Galician and Western Ukrainian Regional Cuisine
More than Borsch – A Fusion of Cultures
You may associate Ukrainian cuisine with borsch, but you’ll find a whole lot more at Lviv’s Ukrainian restaurants. Western Ukraine’s rich history as a borderland has been marked by periods of trade and conquest. These changes in rulers and borders created a diverse cuisine—traditional Ukrainian dishes were flavored by classic Viennese cooking, Polish influences and a dash of Hungarian spice. The result is a distinctly regional Galician cuisine.
Galicia’s Meat Cult
If you’re a meat lover, then you’ll find lots to like about Galician cuisine. While many dishes may include poultry, beef and lamb, well-prepared pork is by far the most popular ingredient in meat dishes. In Lviv you can try delicious kruchenyky (meat rolls stuffed with mushrooms or prunes), shynka (smoked ham) or kovbasa (sausages), which all go well with local beers. But the iconic pork dish in Lviv is salo (cured bacon). It can be served raw, and salted, and boiled, and smoked, and roasted. For an authentic experience, try some salo spread on dark bread with pickles and a few (or several) shots of horilka (vodka).
Galician Food for Vegetarians
If you’re a vegetarian, then you’ll find that Galician cuisine has lots of hearty vegetable and starchy dishes for you to enjoy. In Western Ukraine the king vegetable is cabbage—it’s the main ingredient in many dishes from borsch and kapusnyak (cabbage soup) to holubtsi (stuffed cabbage rolls) and varenyky (stuffed with cabbage). And how could we forget to mention deruny (potato pancakes with a crispy golden crust)? A whole variety of salads? And comfort foods like varenyky (dumplings) and mlyntsi (pancakes) topped with sour cream? It’s hard to find another national cuisine that could compete with the rich assortment of starchy Galician dishes, including dishes with healthy hrechka (buckwheat).
Where to Enjoy Galician Cuisine in Lviv
Nearly every Lviv restaurant offers some Galician and West Ukrainian dishes. But if you’re looking for restaurants that specialize in traditional local cuisine, then you might want to try Seven Piggies, Kentavr, Restoratsiya na Valoviy, Kryjivka, Kumpel, Panska Charka, or many others.
Quick Guide to Western Ukrainian Dishes
Banosh – a hearty polenta-like dish that’s prepared with corn flour and sour cream seasoned with bacon, mushrooms and farmer’s white cheese. It’s popular in Ukraine’s Carpathian region.
Varenyky – also known as pyrohy (pierogi) – varenyky are square- or crescent-shaped dumplings of unleavened dough, stuffed with sauerkraut, farmer’s white cheese, mashed potatoes, cabbage, meat or a combination of these, or fruit fillings. Varenyky are typically topped with fried salo bits (shkvarky) and onions and accompanied with sour cream. Sweet, fruit-filled varenyky are served with sour cream and sugar.
Deruny – shallow-fried pancakes of grated potato, flour and egg, often flavored with grated onion or garlic and seasonings. They are often served topped with meat sauce, pork crisps, as well as sour cream, mushroom sauce and farmer’s white or sheep’s cheese.
Borsch – this well-known soup is made with beetroot as the main ingredient, that gives it its distinctive deep purple color. While borsch is not an exclusively Galician dish, it’s prepared differently in Western Ukraine than in other parts of the country. Borsch is usually served with sour cream (smetana) and pampushky (little buns) spread with minced garlic. During Christmas, borsch is served with vushka (small dumplings with mushroom filling).
Kruchenyky – thin slices of steak stuffed with mushrooms, onions or prunes, rolled in a tube and sealed by a thread or wooden skewers, fried in lard or butter, stewed in its own juices.
Kholodets’ – (sometimes called dryhli in Western Ukraine) a meat aspic prepared according to old recipes. Aspic is prepared from beef, pork or poultry meat. Kholodets’ is served with horseradish and mustard or vinegar.
Salo- cured pork fat, this iconic national dish is often mixed with garlic and spread on bread.
Buryachky – a fiery salad of red beets and fresh horseradish, which also goes well as a spread for meats and sausages.
Shkvarky – fried bits of bacon; a universal snack and a component of many dishes.
Nalysnyky – thin pancakes with filling, often white cheese or mushrooms, meat, or cabbage. Served with sour cream.
Uzvar – a slightly sweet compote of dried fruits.