Street Food in Kiev, Ukraine
I hadn’t been this excited about a country since my trip began in Reykjavik, Iceland. It was partially because I didn’t know what to expect. I was aware locals would speak a minimal amount of English and nearly everything would be written in Cyrillic. I knew there were a number of things to see and do but I purposely didn’t look up many images so that I could be surprised. I heard that Ukraine is affordable but wasn’t aware how far the dollar would go and what the street food in Kiev, budget restaurants, attractions and hostels would be like.
Most Americans I talked to told me I was crazy for heading here. “Isn’t there a war going on?” Or, “Are you sure it’s safe? Aren’t you afraid?”
The reality is yes, there is currently a conflict taking place in the southeast of Ukraine, far from the capital city of Kiev. Here is a link to the U.S. Department of State Travel Warning for areas in the southeast and Crimea. Every traveler I talked to who had been here had nothing but amazing things to say about this city. Many said it was one of their favorite places they had ever traveled to. I had to go.
Searching for street food in Kiev online didn’t yield many results at first. Wandering around allowed me to find a few gyros trucks and some basic burger and sausages or hot dogs. With no lines, not-so-fresh food on rotisseries and cooks with frowns on their faces, these carts didn’t look very appealing.
My search continued for a second day and I started to learn the significance of the language barrier in person as well as through address searches. In many cases a ‘y’ in Ukrainian translates to an ‘i’ in English. This is true in many restaurant names as well as streets and addresses and makes a Google Map search its own challenge. I’m including photos of the front of each spot where street food in Kiev is featured below, as well as a map at the bottom for this reason. Hopefully that will help you to find each location more easily than I did.
Address: Fizkultury St., 51, Kiev 01033
Phone: 066 460 4614
On day two I was able to locate exactly what I was looking for. Furgoneta is one of the only trucks putting out street food in Kiev that I was able to find with good reviews on TripAdvisor. The photos on their website also made the food look worth a visit.
Once I found their street food truck I attempted to talk to the guys working there. They spoke next to no English and unfortunately didn’t offer an English menu. Luckily I was prepared and pulled out my phone with Google Translate with Ukrainian downloaded. It helped me to understand most of the menu. I ordered my burger and waited.
In case you forget to download the app, they also offer free WiFi.
I ordered the burger with a beef patty, bacon, local cheese similar to Swiss, slaw and a sauce that tastes similar to savory barbecue mixed with a little ketchup. Flavorful and juicy, this was easily the best burger I had in Kiev. The sauce is one of my favorite parts. It’s so good you may want to ask for a little extra on the side. It’s a steal, priced at just $3.50 U.S.
Furgoneta also offers chicken burgers, other topping options and a number of noodle bowls. For their complete menu, take a look here.
If you love burgers, check out my favorite surf & turf burger back in Copenhagen.
Address: Bessarabs’ka Square, 2, Kiev – Located inside Besarabsky Rynok (Market)
Phone: 099 487 7606
I heard Vegano Hooligano through a wonderful local and was excited to give them a try one cold and rainy November day in Kiev. This street food stall is known locally for their delicious falafal wraps.
Falafel, carrots, cabbage, onion, tomato, hummus and vegan tartar sauce rolled inside a flat bread. Simple, healthy and tastes great! One of the best parts is that they sell for just over $1.00. What a deal! It was cold outside and I was instructed to try a ginger green tea. It was strong but tasty and made me feel warm and much better. The tea was about $0.50. Additional menu items include hummus bowls with veggies, soups and other vegan choices.
Vegano Hooligano is located inside a local market called Besarabsky Rynok. Thankfully I had some help from my local friend and tour guide Slava. She recommended it and took me there to show me after a tour. The full story and Slava’s passion for this food and for Kiev can be found in my first Street Food With a Local post.
Be sure to take a look around the market before you leave!
Address: 43 Bulvarno-Kudriavska St., Kiev
I had not tried Georgian food prior to visiting Ukraine and let me tell you, I’ve been missing out. Located next to a currency exchange, St. Georgia puts out a Georgian specialty called khachapuri. These meat and cheese wraps are similar to a gyro or dönör in Istanbul, except the ingredients are baked inside the bread. During my first visit I had the beef version. It was good but wasn’t as fresh as I had hoped. On my second trip, I simply asked for whatever was the freshest and was presented with chicken and cheese.
For my first bite, there was a small amount of cheese inside but almost all chicken. I wondered if there was some sort of a mistake or if maybe they just use a tiny amount of cheese. A few bites later my bite was almost entirely gooey, flavorful cheese. It appears they alternate the inner ingredients rather than combining them.
Be sure to ask for the additional Georgian sauce called tkemali. It’s made from plums, herbs and spices. Ketchup would be the closest thing I could compare it to but it’s much better. It might sound a little weird but it was so good I ate the rest of it after I was finished with my khachapuri. I highly recommend checking this place out.
Address: 7a Starovokzalna St. Kiev
Located near the tram, bus and train station in central Kiev, stop by Sultan Basha to try one of their halal wraps. I had never actually tried halal food prior to this so I had to read up on it. Personally, I couldn’t tell much of a difference between this and many other meat wraps from a flavor standpoint but I can tell you I really enjoyed it.
No English was spoken here but I was able to gesture and point to get this wrap. Chicken was cut from the rotisserie along with some cabbage, carrot, a flavorful red sauce that looked like pureed tomatoes and peppers. a generous amount of tzatziki, pickle and onion. This was all rolled up in the flat bread and then headed on a large panini press. A smear of tzatziki was then placed on the top of the wrap and handed to me.
Another great meal of street food in Kiev for about $1.00!
Address: 3 Khmelnytskoho St., Kiev (near Khreschatyk)
No list of street food in Kiev is complete without mentioning Kyivska Perepichka. The traditional Kiev dish they prepare is a sausage inside fried dough that tastes slightly sweet. Open only during the day, when you pass by the area you’ll see people munching these down all over the place. I’m told the line can reach several hundred meters around midday. The locals love it.
The dough was a little too sweet for my taste but you should give them a try. At around $0.50 they’re also an incredible deal. Let me know what you think below.
Map of Street Food in Kiev
There is so much to do and see in Kiev! I walked around the city for days looking at all the beautiful churches and statues. You can also ride and of their three inexpensive metro lines for around $0.20 from anywhere to anywhere else in the city.
The quality and price of the street food in Kiev just add to the list of why more travelers should come here. All over the city you can find great food for very inexpensive prices. Personally, I can’t wait to return.
I also recommend checking out this post from my friend Drew over at TheHungryPartier: 10 Reasons Why I Love Kiev. Like me, Drew is a native of Arizona and he also has red hair. What are the chances? He runs a very informative and successful travel blog I’ve been following for a while and this post is one of the big reasons why I decided to head to Kiev. The photo he snapped off from the top of the Mother Motherland statue alone is reason enough to take a look!
I loved my time in Kiev and hope you consider heading there to enjoy it as well! Let me know what you think!
Budmo! (Cheers in Ukrainian)
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