Restaurants & Bars 1

Ukraine - Market in Kharkiv

cheyenne | Jul 15, 200512:41 AM

Tsentralny Rynok
This is very close to Constitution square (Konstitutsii Ploshad); head downhill on the north side of the square (perpendicular to Sumskaya with Sumskaya behind you), you will be heading towards the river on a wide divided street with grass, paved sidewalks, and rubble between them. Promptly get a cup of kvass (a very tasty lightly fermented beverage made from black bread and yeast and not very alcoholic) at the yellow kvass-mobile at the end of the divided street before crossing the street and river. A half-liter cup is 1 hriven (20 cents), and it comes in 2-3 sizes if you don't want so much. Cross the river and here is the market, mostly on the right side of the street.

The main market building (on the right and the most permanent-looking structure around) houses the food stuffs--it's like being in a huge train station with the arched scaffolded ceiling way way up. The food seller stalls break down to the following: cheeses (mostly yellowish, med-consistency, holey "Russian" or “Ukrainian cheese”), fresh cheeses (like cottage cheese and sour cream--these guys are all in one arm of the building in a large white room with a long row of scales; I wouldn't know how you might make the decision of whom to buy from), fruits and veggies (we're back in the main room now), honey, mushrooms, pickled canned goods, dried fruits and nuts, pork fat (salo) and various porky products, freaky meat and organs hanging from hooks and behind display cases (whatever is not behind a glass window is bound to be felt up by every person who passes by--definitely a sight to behold; plus, there are stray dogs passed out on the floors everywhere you turn), sausages and head cheeses and various salamis and such, random meat stuffs, bread and pirozhki (baked usually), pickles, pickled salads and veggies, and spices. Inside this food section, all the venders want to give you samples of everything they have in their stalls, or anything you try to buy (if they hadn't given you a sample already). They just start slicing off stuff and handing it to you until you tell them to stop or buy something. Even the honey girls will dip some honey out with a butter knife and smear it on your knuckle to try. This is, of course, awesome, but should not be taken advantage of; they will remember you--particularly if you open your mouth and a foreign accent comes out. Buy stuff for a picnic lunch! Or if you don't want a sample, politely say "no thanks."

Outside the main building are semi-temporary and more temporary stalls made of wood or metal and cardboard with umbrellas or tarps overhead to keep the sun at bay. Here is everything else: shoes, clothes, there is an entire baby section where we sort of got lost accidentally (they laughed at us when we said we didn’t have a baby and asked how to get out), tools, electronics, toiletries, underwear, cosmetics, hats, stockings, sewing notions, kitchenware, seedlings, flowers, seeds, folk remedies (teas and herbs and such--you tell them what ails you and they will mix up a tea or whatever for you to cure it), coffee, plastic products, plastic bags, paper products, dried goods, pastas, grains, tinned goods, CDs (always blaring pop music at full volume--but if you hear something you like and want to ask what it is, they will mercifully turn the volume down when you poke your head in the kiosk window), and just lots of miscellaneous weirdness. You will undoubtedly have finished your kvass by now, but never fear, halfway down the market on the main road is another yellow kvass mobile! Save your cup and get another! In between the more official looking stations in the market are people just sitting around with whatever they have on hand to sell: broken watches, one plate, rubber bands, thread, a photo of someone in a totally weird looking frame, etc. There are food stalls throughout and you never are more than 30 feet away from someplace that sells beer (although they keep the stuff in refrigerators, it's infrequently cold). Towards the outskirts of the market are the randoms who lay out tools and sundries in the dirt (or on tarps) on the ground. Maybe a full city block worth of these guys to wade through. (Around this back side of the market is a lady who has excellent fresh fried pirozhki.) The far end of the market also has different grains for both human and animal consumption as well as all manner of baby chickies and duckies in crates. They are shockingly cute and we saw the babushky buying them. I so wanted a baby duckling but what the hell would I do with it. Sigh. Then along the streets and river and bridges leading to/from the market--totally outside the general confines of the market--people are sitting under umbrellas with whatever they have on hand to sell arranged neatly in the dirt in front of them. It is not a quaint market by any stretch, for those of you used to the markets in Europe or tourist areas in SEA, but it is amazingly fascinating and the people are totally friendly--not pushy at all when you show interest in their stuff and not offended or miffed if you don't want to buy it. There isn't a whole lot of bargaining going on. Most stuff is priced and unless you are buying a ton of it, it seems you just pay what they have listed.

There are other markets of interest in Kharkiv too; I’ll refrain to save server space. Email me if you are interested in descriptions and locations. Cheyenne-at-imipolex-dot-org. Be warned that if you are headed Kharkiv-way, I will flood your inbox with descriptions of every single restaurant in town and exactly where to get fresh this or that and what time and etc.

Photos are as follows: much-fondled meats and sleeping doggies; me caught in the act of purchasing my 7th kvass of the morning; rows of mostly uninhabited scales in the milk-product room of the market; action shot of purchasing pink pickled garlic; cute cute baby ducklings; market sundry--a little something for him and for her...

Image: http://cheyenneweil.com/misc_images/k...

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