The one sure way to quite a growling stomach in the CIS
Its late afternoon on a Sunday and you’ve been walking all day. Your hungry,
but you used up all your play money the night before. What is there for a hungry Kyivian to eat on the street? If you want to go the local way, you have three options: hot dogs, peroshki, or dried
Now, hot dogs are not a Ukrainian dish, per see, though most Ukrainians will
claim the sausage in the middle to be. I’ve tasted a few, and I’m sure that
these are really the Western variety of hot dogs, not the Ukrainian sasiski.
You can also have the usual condiments on your snack, though none will ease
those horrid hot dog burps that come later.
Fake Cheeze Balls are always an option in Moscow
To avoid such gastronomic situations, you can opt for the tasty peroshki,
those meat/potato/cabbage filled breads sold by the babushki at every metro
stop. If there are more than one lady selling peroshki at a certain stop,
you can ask who specializes in a certain type (my favorite is the rare potato
& mushroom), though each lady will say that her cooking is the best.
Also, if you can be polite about it, ask when they were cooked, for sometimes
the ladies will be hawking day-old peroshki.
You can be sure that the dried fish are more than
a day old, with my supplier swearing hers are less than a week from the sea.
With the fish, there are several tricks to having a good meal. First, choose
a female fish with red roe. Ask the seller to cut open the belly of the fish
and show you, she will be more than happy if you actually intend to buy one.
Usually the larger, more expensive fish are tastier and less salted than
the small ones. Then, after you’ve chosen a fish, have her cut it into sections
before you leave her stand. Once you’re ready to eat, tear of the top fin,
and then pull off the skin from the top of the section towards the belly.
It should come off in one long section, so you don’t have to get messy trying
to scale it.
Now that you have your food, you need something to wash it down with. If
you’re getting a hot dog, you can drink anything from water, to cola, to
beer, with Coke being the favorite with the customers of the stand by my
building. If you’ve got a few peroshki in your hand, then go with kvas, the
original Ukrainian drink.
I was knocking back a glass, I chatted with one of the sellers at the ubiquitous
blue and yellow kvas barrels around town. She said that my kvas was cool
on that warm sunny day because it was actually a double barrel, with thick
insulation between the inner and outer barrels. Her location, right at the
exit of a popular metro, kept her working the entire time we chatted, and
was why she went through an entire barrel every two days. She didn’t own
the barrel, only worked hourly for the company, and surprised me when she
couldn’t remember when they last cleaned the inside!
If you went with the fish, or you’d rater have a little more punch with your
meal, and it not be bacterial contamination, beer is your obvious choice.
Unlike my home country, you can drink beer on the streets of Ukraine. Odd
as it may seem to my Puritan background, I love the practice! In fact, I
try and partake of it daily, much to my parents’ dismay.
Unfortunately, we don’t have Baltica, a superb brew from St Petersburg, in
Ukraine, but the local Slavutich makes a decent showing. Along with Obolon,
both are sold in several varieties, with the alcohol content (from four to
seven percent) shown on the label. When your done with the brew, don’t forget
the my page on the collectors, and hand your empty
bottle to Anna Petrovna, she’ll be waiting.