As I have said over and over again, for such a diverse city, Vancouver is pretty much dominated by Asian cuisine. Although there are many Italian and Greek restaurants to choose from, there is little else in terms of diversity. And let's not include North American food in this mix. It almost seems like other ethnic cuisine are under-represented. In a city as large as Vancouver, those "other" cuisines are indeed not very prevalent, even when there is a significant population of certain ethnic groups. For instance, according to the statistics for Vancouver, there are over 200,000 people of Eastern European origin. But then when one looks at the available restaurants that serve Eastern European food, there aren't many. If we break it down even further and focus on Ukrainian food, it gets even smaller. Heck, the most recent Ukrainian eating experience I had was from a co-worker who made authentic borscht. And no, it's not like what a Hong Kong style cafe serves. Now, I'm not going to profess that I know much about Ukrainian food. Heck, look at the options we have here. Other than perogies, cabbage rolls, borscht and kovbasa (kielbasa) sausage, I haven't had much "Ukrainian" eats. The last time I even had such food was from Hunky Bill's at the PNE (which I've done for many, many years...).
Since last year, a little shop that opened up on St. John in Port Moody has piqued my interest. A Taste of Ukraine didn't look like much; but there was some good words from reliable friends. Seeing how I was hungry and with no one to eat with, it seemed like as good of a time to grab some take out. Now, if one wanted to eat in, there are 2 tables available. For me, I grabbed a few items and headed home anxiously. Naturally, I got some Perogies with Kielbasa. There were 2 kinds of perogies - cheddar cheese & potato and sausage & potato). The first thing I noticed about the perogies was the ample filling which was not dense. I found that the cheese perogi was simple in taste while flavourful at the same time. The fat from the pan fried kielbasa provided a certain level of smokiness and flavour as well. As for the sausage itself, it was meaty with a nice sear. There was not too much sausage in the other perogi; hence it was not as flavourful. I much preferred the cheese one.
Continuing on with my "tourist" approach to Ukrainian food, I had one each of the Pork Cabbage Roll and Beef Cabbage Roll. Due to the nature of the meat, the pork roll was more tightly packed than the beef. As for the filling as a whole, there was lots of it and it held together. This could be a bit dense for some people; but I liked how it didn't fall apart while I was eating it. I found that the rice was cooked just right where it was not mushy nor too hard. With the sour cabbage combined with the tart tomato sauce, there was a level of zing as well as a hint of pepper. I thought these were good and well-priced (they were huge!).
Lastly, as I was paying, I noticed a tray of various Piroshki. I ended up getting a Meat Piroshki just to try. I found the bottom of the piroshki a little overcooked but it didn't affect the taste nor texture very much. It was okay, I found the meat to be a bit dry and tasteless. Maybe if this was a fried piroshki, it would've been more interesting. However, other than that, the perogies and cabbage rolls were fantastic. I'm definitely going to hit them up again to try some other items.
- Large cabbage rolls
- Not really a bad; but it's most take out, don't plan to eat-in