Last March 2016 in El Nido, Palawan I was doing what most solo travelers do when they get bored, wandered around aimlessly looking for something interesting. Since I have been to El Nido countless times, I was looking for something new, specifically something that would get my attention gastronomically. That was when I saw this new brightly lit restaurant in town, Odessa Mama Street Cafe.
Their sign says “Cooked with love. Ukrainian Kitchen.” I have lived more than two decades in Manila and traveled around the country but it was my first time seeing a Ukrainian Restaurant. Where was Ukraine in the map? What do they eat? I decided to head back to my accommodation and do some research on Ukraine and what they eat but then it hit me. I have to set my priorities – eat now, research later. And like a little boy on his first day at school, I went inside knowing nothing.
I saw foreigners in the kitchen that were talking to each other and I have no idea what they were talking about (Language barrier). That’s a good sign that this is an authentic Ukrainian Restaurant. Then I looked at their menu, and guess what? I have no idea what the names of their food were, another good sign that this is an authentic Ukrainian Restaurant.
I looked at their menu and tried to understand everything that I could. I do not know what to order! There’s nothing with rice except for that small sentence below their menu.
I asked the help of their Filipino staff to help me choose, they recommended Cheburek Beef & Cheese. It was good but I shall go into their food deeper somewhere below this line. I was thinking of getting some rice but then I decided that if I’m going Ukrainian, I’m going 100% Ukrainian. No rice. (But with coke, since I love its fizzling sugary goodness.)