Gastronomy and hospitality are the stand-out elements of the rich Albanian culture. Being welcoming and friendly, whether to friends or strangers, is a fundamental aspect of Albanian society. Albanian cuisine is an example of the highly regarded Mediterranean cuisine. For many years, this cooking style has been recognized as the healthiest diet in the world. While the roots of Albanian cuisine date back thousands of years, modern dishes have their origins in the Ottoman Empire, and Turkish influences can be found.
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Trust us when we say - this will become a lunchtime favorite of yours after one quality taste. Green and red peppers, skinned tomatoes, onions, cottage cheese, and spices are used to make this dish. These ingredients are baked together until they reach a thick consistency. The end result is a hearty dip with chunks of delicious, soft vegetables. Fegese is commonly served with bread for dipping and is eaten as an appetizer.
Tave Kosi, a popular lamb and veal dish in Albania, was one of our favorites. Lamb meat is baked in an earthenware dish after being covered in an egg and yogurt topping. When the dish is finished cooking, it resembles a quiche - the famous French pie. By piercing the fluffy egg topping, you can see the tender meat at the bottom. This is one of the country's most well-known dishes.
Speca me Glize
Although meat is popular among Albanians, there are many meatless dishes available for vegetarian travelers. Speca me Glize, a meal made from red, yellow, or orange peppers, is one good option. The peppers are stuffed with rice, spices, and cottage cheese before being baked. You will find a variety of versions across Albania and as many of the other dishes - it is cheap!
Pispili is another traditional Albanian dish that does not include meat. This beautiful light and healthy dinner option can be found in all three culinary regions of Albania in various varieties. The dish consists of cornbread and green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, leeks, or even nettles. Some people like to add mint for additional flavor. Pispili definitely earns a spot on our list!
Qoftë are grilled, baked, or fried meatballs made with minced meat—beef, chicken, lamb, and/or pork—similar to the Middle Eastern kofta. Herbs, spices, and vegetables may also be included. Qoftë is a traditional Albanian dish that can also be found in Southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and even India. It can be eaten as a snack, with a salad, dipped in yogurt, with bread, or as a dinner side. When visiting Albania, meat lovers must try these Albanian meatballs.
Although Albania may not be the only place to find seafood, given that it is situated along the Ionian Coast, a Mediterranean Sea arm, fish and shellfish are frequently consumed there by both residents and visitors. Fishermen carry their catch of the day to shore in the city of Saranda, which is situated right on the water, so that everyone may see it and buy it. You may get a dish of grilled shrimp or red mullet fish for less than $10 at one of the many seaside eateries. Fresh seafood must be consumed while visiting Albania.
Locals love the traditional Albanian dessert known as shendetli. The typical cake ingredients—flour, baking soda, sugar, and eggs—are used to make this delectable treat. What distinguishes this dish from other cakes is the combination of honey and walnuts. After the cake has finished baking, a hot syrup made of sugar, water, and vanilla is poured over the top, and the cake is then left to soak for the entire night.
This delicacy is a sure bet if you have a sweet craving and are wondering what to eat in Albania. The Balkans, Turkey, the Caucasus, and the Levant all enjoy this meal. It's actually a traditional Christmas dish from Albania. This is a perennial favorite that is made with phyllo dough layers that are butter-separated from one another, filled with chopped nuts like hazelnuts, pistachios, and walnuts, and bound together by honey or syrup.
One of the most well-liked desserts in Albania is kabuni. Butter-fried rice, raisins, salt, and mutton stock make up this delightful delicacy. Sugar, cinnamon, and ground cloves are sprinkled on top. When completed, it tastes like a fantastic rice pudding.
Sweet seeds bars that are made with carob syrup. Usually, sesame seeds are used for pasteli but it’s easy to find also mix of various ones. Sometimes even nuts are added to enrich the flavour even more.
Traditional Gorani producers in Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia produce sok, a fermented, gassy beverage that is either non-alcoholic or contains very little alcohol. The fruit is left to ferment under anaerobic conditions in sealed bottles or jars to create the beverage. The locals can use a broad variety of wild or domesticated fruits and berries, including bilberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, rosehips, juniper berries, wild pears, plums, damsons, raspberries, sour cherries, hawthorn, crab apples, cherry plums, and sloe, to make this beverage.
The Gorani community, which lives in the mountainous Gora region between Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia, has a long tradition of producing a type of millet beer known locally as boza. This beverage, which has an acidic flavor and a light alcohol content, is made by fermenting millet (Panicum miliaceum, known as prosok in the local language) in water with no added malt. The Gorani people have been dubbed the bozadzij, or "people who prepare boza," because they are famous for producing this fermented beverage.
Cherry Plum Raki
Cherry plum raki is a traditional alcoholic beverage made exclusively by the Shala community in Northern Albania's Shala Valley. The beverage is made by gathering the small reddish-purple fruits of the cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera) when they are ripe, which are then mashed and fermented in wooden barrels for up to three weeks before being distilled in a large copper pot. However, this drink might be difficult to come by as it is mostly produced for personal consumption by the locals.
Rakija is a generic term for a variety of fruit brandies produced in several Balkan countries (Southeast Europe). This strong spirit is distilled from various fruits and is sometimes flavored or used as a base for liqueurs. The most common varieties are made from plums (ljivovica), Williams pear (viljamovka), quinces (dunjevaa), apricots (kajsijevaa), apples (jabukovaa), grapes (lozovaa/komovica), and a variety of other fruits.
We hope the article about Albanian food made you consider visiting the beautiful country of Albania. We suggest you read other food guides that we created - Montenegro food guide, Maltese food guide, and many more! Follow us on Instagram @thewalkingparrot to be alerted when new articles are published!