what region of Ukraine you come from. The main ingredients still remain the same – cabbage, beetroot, potatoes, onions, garlic, sour cream, and dill. Depending on a season, borscht can be served hot or cold, with cold varieties often being light or vegetarian. Sometimes as a starter but often as a meal by itself, it is normally served with Smetana  (home-made sour cream), sourdough bread or dark rye bread and or "pampushki"  (delicious hot rounds buns with chopped garlic). Try it with a small glass of Ukrainian vodka. Not to be missed.