What to eat in Sofia?
Updated: Jun 2
Generally, Bulgaria has a very significant location, and its cuisine is strongly influenced by its neighboring countries as well. Bulgarian cuisine is a reflection of Bulgaria's rich history and diverse cultural influences. It features a variety of fresh vegetables, herbs, spices, and meats and is known for its hearty, flavorful dishes. Dive into this article and explore Bulgarian traditional dishes!
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Shopska salad is known as one of the most popular dishes among the locals. It is often combined with a traditional alcoholic drink, rakia. Shopska salad is a refreshing salad made with diced tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers, topped with grated Bulgarian white cheese. It is a must-try when you visit the capital. You can find many restaurants that offer this dish, so do not hesitate to try it.
Tarator is another traditional dish that you cannot miss trying during your visit to Bulgaria. It is a chilled soup made from yogurt, cucumbers, garlic, and dill. It is the favorite meal of most of the locals during the summer. It does not take more than 10 minutes to be prepared. Usually, it includes a lot of garlic; anyway, be prepared for the strong smell.
Soup topcheta refers to a kind of meatball soup. There are many variations of the soup in every region of the country; however, the most traditional one includes vegetables such as carrots, onions, and celery, as well as meatballs made with ground meat, which is usually a combination of pork and beef. Some other ingredients can also be added, such as rice, noodles, and potatoes.
It is impossible not to mention banitsa as one of the most significant Bulgarian dishes. Banitsa is a traditional Bulgarian pastry made with phyllo dough and stuffed with cheese, spinach, or pumpkin. It is commonly served as a breakfast or snack. It is a typical dish for holidays such as New Year’s Eve. Local people put lucky charms in the banitsa. This could be a small coin or note with positive thoughts, and at the beginning of the new year, everyone is taking one piece of the banitsa. It is believed that this will be your luck for the new year.
Sarmi is also a very significant dish, which I cannot miss. The traditional Bulgarian food known as sarmi is formed from folded sour cabbage or vine leaves that have been packed with ground beef, rice, and various spices. Sarmi is then cooked in tomato sauce or water. It's a common dish on Christmas Eve, frequently served with a side of yogurt. Usually, locals prepare the sour cabbage at home, and they use it during the winter to prepare sarmi or other dishes, which include sour cabbage.
Kavarma is next on our list. Kavarma is a slow-cooked traditional Bulgarian dish that is usually made of pork or beef and vegetables. The meal is prepared in a gyuvetche or gyuveche, a ceramic or clay pot. In the absence of one, a cast iron casserole, oven, or slow cooker would do just fine. The vegetables that can be included are carrots, leeks, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, and onions. This is a very popular meal that you should not miss trying.
One of the favorite desserts of every Bulgarian is tikvenik. It is known as the sweet version of banitsa. Tikvenik is made of pumpkin (tikva) filling and warm cinnamon encased in a crisp phyllo pastry. This dessert is usually served during Christmas, and it is a great combination with yogurt.
Rakia is a traditional Bulgarian brandy made from grapes, plums, or apricots. As I already mentioned, this alcoholic drink is a perfect combination with Shopska salad and many other dishes. However, rakia is not only used for drinking; many Bulgarians believe that rakia helps you recover when you are sick. Usually, most of the locals make their own rakia at home. Even though it is a very popular present, when you go to someone’s home to bring your own rakia.
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