Foods in Bulgaria revolve around blends of flavors reflecting the Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cooking styles. While food like Banitsa and Potato babka Sarma are said to have been influenced by native Slavic traditions, famous foods like Chicken Paprikash, Meat Pancakes, and Stuffed Cabbage Leaves reflect a bit of Hungarian cuisine, a taste of Italy, and a tip of Mediterranean.
For typical foods, delicacies such as yogurt, lukanka, banitsa, and shopska salad are in virtually every Bulgarian’s meal schedule. In addition, beans soup, tripe soup, pastry, and native alcohol drinks, similar to brandy, are traditional Bulgarian foods. Overall, Bulgarian cuisines include a large variety of gastronomies, and here is a concise list of staple foods in Bulgaria.
Banitsa (Banica, Banitza)
Here is a typical Bulgarian dough filled with crumbled cheese butter and a mix of eggs placed in layers. Once the oven is set, the meal is baked until its outer layer turns to gold. It’s perfect for breakfast and lunch, and most Bulgarians enjoy it with yogurt, ayran/airan (yogurt drink), or boza (refined malt drink). However, as much as this meal tastes heavenly, it has lots of calories, so you might want to avoid it if you’re watching your weight.
If you’re familiar with Balkan dishes, you must have encountered several variations of Moussaka on multiple occasions. The Bulgarian style includes potatoes, eggs, and minced pork meat. It is widely loved among Bulgarian men that often joke about not marrying a lady that can’t cook the perfect delicious Moussaka.
While the Greek variation of moussaka revolves around eggplant, the Bulgarian dish is wholly based on potatoes that act as layers for the meat. Similar to Banitsa, it’s usually enjoyed with Bulgarian yogurt as well.
This meal involves a simple but perfect combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers mixed with Bulgarian white cheese with some parsley. A shopska plate of mixed greens is the ideal meal you serve visitors toward the beginning of a typical Bulgarian feast.
Conspicuously, Shopska salads’ colors include white (cheddar), green (cucumbers), and red (tomatoes and peppers). This interestingly matches the shades of the Bulgarian national flag 🇧🇬
A smooth indication that Shopska salads play an important role in Bulgarian cuisine.
This is another yogurt-based soup that sends chills down the spines of most Bulgarians. It essentially combines cucumbers, garlic, dill, and sometimes walnuts. Tarator is a staple food you enjoy on those hot summer days after taking a break from sunbathing on the Black Sea coast. Also, most Bulgarians prepare and enjoy this meal in the comfort of their home.
On the other hand, Tarator is often used to introduce the renowned Bulgarian yogurt widely known for its medical benefits. Likewise, you can try Snezhanka (Snow White salad), serving mixed greens adaptation of Tarator that utilizes strained rather than diluted yogurt, similar to Greek tzatziki.
A salad variation that involves a combination of roasted peppers, tomatoes, and onions, finely ground using a pestle and mortar. Garlic and parsley are often used to spice Lyutika. Infrequently, it’s mixed with yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, or crumbled chicken.
A spicy sausage prepared from pork or beef (veal). The meal is traditionally made in a dried cow’s intestine and hung to dry for a few weeks. Once it’s dried and kneaded, a white fungus is usually allowed to sprout on it, which must be removed before eating. Lukana is diced into slices and is often enjoyed when it’s cold.
Bulgaria’s cuisine features a mix of different Balkan kitchens, Orient cuisine, and many other local meals. The foods mentioned earlier are a few staple foods prevalent in Bulgaria. Some other famous dishes include Sarma, Popara, Gyuvetch, and Tsarska turshiya with veggies, and minced meat. Rice, finely chopped onions, tomatoes, eggplant, and okra, etc., are also popular recipes. Read more here