(Originally published on Vancity Buzz)
The Ukraine has been very present in the daily news due to the civil unrest with the presiding government. Ukraine was a part of the USSR, but became a separate country when the old Soviet Union was broken up following the Perestroika of 1986. You may have not even been born, but to experience the taste of Ukrainian cuisine you can find it at the Ukrainian Village Restaurant located in the downtown west end. This is a modest and homey place filled with Ukrainian kitsch, wooden chairs and tables.
Ukrainian Village Restaurant has been in the same location for the past fifteen years. About 18 months ago two new owners took over and continued the Ukrainian cuisine. One of the owners, Irina Bikulova, is the chef. One owner is from Russia and the other from the Ukraine, so you will be guaranteed an authentic homemade meal.
Ukrainian cuisine served here is basically comfort food. Most of us think of Perogy (dumplings) and Cabbage Rolls (cabbage leaves rolled with rice filling and other ingredients) as their typical food and you are indeed correct. These two dishes are their signature specialties. There are other flavourful dishes that will provide many choices for any diners. The food is not spicy and the flavours are pretty familiar. You will discover very quickly that this style of cuisine is very filling.
Ukrainian food is diverse with a rich history given its geographical position. Other well known dishes are Borshch (vegetable soup made with a variety of ingredients), Yushka (fish soup), Olivye (salad) a number of entrées. Many of these dishes are hard to pronounce and many won’t be found at this restaurant given they are focused on the usual favourites of North American diners.