Balkan Peninsula is a hidden gem in Eastern Europe. In this small peninsula 12 countries are located. It is a crossroad between Europe and Western Asia. Therefore it is affected by many civilizations such as Byzantine, Greeks, Arabs, Jews. Also thanks to this mix of different cultures, Balkan food became a dream cuisine for many wanderers. In the northern regions, Balkan cuisine mostly consists of different types of pastries usually filled with cheese or meat. However, the southern regions are usually affected by Mediterranean cuisine. Balkan food is more similar to Greek and Italian cuisines. The southern part of the Balkans usually uses seafood. In this listicle, we will talk about the most beloved Balkan foods!
Cevapi is a form of grilled meat. It is influenced by Ottoman cuisine. Therefore, it is very similar to Turkish köfte. It is a national food in southern Balkans. However, unlike its Turkish counterpart, it is served with sour cream, kajmak, or ajvar depending on the region. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is made by beef meat, however, in other countries such as Bulgaria and Serbia, it is also made by pork. Thanks to Balkan immigrants cevapcici can also be found in Western European countries as a portion of fast food.
Ajvar is probably the most famous condiment in the Balkans. It is made out of roasted bell papers, olive oil, and eggplants. Salt or vinegar can be added according to preference. It tastes so good, we are sure that once you eat you will never forget the taste.
Burek is a filled pastry. It is made up of phyllo. You can fill cheese, spinach, meat, or anything else. It stems from Turkish cuisine and it has a place in many cultures. For example in Albania, there is a pastry made up like a burek, and it is called Lakror. It is filled with meat or vegetables. You can also eat your burek sweet. Greek Galaktoboureko is a great example of that. It is a pastry filled with custard and it tastes like heaven.
Kajmak is dairy food similar to cream. It can be used as an appetizer in average Balkan breakfast, but it is also served with meals. It is so thick and it has amazing flavor. Don’t forget to try kajmak with honey.
If you haven’t already eaten baklava you are missing a lot. Baklava is one of the most beloved sweets in the Balkans. It is a Philo pastry, sweetened by syrup and filled with pistachios. It has many variations and shapes.
Dolma is a general name given to stuffed vegetables such as stuffed pepper. It is part of Ottoman cuisine. However, there are many variations from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. It is usually filled with rice but in some cultures, people use barley instead of rice.
One can not miss the chance to talk about sarma, which is a variation of dolma. Unlike dolma, it is made from stuffed wine leaves or cabbages.
Pljeskavica is a beloved food in Serbia. It is served with other Balkan favorites such as ajvar, kajmak, and also onions. Leskovac version of Plijeskavica is the most famous one. It is super spicy and a great mix of lamb and pork meat.
After all this great food, we need a drink. Rakija is a fruit spirit popular all through the Balkans. In Greece it is Ouzo, in Bulgaria it is Rakija. It has a very distinct taste and the alcohol content is as high as 40%.
What is your favourite Balkan food? Let us know in the comments below!