Bulgaria is perfect for holidays; it has beautiful national parks, picturesque monasteries, first-rate beaches, and exotic caves. And above all, it has cheap and delicious food, full of flavors. You can call Bulgaria a foodie-paradise where you can try plenty of Bulgarian food at a reasonable rate. Although Bulgarian food is not popular or famous as yet, it is flavor-rich for sure.
The key to such a good taste is their ingredients. They all have exceptional quality and are fresh. In Bulgaria, there is a substantial focus on natural organic ingredients, and several of its restaurants prefer to go with growing their produce.
Whether you are a vegetarian or lover of meat, Bulgaria has everything for everyone. You will find a great variety of Bulgarian soups, dishes, plenty of salads, meat, and fish that appeal to all tastes. Along with the flavors, Bulgarian foods are amazingly healthy too.
Things You Should Know About Bulgarian Food
Just like other Balkan countries, Bulgaria suffered a vital influence from the Persian and Ottoman Empires. So, you will see many Bulgarian dishes familiar with Greek and Turkish Cuisine like Kebapche, Banitsa, Moussaka, Lokum. As mentioned earlier, fresh Bulgarian products and seasoning are the secret behind Bulgarian food being so flavorsome.
You cannot go wrong with the quality ingredients, simple food, and prime seasoning. Sharena sol (meaning colorful salt) is one of the important seasonings of Bulgaria. It is a Bulgarian spice mix of sweet paprika, dried summer savory, and salt. Moreover, it makes a neat and creative gift to give someone. Summer savory is another important spice that Bulgarian use in almost everything. They use it in soups, fish, and meat. Summer savory (which has a mild taste) defines the Bulgarian taste. And no other country uses it like the Bulgarians.
Fenugreek, cumin, and sweet paprika are also widely used spices. Besides seasoning, the food that plays the chief role in Bulgarian food is dairy, especially Sirene (white brine cheese), a common ingredient in nearly every dish. You will see it in salads in particular, but you will also find sirene topping on the French fries. Besides these ingredients, yogurt is the queen of Bulgarian cuisine. Bulgarians claim that their yogurt is best in the world as the origin of Yogurt is Bulgaria. The bacterium that gives Bulgarian yogurt its consistency and unique flavor can only be found in Bulgarian.
General Traditional Bulgarian Food and Drinks to Try
It is a thin bread, like a pancake or pita. You can serve Parlenka as is or with cheese, olive, and garlic. In addition, you can have it with Bulgarian stews or with anything.
Bulgarian Sarmi is vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with a delicious mixture. For meat lovers, they use mince, spice, and rice. For vegetarians, they use only spices and rice. Usually, people serve it as a starter, but you will also find Sarmi on the Christmas Eve table. If you visit Bulgaria, it is a must-try for all.
Shopska salad or Shopska Salata is a traditional Bulgarian salad made with chopped tomatoes, peppers, grated white cheese, cucumbers, onions, and fresh parsley. Sirene or white cheese, granted on the top of the veggies, is what makes Shopska salad different from the regular salads. It gives the salad an inimitable flavor and makes everybody loves it.
Sujuk, a fermented sausage, is versatile in its uses and packed with tons of proteins. Mostly, you will see Sujuk made using lamb, pork, or beef. However, some recipes also call for the use of horse meat.
Several people prefer grilling or pan-frying Sujuk and then enjoy it as a topping on a pizza or with their eggs in the breakfast. You can pair Rakia fruit brandy or a Bulgarian red wine with Sujuk for an excellent experience.
Banitsa (Banitza) is the yummiest, most regular, and versatile Bulgarian breakfast. You can serve this baked pastry cold or hot and make it according to your taste: sweet or savory. For the sweeter varieties of Banitsa, you can fill it with ingredients like walnuts, pumpkin, or apples.
Banitsa is a rare high-calorie Bulgarian food, but you can go for the healthier varieties filled with onions, cabbage, spinach, or leeks. You will find people consuming Banitsa during the festive winter season and with a side of yogurt. Moreover, the pastry often contains coins or good luck charms.
There is a humorous saying in Bulgaria that an ideal partner must know how to cook good Moussaka. Bulgarians have their unique recipe of making Moussaka, which is thought of as being more Greek. It is well-liked throughout the region. In the Greek Variety of Moussaka, they use eggplant. The Bulgarian Moussaka substitutes it with potatoes and contains egg, ground or minced meat, and sometimes mushrooms.
This super flavorsome traditional Bulgarian food is exceptionally delicious and easy to make. Some recipes call for a yogurt topping to give a little bit of tangy flavor, while others top with cheese.
As compared to anywhere else in Europe, the Bulgarian consumes more yogurt. Kiselo Mlyako is one of the unique yogurt varieties that Bulgaria offers to its visitors. It contains two types of healthy probiotic bacteria, streptococcus thermophilus and lactobacillus bulgaricus. The names of the bacteria may be a bit hard for your mouth, but yogurt goes down very smoothly.
The thick yogurt, Kiselo Mlyako, has a pleasant creamy finish and presents a slightly sour flavor. It is so flavorsome that you can eat it as is; you do not need anything else to go with it. However, many use this yogurt with other Bulgarian dishes. You will find it in soups and on the top of many salads, desserts, and as a dip.
When it comes to drinks, Boza is a well-liked malt beverage. Several Bulgarians pair this drink with Banitsa. Moreover, this drink, made from millet and wheat, is served cold, and it offers a sour and sweet refreshing taste. Boza contains a trace of alcohol, roughly 1 percent. Although it contains alcohol, Boza offers up many vitamins.
When it comes to dessert, nothing can beat Tikvenik. This Bulgarian pumpkin strudel will make you forget carrot cake or apple pie. Moreover, it offers the appropriate amount of sweetness and will not make you feel you may get diabetes afterward.
Tikvenik, shaped in a coil, features flaky filo dough that enfolds a mixture of cinnamon, vanilla, pumpkin, brown sugar, and maybe some nuts like walnuts or pecans. You can serve it with powdered sugar and a bit of orange zest.
Tarator soup is among the heavy hitters of Bulgarian Cuisine. It is one of the most famous and standout dishes of Bulgaria. When you visit Bulgaria, you will notice that tarator soup is on almost every Bulgarian menu. The best thing for the warm summer months, this chilled soup is very refreshing, light, and easy to make.
Tarator soup will be your initial introduction to traditional, authentic Bulgarian cooking. Moreover, this soup usually contains a blend of chopped dill, sunflower oil, beloved exceptional Bulgarian yogurt, and a little bit of garlic. To make the tarator soup more refreshing, they add ice cubes or cold water to it.
Some of them are even topped with walnuts for a bit of crunchy touch.
Bulgaria offers a variety of foods to its visitors, which are not only delicious but reasonable too. Whether you are a meat-lover or a vegetarian, you can get a variety of Bulgarian food according to your preference.