Although I was a bit bummed that our pirate dream was cut short, I was super stoked to have the opportunity to go to Ukraine, a country that I admittedly knew nothing about.  As always, I was eager to try new foods and learn to properly cook some traditional cultural dishes.  Unfortunately, I ended up having way too much fun going out in Lviv with my couchsurfing hosts.  After a few fun-filled nights, I bid them farewell and headed south to Vorokhta, a tiny village in the Carpathian Mountains.

Ukraine is cold.  Maybe not all the time- I went in late September- but man was I cold.  This might have been partially attributable to my lack of warm clothing (just a hoodie and thin sneakers, to be exact), but the temperature was at freezing point while I stayed there.  After a nice long hike, breathing in the fresh alpine air, I wanted nothing more than a hot bowl of soup.  I could feel illness encroaching, and wanted to try to nip it in the bud.  No one in the village spoke English, and on top of that, all of the menus were only printed in Cyrillic.  We went to the only restaurant that would take us at 11 at night, repeating the only Ukrainian word that I knew at the time: “Vegetarianski?”.  The staff understood, and served us a very basic (but delicious) mushroom soup that definitely hit the spot.  Turns out, I still got sick two days later, but this soup was definitely worth it.  Enjoy!

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 8 oz/250 g oyster mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz/250 g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 9 c water
  • 2 large onions, diced or sliced (depending on your preference)
  • 2 large carrot, shredded or sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 tbsp oil (olive or sunflower)
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp basil (optional)
  • 1 tsp paprika (for an added kick)
  • salt and pepper to taste


Pour 9 c/2 L of water into a large pot and bring to a boil.  While the water boils, chop the vegetables.  Once the water has reached boiling point, add stock cube, sliced vegetables, garlic, and seasonings, and reduce to a simmer.  Cover if possible, and allow to simmer over low/medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If you prefer a thicker soup, add mixture to a blender and blend until you achieve your desired consistency.  Serve with bread, crostini, or crackers.

Yields 4 bowls of soup

Ukrainian-Inspired Mushroom Soup