A Sample of typical Bulgarian foods
by Mark Doser

Author's note: When I mention "typical Bulgarian foods" I am explaining about foods that are common and typically eaten in Bulgarian homes and restaurants. The origin of these foods may or may not have come from Bulgaria. They may have originated in Turkey, Greece or other regions as well.

Also, if you would like to see how the names are spelled in Bulgarian, the corresponding Bulgarian Cyrillic Script is written next to the English name. If it looks like nonsense characters, you need to set your web browser to Character Set Cyrillic - Windows 1251. It's easy. Click here to view the directions which are provided at the bottom of this page. Now for the food....


Banitsa - Баница - Made of very thin flaky pastry rolls stuffed with white cheese, yogurt and eggs, baked in the oven.

Gyuvech - Гювеч - A stew made of peppers, tomatoes, eggplant (aubergine), vegetable marrow, okra, onions, potatoes, green peas, parsley etc. It can also be prepared with pieces of meat.

Kebabche - Кебабче - Shaped like a hot dog, they are prepared from equal parts of lamb and veal, mixed together with finely chopped onion , cinnamon and salt to taste and grilled at high temperatures until a think crust in formed sealing in the meat's juices. Kebabche are found in almost all restaurants and at many street side snack stands.

Kyufte - Кюфте - Grilled meatballs prepared are served much in the same way as Kebabche. Served immediately with a sauce of finely chopped onions, parsley, tomato puree and small hot peppers. (The sauce is also served with Kebabche.)

Kicelo Mlyako - Кисело мляко - A unique Bulgarian yogurt culture "bacillus bulgaricus" (look at the ingredient list on your yogurt container and you may see it) which has acquired legendary status as a means of longevity. Thicker and creamier than typical American yogurt.

Musaka - Мусака - Minced beef, sliced aubergines (eggplant) and tomatoes, finely chopped onion and parsley, black peppercorns and salt to taste - all covered in sauce made of flour, fat, eggs, milk and salt to taste, and baked in the oven.

Pulneni Chushki s Meso - Пълнени чушки с месо - Peppers stuffed with mined veal or pork, paprika, rice, peeled and chopped tomatoes, chopped red pepper and parsley, and cooked in a deep saucepan in the oven. Served with a sauce prepared from yogurt, flour and eggs.

Riba Plakia - Риба плакия - One of the best known Bulgarian fish dishes, usually made with carp, bakes (covered with slices of lemon) with a mixture of sauteed onion in oil and garlic, salt, pepper, paprika, sugar, water and tomato paste.

Sarmi sus Zehlevi Lista - Сърми със зелеви листа - Cabbage leaves stuffed with a mixture of pork (sliced into small rectangular pieces), finely chopped fried onion, peppercorns and salt, and boiled until the meat inside the leaves is soft. Served on a bed of rice.

Sarmi c Lozovi Lista - Сърми с лозови листа - Vine leaves stuffed with a mixture of minced lean lamb or veal, white bread, finely chopped onion, rice, chopped herbs, salt and pepper, and cooked in a sauce of blanched and blended tomatoes or puree, with added sour cream or yogurt. Served with red cabbage and salad.

Tarator - Таратор - Finely chopped cucumber, crushed walnuts, garlic, oil, dill and salt, all mixed thoroughly in yogurt. Served with finely chopped parsley on top. Great on hot days.

Shopska Salad - Шопска салата - Perhaps Bulgaria's "national salad." Salad made of fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and grated white cheese.

Shkembe Chorba - Шкембе Чорба - Tripe (stomach) soup. Cooked tripe is boiled in water with salt and pepper and chopped into small pieces. After you add a beaten egg, milk and cooked for a few minutes. At the end some hot chilli pepper is added. Served with a mixture of vinegar and chopped garlic.

Cirenay - Сирене - Common white cheese, looks similar to Greek Feta cheese, but is not as dry.

Kashkaval - Кашкавал - popular yellow cheese. Used in sandwiches, cooked dishes, pizzas and almost everything you can think of.

Other popular dishes use Teleshko - Телешко - Veal, Svinsko - Свинско - Pork, and Pilay - Пиле - Chicken. Kartofi - Картофи - Potatoes are a staple food. Bread is often eaten with the main dish (not before the dinner as is more common in America.)

Of course, if you come to Bulgaria, you can always go to McDonalds, KFC or Pizzerias, but why not try some of the the national cuisine?


Desserts

Baklava - Баклава - Think flaky pastry, butter, walnuts, cinnamon and sugar syrup, baked in the oven.

Halva - Халва - Dessert usually made of melted butter, sugar and water. Served with crushed walnut kernels and cinnamon.

Krem Karamel - Крем Карамел - Creme Caramel - Pudding dessert with a caramel taste.

Other common desserts include biskviti - бисквити - cookies, Sladolet - Сладолед - Ice Cream and various torti - торти - tortes or pies.

You may find many of these foods in Greek restaurants in America.


How to set the character set in your web browser to read Cyrillic letters:

Internet Explorer:

At the top menu, go to View, select encoding and select Cyrillic (Windows).

Netscape:

At the top menu, go to View, select Character Set and select Cyrillic - Windows 1251.