Food & Drinks

    Local food
The cuisine in Bulgaria is quite rich, since it’s a combination between local, European, Mediterranean and partially Oriental food. It is often considered to be fresh, tasty and hearty by foreigners. Of course, some of the main dishes are quite popular in other countries as well, but there are particular ones which are traditional only for Bulgaria. Usually when you have a Bulgarian lunch or dinner, you will be served a lot of vegetables (which are very often home-grown), some dairy products and when it comes to meat – most likely chicken or pork (or maybe both). It is good to know that the Bread is King on the table. There is no chance you would be invited over for dinner and won’t be served bread. However, when you go to a restaurant if you want some bread you would have to order it, not like in some European countries where it is served as you sit at the table.
Here is the list of some of the traditional Bulgarian dishes:
1.    Shopska salad (shopska salata) – It is actually well-known in many countries. The main ingredients in it are tomatoes, cucumbers, pepper (green) and Bulgarian white cheese. Actually, when you combine everything together, you get the Bulgarian flag. It is good to know that it goes with Bulgarian Rakiya (but bear in mind it’s an alcoholic beverage).
2.    Banitsa – in Bulgaria there are many types of pastries – different kinds of breads, pitka, pogacha, kifla (something like croissant) and banitsa, being the most popular one. In almost every corner of the country, you can find a different style of making the banitsa made. The thing that makes it so tasty is the fat. Usually, Bulgarians have banitsa and boza (another typical drink, but not alcoholic) in the morning for breakfast.
3.    Musaka – it is very often called the mother of all dishes, since it’s one of Bulgarians’ favorites. Even though you can find it in other Balkan countries, it’s a very delicate topic where it actually came from. Actually, no one really pays that much attention, since everyone loves it. The main ingredients are potatoes, pork mince and eggs. There are also various types of the dish, but this is the most common one. It’s an inside joke between Bulgarians that a man cannot marry a woman who cannot make him musaka.
4.    Lyutenitsa – probably this is one of the things that Bulgarians love more than everything. First, because it is usually homemade, and second – because it’s insanely delicious. Made from fresh tomatoes, red peppers and sometimes eggplants, this is the perfect partner for a slice of bread. Of course, there are also different types of lyutenitsa – some made with apples, some with cheese. It is good to know that Bulgarians are divided into two camps – ones are favoring the homemade lyutenitsa, and the others are market-made fans. All the same, everyone in the country loves it.
5.    Tarator – it’s really hard to describe if tarator is a beverage or a soup, probably something in-between. Made from yogurt (or ‘kiselo mlyako’, translated as sour milk in Bulgarian), cucumbers, some garlic, dill and water – it’s an easy recipe for cooling out in the hot summer days.
6.    Shkembe chorba – This is one of the most common Bulgarian soups. Shkembe in Bulgarian means tripe and chorba means soup. The other ingredients are milk and a lot of garlic. It is good to know that this particular soup is much cherished as a hangover cure (the more you know).

    Restaurants & bars
Bulgaria is very diverse when it comes to restaurants & bars. If you cannot easily make your mind about what you want to eat, then you might have a problem, since here you can find every type of restaurant – from sushi bars, Chinese restaurants, Turkish ones, fancy seafood restaurants and some of the biggest chains in the world. Of course, the diversity is bigger in the major cities, but still.
There are of course many traditional restaurants, also called mehana where you can enjoy a typical Bulgarian atmosphere with live music and dances. Usually, those kind of places are very often used for big gatherings, so don’t be surprised if they are all booked during the weekends. The food is mainly Bulgarian dishes, but still you can order almost everything for every taste. The prices are very reasonable for Bulgarians, and quite cheap compared to some European countries. Some of the biggest traditional Bulgarian restaurants are Hadjidraganovite izbi (Sofia), Stariya Chinar (Sofia and Varna), Pavaj (Plovdiv), Tenyova kushta (Burgas), Kamunite/The stones (Burgas). There are also many other traditional restaurants in places like Tryavna, Bansko, Veliko Tarnovo, Smolyan and so on.
Other big Bulgarian restaurants are Happy bar&grill , Godzilla, BM restaurants
    Fast food
You are on the streets, you don’t have much time and you want to grab something to eat while you are taking a walk? – Well, in Bulgaria there is always a solution for that! The fast food services are quite developed in the country and you can literally find them in every corner. The diversity is also big – you can get a slice of pizza, sandwiches, hamburgers and there are also other places which are pretty common in the Western countries as well, but you should definitely try the fast food places which are typical for Bulgaria.
We must start with döners, or also known as kebaps (in other countries). These are the places you can find in every city. The döners are favorite food for many Bulgarians (especially students), because of the the good price-quantity ratio. Döners originally come from Turkey, and are made with beef, fries and salad (tomatoes, cucumbers and cabbage). The secret is hidden in the white sauce, as many döner-makers say.
Other typical fast-food places are the banicharnitsi (or simply said – bakeries). There you can get banitsa, burek, milinki, kifla and other traditional Bulgarian pastries. Don’t forget to buy something to drink as well – boza and ayran go really good with them. Just so you know, since those places are usually visited in the mornings as many people have their breakfast there, it’s good to go there midday latest.
Other fast-food places can be found as well. There are certain chains where you can get traditional Bulgarian food only, as well as some healthy/vegetarian/bio places too.
Some of the biggest Bulgarian fast-food chains are Aladin foods, Le Chef, GO Grill
    Food Delivery
Food deliveries have been getting more and more popular among Bulgarians in the past years, as the world trends go. Many people decide to order dinner for home instead of going to a restaurant. Because of this, most of the restaurants are offering food delivery services and you only need to make a phone call. Most of the places have their menus online, which makes everything much easier. The problem is that not all restaurants have their menus in English.
Other than that, there are some certain web-platforms, which put together many restaurants, fast-food places and so on. You can easily browse their menus, make your order without making a phone call and even pay with your credit card. The delivery prices are very low, compared to other European countries – it’s around 1 lev per kilometer. The service is also pretty nice plus the delivery time is not more than an hour.
Some of the biggest food delivery platforms in Bulgaria are: Lakom.bgBGmenu, FoodPanda
    Drink & Drive
This is a service which has been getting a lot of attention lately. Many Bulgarian drivers decide to go out with their cars, have a drink (or two) with their friends and instead of driving home, to use the Drink & Drive services. This is also part of the prevention of drunk drivers on Bulgarian roads, which is a problem in the country. So, you go out – have fun – call the guys from Drink & Drive – they get you home in your car and everything is fine.
There are many companies providing these services as usually the prices are not that high – the average fee is 1.50 leva per kilometer for a city like Sofia. You can find a list of Drink & Drive companies below:
Drink and Drive Sofia – Sofia
You drink – we drive - Sofia
DnD Group – Sofia
Drink Drive – Varna
Drink and Drive – Varna
Drink and drive – Burgas

Peter Petrov

Peter Petrov

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