Most Popular Traditional Bulgarian Foods

As a whole the traditional Bulgarian cuisine is similar to the Mediterranean one – lots of minced meat, pork, eggs, bread, sirene and yogurt.

Here is a list of local dishes and drinks you must try at least once, while in Bulgaria.

Traditional dishes:

Shopska salad: made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, raw or roasted peppers, and sirene (white brine cheese); a Shopska salad and a small cold rakia is a traditional and favourite way to start your meal in Bulgaria

Shkembe Chorba is a type of tripe soup (tripe is the thick lining of the stomach of cattle). Seasoning the soup with garlic, vinegar and chilli peppers is a must. You either love it or hate it – nothing in between. It is a difficult soup to cook and it’s hard to find a place where you can eat a really good Shkembe Chorba. I know many Bulgarians who like to eat Shkembe Chorba after a heavy night of drinking. They say it helps the hangover…

Shkembe Chorba

Sujuk – Sujuk consists of ground meat (usually beef) with various spices including cumin, sumac, garlic, salt, and red pepper, fed into a sausage casing and allowed to dry for several weeks. It goes very well with heavy red wines in the winter time.

Similar to sujuk is Lukanka. It is Bulgarians’ favourite salami. Traditionally, Lukanka is made of pork, beef, and spices (black pepper, cumin, etc.) minced together and stuffed into a length of dried cow’s intestine as Casing. The white stuff on top is flower. You can find different brands of Lukanka in the grocery stores. It is much more expensive compared to other local salami, sausages and meets. We eat Lukanka raw and thinly sliced usually as an appetizer. Foreigners often say that it smells like worn socks to them, but… what do foreigners know:)


Banitsa – a traditional Bulgarian pastry prepared by layering a mixture of whisked eggs and pieces of sirene between thin pastry and then baking it in an oven. The home-made version is the best because the pastry is actually made by hand. Where they sell banitsa they usually offer boza – a thick, sweet, brownish drink made of wheat, which we think, goes very well with banitsa. You can also find boza in the supermarkets.

boza - sweet thick wheat drink

Mekitsa – is our alternative to a donut. It is fried dough, which we eat with powder sugar, jam, honey or sirene. Not a very healthy breakfast, but so delicious!


Kiselo Mlyako –  Yogurt. Yogurt as such originates from the Bulgarian region. The bacteria which turns the milk into yogurt lives around the Bulgarian region and it is called “bactericus bulgaricus” They have tried to ship the bacteria to different regions but so far no luck with that. Mr and Mrs Bulgaricus seem to have liked the Bulgarian region and refuse to breed anywhere else. Real yogurt has nothing to do with the creamy sweet substance that Dannone produces. In fact not all yogurts in Bulgaria are real yogurts. I can recommend a few brands that still taste like the real stuff: “Био Кисело Мляко”, “Елена” and there are probably good small local brands.

Kiselo Mlyako (Yogurt) - good brands

Sirene (white brine cheese) – pour some olive oil, sprinkle red pepper on top and its the perfect appetizer and goes very well with local red wines. There is a large variety of brands out there. I recommend these two: “Био Краве Сирене” and “Маджаров”. They are pricier but way tastier.

Traditional drinks

Rakia – strong fruit brandy. I am a big fan of Rakia, but I do not drink the one that they sell in the stores. I only drink home-made Rakia – the one made of plums is my favourite. But be careful with the home-made rakia since it can be overly strong. If you have to order or buy rakia the best popular brand is Burgas 63 (Бургас63). Remember this basic equation: Rakia + Shopska salad = great way to  start your meal.

Wines – Bulgaria is a wine country and wine tourism has a bright future. You should try Mavrud a unique red wine, common only to the region of Thrace in Bulgaria.

Learn about the most unusual foreign food finds from pig placenta drink to baby eels imitation as seen by LonelyPlanet travel bloggers and hosted by orange polka dot.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

13 Responses to “Most Popular Traditional Bulgarian Foods”

  1. Cheryle Pump Says:

    One more great blog post! I shared this one on Facebook – you must add a “like” button to your posts. 🙂

  2. Shannon Says:

    Hmmmm gotta do project on eu country what country should i do bulgarian foods look quite nice yum yum?!!!!!!!!

  3. Dragoș Says:

    You forgot to tell people about ‘sirene po shopski’ or chushki byurek, or… pfff… there are lots of fine food in Bulgaria!

    • katya Says:

      Sure there is so much more to Bulgarian food than just my humble article. Feel free to continue the list of meals. I’ll be happy to approve all your comments:)

  4. john Says:

    this is cool

  5. Radu Badea Says:

    Hi Katya .I am Radu from Romania -Bucharest and i would like to ask you something ;Are you working for a food company!?I am am interested in some things from Bulgaria and i am wondering that you may help me ,and i will be grate full to you.In case you want to help me i invite you on Messenger to communicate more efficient.My messenger id;braduxx.

  6. Parasmani Says:

    I like shopska with lukanka. I am a Nepali guy, but those are very very nice.I have been working with a Bulgarian guy that who is my department head boss.He is my head of duty department and he is kindly teaching me to prepare some kind of Bulgarian dish.

    • katya Says:

      Parasmani, shopska and lukanka is a good combo, indeed. I rarely eat meat now, but if I do lukanka is my first choice. I really like the spicy ones… Judging from your origin, you probably prefer the spicy ones as well 🙂

      • Parasmani Says:

        Dear Miss/Mrs. Katya , Thank you very much for respond me. Yes of course I can service you, some of spicy ones from
        our origin. we most eat the rice and curry here in Nepal, it takes some more time, but anyway here is a kind of spicy meal with can be shopska, bread,and lukanka. As following..

        1. cucumber medium size,peeled, sedded cut cube or lenthwise.
        2. 4 potatoes medium size,peeled and boiled,cut cube.
        3. 1 tbsp. of sesame seed rosted and paste
        4. 2 green hot chilly chopped
        5. some of fresh coriander leaf,chopped, can be dill
        6. a pinch of cumin powder
        7. salt to taste
        8. pepper to taste
        9. lemon juice of one
        10. one tbsp of normal oil.
        11. mustard seed if you have brown one is good.
        heat the pan and oil fry the mustard seed remove the pan and mix well all ingredients of above and serve.If you like please reply me as i hope.

      • katya Says:

        Did I ever thank you for your recipe? Thank you!
        It sounds great and I plan on cooking it very soon. I’ll let you know how I did.

      • Parasmani Says:

        sorry, please I have forget 2 clove of garlic paste.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: