Countries with the Most Similar Food to Ukraine

Country Food Similarity Index - Map of Countries with Similar Food to Ukraine

The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied. 

The Most Similar Cuisines to Ukrainian Food

Four of the five countries with the most similar food to Ukraine are also predominately Slavic. It also borders all of these nations, except for Bosnia & Herzegovina. These neighboring countries have similar agriculture as well. The Eastern European region has a history of great cultural exchange, so it is no surprise their cuisine is similar as a result.

  1. Russia has had a huge influence on Ukraine. Both countries are predominately Orthodox Christian countries that were once part of the Soviet Union. One of the most iconic dishes that both countries share is Borscht. Other shared delights include Pirozhki (small stuffed buns) and Pelmeni (dumplings filled with meat or mushrooms), which are slightly different but equally popular in both nations.
  2. Poland and Ukraine share a long border. Both Slavic countries cherish dishes like beet soup and dumplings. Ukrainian varenyky are similar to Polish pierogi, featuring various fillings like potatoes, cheese, and cabbage. Similarly, both countries have a tradition of pickling vegetables. Ukrainian cuisine also offers delicacies like holubtsi and vushka, reminiscent of Polish stuffed cabbage and mushroom pierogi.
  3. Belarus is to the north of Ukraine. It is another predominately Orthodox Christian country that was once part of the Soviet Union. Potatoes are an essential ingredient in their cuisine. Potato pancakes and potato salad are beloved dishes in both countries. These crispy pancakes, made from grated potatoes, are a comforting treat that can be enjoyed with sour cream or applesauce. Both countries also like to eat Kholodets.
  4. Romania is the only country that is not mostly Slavic on this list. However, both countries border each other and also the Black Sea. Mamaliga, a type of cornmeal porridge similar to polenta, is commonly eaten in both countries. Another popular dish in both countries is cabbage rolls. Romanian Sarmale features minced meat mixed with rice and spices, wrapped in pickled cabbage leaves.
  5. Bosnia & Herzegovina does not border Ukraine, but its cuisine exhibits some intriguing culinary overlaps. One such similarity is the use of minced meat in their dishes. In addition, Bosnia’s version of Burek, a savory pastry filled with meat, cheese, or spinach, mirrors the Ukrainian love for Pirozhki and Varenyky. Furthermore, both countries have a tradition of preserving fruits and vegetables for the winter season.

Related: The 10 Most Similar Countries to Ukraine

The Least Similar Cuisines to Ukrainian Food

Four of the five countries with the least similar food to Ukraine are located in Africa. The climate in these countries is also significantly warmer. This affects what type of crops are grown in these countries. Moreover, these countries are much less developed than Ukraine. Potatoes and wheat products are not as commonly eaten in these countries.

  1. Chad is a landlocked country in the middle of Africa that is mostly Muslim. Sorghum and millet are the two most commonly consumed grains there. These crops are well adapted to the Sahel’s harsh climate. Beef is the most popular meat, but lamb meat is also often eaten there. One popular ingredient used in Chad is saka-saka, a mix of spinach and cassava leaves.
  2. Cambodia is the only country in Asia on this list. The Cambodian diet is heavily based in rice and cassava. Unlike in Ukraine, Cambodian cuisine makes use of a wide range of herbs and spices, including lemongrass, galangal, and kaffir lime leaves, to create a unique flavor profile. Furthermore, many of the country’s Buddhists avoid eating meat.
  3. Democratic Republic of Congo is mostly rainforest, so its climate is much hotter and humid than Ukraine’s. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country, an ingredient that is not commonly seen in Ukraine. The most commonly eaten meat in Congo is fish, whereas chicken is more popular in Ukraine.
  4. Central African Republic is another former French colony that is located to the north of Congo. Cassava and yam are two of the most commonly eaten staple ingredients in the country. Furthermore, taro and bananas make up a much greater share of the diet in Central African Republic than in Ukraine.
  5. South Sudan is to the west of the Central African Republic. It is another country where cassava is the staple food, however the country eats its share of sorghum as well. Unlike in Ukraine, beef is the most commonly consumed meat in the South Sudan. Peanuts and sesame seeds are also commonly parts of their cuisine.

Related: The 10 Least Similar Countries to Ukraine

Full Food Similarity Ranking of Countries and Territories

Ukraine’s Most Common Food Ingredients

Protein: Chicken, Egg
Fruit: Apple, Banana
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Potato, Wheat

Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

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