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Ukrainian Market, Chicago

uki13

I love food. I've never understood people who forget to eat or get no pleasure from it. But I'm a very picky eater and this sometimes presents challenges when traveling. On most weekdays, my diet consists of chicken, rice and vegetables. I love carrots and my refrigerator is usually stocked with several bags of them. This is shocking to some guests, to open the door and see a sea of orange and not much else. I don't like any seafood and most meats, but will never refuse a sweet, cheese or any type of pasta.

During my recent trip to Uki Village in Chicago, I came across this Ukrainian market. So let's go inside and see what I found.

1. Well first let's start with the outside. I remember in Russia there were hand-written and typed signs hanging everywhere - in shops, on the streets and on bulletin boards. Apparently some are very amusing because my fellow travelers were always taking pictures of them and laughing. But most of the time they failed to share the joke with me.

Here's one example from Arbat Street. If I recall, there's lots of dirty stuff written on these notes. I tried to purify the big white sheet and left my own mark by writing I America. See it there on the bottom right hand side? Perhaps there's a big X over it by now. Maybe some of my Moscow readers can go on a scavenger hunt next time they're on Arbat Street, find the note, and report back to me. :)

arbat

2. But here at the Ukrainian market, a more standard sign advertising a seller position. Bars everywhere at this market, strange because it's in a nice neighborhood and surrounding stores are free of this clutter.

ukraine2

3. Upon entering I asked the young girls behind the counter if I could take photos. Their English was very poor and they looked at each other as if they weren't sure how to answer. Then I explained the purpose, to put the photos on a travel blog primarily read by Russians. Mind numbing back and forth discussions and they finally agreed. Something very weird with Russia and some former Soviet Bloc countries - the need to prohibit photos of something as basic as food.

girls

4. Immediately my eyes went to these colorful bottles. I was certain it was Ukrainian pepper vodka. I did shots of this in Ukraine with my friend's babushka (in her late 80s) and loved it. Probably the most memorable night of my trip. So I wrote him and he informed me it's actually vegetable oil. Ahh!! Good thing I didn't buy some and take a shot. :)

vodka

5. Here's Lydia, the coolest babushka ever, and my favorite Uki zavkafedroi. The photo was taken during my trip in July 2011. He now lives in the middle of nowhere in Southern France and occasionally writes posts about the beautiful surrounding rural areas. I'll be sure to visit him in the coming months.

babushka

6. Ukrainian candies. Not sure if they are chocolates, caramels or something else?

ukraine4

7. Looks like an Easter treat, but I'm told this is some type of cookie. Maybe a spice in the plastic tubs beside the cookies? And again, high security at this market with the closed circuit television warning posted. "NOTICE!" - big brother is watching at all times.

ukraine3

8. I think I drank this beverage in Russia. Similar to American root beer but I believe it has alcohol in it.

ukraine18

9. I hate fish and this is some type of dried fish snack. I'm not sure why there's a Swiss looking girl on the package? I guess blonde hair, big boobs and beer are a golden marketing strategy for the target consumers. I think the guys ate a similar snack at the seedy vodka bar we went to in St. Petersburg. I ate cheese and crackers.

ukraine9

10. Some type of smoked fish. How do you eat this? Just pick it up and eat the whole thing, eyeballs and all?

ukraine12

11. Salted herring.

ukraine14

12. Different juices. I recognize the word "сок" on the packaging. I'm not sure how close the Russian and Ukrainian languages are but I assume there are many similarities.

ukraine8

13. More fish and other interesting foods. The round dish is particularly vibrant with the green and yellow. I think the green is dill but I have no clue what the yellow stuff is. I pointed to it and asked one of the young girls "Что это?" She indicated it was some type of pate. The only thing I would eat here is the potatoes and maybe the egg roll looking things on the left.

ukarine10

14. Now we're talking - Kyiv cake! So tasty, I ate it in Kyiv. A crunchy type of cake.

cake

15. Some type of pumpernickel bread. Combo of Ukrainian and English on the packaging so I'm not sure it's an authentic Ukrainian product.

ukraine11

16. Gopnik soul food! Cute babuska on decorative packaging for sunflower seeds.

ukraine15

17. Delicious cheeses and more sweets.

cheese

18. This frozen treat I really liked. Similar to a candy bar I ate in Russia that had a cheesecake type filing covered in chocolate. In the States, we have slices of cheesecake but the filling is not typically found in candy bars or frozen treats. It's a pity because it's delicious.

daduedit

19. During my trip to Ukraine I ate the national dish varenyky on several occasions but never stuffed with meat. Always the potato/onion kind or the sweet ones stuffed with fruit fillings. I liked these the best.

varenky

Anyone see their favorite food? For those who have traveled to America what did you think of our food? It's difficult to say what "American food" is. We have everything here but I think hamburgers, steaks and potatoes are considered traditional American foods by most foreigners.

приятного аппетита!



Comments

( 97 comments — Leave a comment )
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descolorio
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:32 am (UTC)
Thanks, nice post.

It must be halva next to cookies in plastic jars, kind of sweet thing made of sunflower seeds.

Kvas is quite different from root beer, it's made of bread. Because it's fermented, some very low amounts of alcohol can be present, but factory made one on the photo would be alcohol-free.

And it's Ukrainian-looking girl on dried fish package ;-) such salty fish usually eaten as a beer snack.

Cherry vareniki with sour cream are nice, I love them! Also, the ones with potato and onion, you most probably can get in any Polish shop, they're called "pierogi ruskie" in Polish.

American food: I actually quite enjoyed it most of the times. Beef dishes are the best in my opinion: steaks, Texan bbq, etc. The rest was either ethnic or fast food. I also had nice fish in Peruvian and Cuban places in Miami. But these are really American too: they are coming from America, and use USA-specific ingridients, clean and giving generous portions following USA standards, so not really "ethnic".





Edited at 2013-04-25 02:37 am (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 01:55 pm (UTC)
Halva, I've never heard of it! And I didn't see many girls walking around Kyiv with blond hair and big boobs. :) Texan barbecue is great. I'll be going to Dallas next week and will try to write a report about the city.
(no subject) - descolorio - Apr. 25th, 2013 03:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
xpo_xpo_xpo
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:33 am (UTC)
Those small fishes remind me old funny story...
One Soviet worker liked sandwiches with cheap sprats. Once his manager told him that next day there would be some Western visitors so he had to find some more respectable food. Next day the worker ate sandwiches with sturgeon caviar. After visitors' departure amazed manager asked the worker how did he get such an expensive lunch. "I haven't slept all the night, -- replied the worker, -- picking out eyeballs from these fucking sprats!"
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 01:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Those small fishes remind me old funny story...
Funny! Thanks for the laugh on a very sleepy morning. It woke me up.
ivanna_1
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:40 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's interesting to know what people think about unusual food:)
I am from Ukraine, live in Canada now and feel the same in Chinese grocery stores.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 01:56 pm (UTC)
Where in Canada? I'm planning a weekend trip to Toronto soon.
livejournal
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:55 am (UTC)
Ukrainian Market, Chicago
User ivanna_1 referenced to your post from Ukrainian Market, Chicago saying: [...] Originally posted by at Ukrainian Market, Chicago [...]
mybathroom
Apr. 25th, 2013 04:36 am (UTC)
The photo N3 looks like as it was took in Russia or Ukraine but not in the US.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
Did you see my other report earlier in the week about the actual Ukrainian Village? You'll see that in this neighborhood many advertisements and signs are in Ukrainian, Russian or Polish with absolutely no English. I wonder if there's anywhere in Russia I could go and find ONLY English signs? i doubt it. :)) Here's the link: http://peacetraveler22.livejournal.com/17063.html
(no subject) - mybathroom - Apr. 25th, 2013 04:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2013 04:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
maritime_jay
Apr. 25th, 2013 05:17 am (UTC)
Varenyky with meet are called _pel'meny_ and have slighty different form - the ends of varenyk are stuck together.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 01:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, I didn't know the meat version had a different name. Probably because I was never looking at the meat kind on menus.
behemothus
Apr. 25th, 2013 05:27 am (UTC)
there is no alcohol in KVAS :) You can drink it and drive
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 01:59 pm (UTC)
Some people in the comments say it has alcohol? Maybe there are different versions. Like in America, regular beer and non-alcoholic beer. But I don't know why anyone wants to drink non-alcoholic beer! :)
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Apr. 25th, 2013 02:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - behemothus - Apr. 25th, 2013 09:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Apr. 27th, 2013 08:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - behemothus - Apr. 29th, 2013 12:38 am (UTC) - Expand
ipona_mat
Apr. 25th, 2013 06:42 am (UTC)
"Uki" :)
Just guessing - how do you calling russians?

Russian and Ukrainian is a bit like Japanese and Mandarine - if you know one, you can read another a bit. Although Russian and Ukrainian far more similar.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:02 pm (UTC)
Well I can read Russian (though I don't understand A LOT of words) but in this Ukrainian market I couldn't figure out anything! Very common in the States to call Ukrainians "Ukis", but I don't have a similar nickname for Russians. They're simply "Russians" or "spies." Just kidding! :)
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(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2013 04:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
i'm a human beeing - (Anonymous) - Mar. 17th, 2015 12:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
togliatt
Apr. 25th, 2013 06:59 am (UTC)
))) cool!!!
10 photo + 8 photo = antialcohol evening
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:03 pm (UTC)
Hi, glad you enjoyed! And you eat these fish?
(no subject) - togliatt - Apr. 25th, 2013 02:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
yarowind
Apr. 25th, 2013 07:12 am (UTC)
>> I think I drank this beverage in Russia. Similar to American root beer but I believe it has alcohol in it.

It is kvas. Alcohol is there quite a bit, about 0.2-0.5%

>>Some type of smoked fish. How do you eat this? Just pick it up and eat the whole thing, eyeballs and all?

Tear off the head, tail, open the fish into 2 halves, remove the spine - and enjoy :)

>>The round dish is particularly vibrant with the green and yellow. I think the green is dill but I have no clue what the yellow stuff is. I pointed to it and asked one of the young girls "Что это?" She indicated it was some type of pate.

Yes, it is liver pate. Yellow - the egg yolk.

>>I think hamburgers, steaks and potatoes are considered traditional American foods by most foreigners

You're right :)




anna_potapov
Apr. 25th, 2013 07:46 am (UTC)
Thank you for one more interesting post!:)) I so enjoy reading you!:)
I'm not sure what Root Beer is, but Kvas doesn't contain any alcohol :)
"During my trip to Ukraine I ate the national dish varenyky on several occasions but never stuffed with meat" - Probably it's because varenyky with meat it's pelmeny :)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2013 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - yarowind - Apr. 25th, 2013 02:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
pyenot
Apr. 25th, 2013 08:46 am (UTC)
"Gopnik soul food!!

LOOOOL!!! :)))
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:04 pm (UTC)
I'm glad someone enjoys my jokes. :)
alexeykostylev
Apr. 25th, 2013 09:23 am (UTC)
smoked fish... yami :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - alexeykostylev - Apr. 25th, 2013 07:19 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rmike1991 - May. 4th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Anonymous)
Apr. 25th, 2013 09:55 am (UTC)
8 - This is traditional Slavic drink called "kvas", known since pre-historic times :) If it is brewed according to all rules, it should have some alcohol (up to 1.5% of volume). But if it is made from concetrates and flavourings like any modern soft drink, it is alcohol-free. It is a far relative of beer indeed, but made from rye bread and sometimes rye flour instead of malt and hops. Also, it is brewed with "zakvaska" consists of yeast and lactobacilli (while beer is fermented only with yeast). All of this makes kvas unique.

9 - It is rather a German girl, Germany is well-known for its excellent beers and beer-festivals like Oktoberfest, search for the pictures in Google and you will understand why that is on the package :)

10 - Smoked fish is delicious! Even without beer:) Small one is eaten almost whole thing, only without head and tail. Big one is usually peeled and pieces of its meat is eaten.

13 - The round thing looks like "pate pie". It's not a pie actually but pate indeed, made from liver, butter and boiled vegetables. Yellow think is most probably a yolk.

15 - Pumpernickel bread is very popular in Russia and Ukraine for many centuries so it's more than authentic :)
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2013 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2013 02:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:11 pm (UTC)
Back in the day all drug stores had diner type counters. Even as a kid I remember these. They were very cool, you sat at bar stools and I always ordered a grilled cheese and milkshake. But it's very rare now. Tomato juice, I don't think it's so popular in the States. I've never heard of this book, but thanks for the reference. It sounds interesting.

Which U.S. cities will you visit? Be certain to send me links to your reports, even if they are in Russian. I use Google translate to read a lot of Russian blogs and news sites and it works fine. Probably some of my readers also use it to translate my English text into Russian.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 25th, 2013 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
qi_tronic
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:07 pm (UTC)
Some food that is sold in Russian delis is not from Russia because it's impossible to bring it fresh.
For example, I remember quite good kefir made in Canada and I see this Borodinsky bread is made in Chicago.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 25th, 2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
Yes bread has a short shelf life so it makes sense that it's made locally. "Kefir," I don't know this product but I see it's some type of milk.
(no subject) - qi_tronic - Apr. 25th, 2013 02:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Bread has not too short shelf life. - xpo_xpo_xpo - Apr. 25th, 2013 11:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rmike1991 - May. 4th, 2013 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - May. 4th, 2013 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
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