Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Snapshots of Ukrainian Life, Part 3

  • I can't figure out portion sizes here. I go into a restaurant and ask- "How big is this meal?" or "Is it enough food for two people?" The waiter or cashier looks at me like I'm crazy and then replies- "Look, it says here on the menu it's 200 grams." I'm like......uh, 200 grams? In the US the only thing we sell in grams is cocaine! I have no idea what 200 grams means. Is it enough to feed a football team or only one lonely little plate?...... Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure the restaurant staff think I'm mentally impaired. It's obvious like the foot-long hot dog is to users of the metric system.
  • Ordered a pricey drink called "Russian Flag". It turned out to be a single shot, served with a....straw? WTF? Mexico House restaurant, you shame Russia. Incidentally, Mexico would be very upset to discover you're serving potatoes in lieu of beans in your 'Mexican' dishes. I'm pretty sure they don't eat a lot of potatoes in Mexico....
  • Tonight I saw a priest at a cigarette and beer stand! But maybe he was just buying a soda.....


  1. One shot is usually 50 grams (in the US), so you can finish your 200 grams meal in 4 shots.

    I'm sorry, a drink called "Russian Flag" in Ukraine is a setup. This drink was probably designed to share what many Ukrainians feel about Russian flag. It was designed to feel like an expensive disappointment on a straw.

    The priest at a cigarette and beer stand most likely was the owner of the stand. He just dropped by to see how things are going over there. :)

  2. Mr. M-
    Reaction #1: Thanks! That's very easy to remember when looking at menus.

    Reaction #2: What?! My meal can fit in 4 shot glasses?!!! No wonder people here are so slender!! And that explains why I can have dinner at a restaurant and then come home and eat another meal....

    Haha, clever observation about the "Russian Flag"...maybe you're right!

  3. Re: ""How big is this meal?" or "Is it enough food for two people?""

    How this is solved in _the_ USA? Remember that not all people as slim as you ;)

  4. In the US, if you're not getting "bottomless fries" and free refills on your soda, it will never be enough food!

  5. If put jokes aside, I find those grams in menu much more useful to answer the question 'will it be enough for me or my company'.

    Unlike it is done, say, in Viennese Speisekarten, where you see just 'Schnitzel' or 'Spareribs' with unpredictable size of the dish...

  6. Yes, I agree, grams are useful once you understand how much food they represent.

    If I want to know how big a meal will be in the US, the waiter will usually indicate the size of the plate, but here plate size sometimes has nothing to do with how much food will actually be on the plate....hence my earlier confusion!