Bulgarian food is fresh, tasty, and incredibly satisfying! While many of its dishes can also be found in its Balkan neighbors, Bulgarian cooking tradition is diverse and boasts a local flavor that separates it from its counterpart in other southeastern European nations. From delectable pastries to grilled meat dishes and nutritious salads, you’ll be in for a pleasant treat during your stay in the country. Adding its fresh fruits and vegetables, fragrant spices, and lots of yogurt and cheese as the ingredients, it simply offers some of the best ones you’ll taste in the region. So, go ahead and discover the list of the top foods in Bulgaria you should never miss out on!
One of the first things you need to try in Bulgaria is the Banista, a favorite dish throughout the country. It is a traditional Bulgarian pie, made of phyllo dough layers with beaten egg and white cheese, curved like a spiral. It is then baked, so it’s deliciously cooked on the inside but delightfully crispy on the outside. Drizzle it with honey, and you’ll be surprised how it’s exceptionally delicious and addictive. Be sure to watch your calorie count if you’re on a diet!
Shopska Salata is the one for you if you’re looking for a hearty dish to fill your appetite. This Bulgarian salad is made of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, black olive, and fresh parsley, with an olive or sunflower oil dressing plus salt and vinegar to taste. What makes this salad special is it is topped with Bulgaria “Sirene” cheese, which is quite saltier but has a creamier texture. It gives the Shopska Salata its unique flavor, which goes great with traditional Bulgarian beverages like mastic or rakia.
If you happen to visit Bulgaria in the summer months, don’t forget to beat the heat with a cup of Tarator. It is a super scrummy and freshening cold soup made of Bulgarian yogurt, garlic, walnuts, cucumbers, herbs, dills, lemon, and vinegar. Toss in some ice cubes, and it’s your best ally during the scorching days on the Black Sea coast.
Sarmi is among the Balkan region’s most creative culinary creations. It is made of vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with rice, spices, and minced meat. Other vegetables, such as carrots or onions, are also added for flavoring. Well-loved across the country, it’s perfect as an appetizer and is not missed on the Christmas Eve table.
You’ll either hate or love Shkembe Chorba if you happen to booze up and enjoy Bulgaria’s dazzling nightlife. This soup uses tripe or cow stomach, which may not be enticing for some. But seasoned with hot red peppers, garlic, oil, salt, and vinegar, dare to try it, and you’ll be amazed by its distinct taste and smell. Well-loved as a hangover cure, it can help get dry mouth and that headache away you got after a fun night out.
Seemingly like a Bulgarian’s take on the hotdog due to its shape and size, the grilled Kebapche has its unique taste and is usually served as a side dish to an ice-cold glass of beer. Traditionally made of only pork, other versions use beef and then added with spices, such as cumin, salt, and black pepper.
Musaka is a dish relished in many Balkan nations. While the Greek moussaka uses eggplants as its main ingredients, the Bulgarian version uses potatoes instead. It then includes minced pork, eggs, onions, milk, vegetables, spices and topped with yogurt. An all-time favorite comfort food, you’ll definitely ask for a new serving in seconds.
Kyufte is typically a meatball, which looks like the rounded version of the Kebapche, but there are few similarities yet differences. First, they both use pork and sometimes beef. Yet, there are kyufte that are added with lamb. Kyufte also comes with parsley, which is not found in the kebapche. Lastly, the latter is grilled, but the former is deemed to be best when fried. Nevertheless, both are well-appreciated specialties you definitely try in Bulgaria.
Don’t be surprised if you see lots of cured and dried salamis and sausages in Bulgaria – Bulgarians love them! The most famous of them all is the lukanka, a flavorful and aromatic sausage made of minced pork and beef, veal, and heavily seasoned with salt, cumin, black pepper, nutmeg, cumin, and coriander. It has a casing usually made of pigs’ or cows’ intestines and is dried for a few weeks before it’s pressed to give its traditional flattened shape.
Patatnik is a potato dish from Bulgaria’s Rhodope mountains. It is made of shredded potatoes, onions, eggs and seasoned with salt, pepper, and mint leaves. While it is traditionally baked, there are also tasty boiled and fried versions. All are filling and comforting, perfect for lunch or as a side dish.
One of the great parts about traveling is enjoying the endless varieties of foods that people enjoy. Whether it be the famous American hamburger or amazing Japanese foods, you can always find something to enjoy. Bulgaria has its own offering of tasty and filling dishes anyone can relish. Yet, this list only covers some of Bulgaria’s top foods, as there’s a lot of other ones waiting for you to discover. So, go indulge, try everything you can when you’re in Bulgaria, and enjoy the mouthwatering experience!