Bulgarian Food: 10 Dishes Which Will Make You Want To Visit Bulgaria
Bulgarian food is not among the most famous in the world for sure but it is flavor-rich, like the Bulgarian history, and surprisingly delectable for anyone who hasn’t tried it before.
These are only ten of the Bulgarian dishes you want to try while in Bulgaria. And if you happen to try them somewhere else, they will make you want to travel to the small Eastern European country immediately in order to devour more.
Eating in Bulgaria is an adventure of its own. It is a journey for the senses, it is a cultural experience, and it is a great reason to travel to the small country, which despite being part of the European Union, is still very affordable and off-the-beaten-path.
What are you waiting for? Cheap flights to Sofia, the Bulgarian capital, as well as to the larger cities on the Black Sea coast are widely available and it has never been easier to check off this great experience called Bulgarian cuisine from your bucket list!
Breakfast: the most important meal of the day
Start your day like a Bulgarian with a banitsa and a boza. Banitsa is a savory pastry, usually filled with white brine cheese and eggs. Boza is known in quite a few countries on the Balkans and in Central Asia. Either the thick, weirdly smelling, brown, lightly fermented drink made of corn will become your favorite one or you won’t want another sip for the rest of your life. If a savory pastry is not your choice of breakfast, then try the fluffy sweet bread buns filled with jam or nougat crème, called kifli in Bulgarian.
Lunch: don’t miss it, even if you’re not hungry
Travelling can be exhausting. What better way to rejuvenate your energy than a nice sit-down lunch? Start with a soup. If you’re not very hungry this would be a sufficient meal. In summer, try tarator with an ice-cold beer. The yogurt-based cold soup with added cucumbers, dill, garlic, and walnuts is healthy and refreshing.
During the colder months of the year, supa topcheta (soup with meatballs) or agneshka kurban chorba (lamb soup) with a glass of Bulgarian red wine will keep your spirits and body temperature up.
Now admit it, the soup has built up an appetite. I knew you were hungry, now order something proper: svinska kavarma (pork and vegetable stew) for the meat lovers or zelevi sarmi (cabbage leaves filled with minced meat, spices, and rice) if you wish a more balanced meal. Now that is a proper lunch and you can go on with your day energized and happy!
Dinner: time to meet old friends and make some new ones
Start your dinner like a Bulgarian, with a salad to go with your aperitif.
Shopska salad with a fiery rakia is the most popular choice to set the dinner mood. Beware, though, that rakia is a high-percentage alcohol and drinking it on an empty stomach can end your evening incredibly fast.
On the other hand, this is the best recipe for making friends. “Nazdrave!” means “Cheers!” in Bulgarian and the more often you raise your glass, the deeper the connection with your surrounding Bulgarians will become.
Continue your dinner by ordering a kebapche, or better make it three! The grilled minced pork, lamb, or chicken meat with different spices is formed as a long stick and is present on every menu in every restaurant, from the capital city Sofia to the Bulgarian Black Sea coast.
The bravest – and the hungriest – travelers can order a mixed grilled plate, or meshana skara in Bulgarian. You have to be starving in order to finish this one. Alternatively, ask your (new Bulgarian) friends for help. This dish usually consists of a meatball, a kebapche, a sausage, a steak, and a skewer with a side dish of your choice.
The most patient and dedicated among you can order cheverme – meat from a grilled whole animal (pig, lamb, or chicken) on a wooden skewer. It is usually roasted on an open fire and it takes hours to prepare. At the end, the meat is extremely tender and juicy, and separates from the bones effortlessly.
Bulgaria is the land of the yoghurt. A dinner won’t be complete without ordering a strayed yoghurt with honey and walnuts or jam for dessert. The thick yoghurt can be made from cow, goat, sheep, or buffalo milk, but in any case, it’s slightly sour. Hence, the Bulgarian name kiselo mlyko, which is literally translated to sour milk.
The bacteria Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, which makes sure the milk becomes thick and sour and is the reason for its unique taste is indigenous to Bulgaria and can only survive in a few other places in the world.
[This post has been written by Naddya, the author of the blog NTripping | Trips & Stuff. She also owns the rights to all the pictures on this post. For more info on how and where to eat and drink like a local while traveling, click HERE. If you want to write about food in your place, get in touch with me by email]