Kobasa/Kovbasa/Kielbasa/Kobasy/Kobasi – Where To Find It
However, as with any other ethnic foods, one will come across several different spellings and pronunciations, related to the same food item. Kobasa is one of these foods, as you can see in the title of this article:
- Kobasa – is the most popular name used by most Ukrainians
- Kovbasa – is actually the correct (literary) name to be used
- Kielbasa – this is the Polish description of the product
- Kobasi/Kobasy – I hear that a lot here in the US, among the Eastern Europeans. I guess you can call it an “Americanized” version
Those of you who are not familiar with any of these description, probably wonder what is this item.
Unfortunately, the description will not do it justice, as it sounds worse than it really is. Kobasa (as I refer to it), is a pork sausage, made out of pork meat and some pork fat, flavored with lots of garlic, salt and pepper, stuffed in an artificial or natural casing, and smoked to perfection. Some butchers like to add some beef to their kobasa, and now you can also find veal, chicken, and turkey sausage (but I personally would not call these kobasa).
My dad made the BEST kobasa, and all the folks who were lucky enough to taste it, would definitely attest to that.
Kobasa, being smoked, may be used as is, cooked, baked, or used in other dishes. The Ukrainian and Polish cooks like to prepare it with sour kraut, and serve it as a hot meal. If you are in NYC and would like to have an authentic Ukrainian meal, please stop by Veselka Restaurant.
If you visit Ukraine or Poland, you will find kobasa available for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Having sliced kobasa with fresh rye bread, fresh slices of tomatoes, and cheese, is a standard breakfast menu. Scrambled eggs with sauted kobasa is great as well. Kobasa is used in Eastern Europe on daily basis, just like hamburgers in the US.
So, if this stuff is so good, where does one find it?
Well, you already have seen all different brands of “Polish Kielbasa” in your favorite grocery store, but the ones I have tasted don’t come close to the ones you can find at a Ukrainian, Polish, or German butcher shop. My favorite one is Ukrainian or Polish kobasa, as they are flavored just the way I like it, and smoked with the right kind of wood.
Most larger cities have these butcher shops still available, but because more and more people are being health conscientious, and do not consume as much of these products as they used to, the number of these privately owned specialty shops have dramatically decreased.
I will list some of the ones I am familiar with, and would love my readers to utilize the comment section of this post, and provide contact information for their favorite butcher shops in their location (even if you live in another country, it might benefit other people living there and searching for this information).
East Village Meat Market and Deli
139 Second Ave., New York City, NY (between 8th and 9th Street)
Owner: Julian Bachynsky
Olympic Community Market
122 40th Street, Irvington, NJ
Owner: Oleh Lazirka
European Meat Market
20 Downs Ave, Binghamton, NY
Owner: Konstantin Nagorny
Pulaski Meat Products
Sikorski Meat Market
(between Driggs Ave & Nassau Ave)
Brooklyn, NY 11222
3150 Richmond Street, Philadelphia, PA
Owners: Zenon and Elizabeth Gardyasz
If you like your pork sausage with a similar taste to Kobasa, but leaning a little more towards the taste of salami, you can find it in NYC at:
378 8th Ave
(two blocks South of Madison Square Garden)