What is best about Bulgarian cuisine; plenty of fresh vegetables, eaten raw, roasted or stewed with meat in terra-cotta pots. Lots of garlic, onions, oil and spices. Influences of its neighbours, Turkey and Greece are also present in dishes such as Sarmi (stuffed vine leaves), Moussaka and Baklava.
These are some of the more popular Bulgarian salads, well worth a try:
Shopska salata - chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and peppers sprinkled with sirene (Bulgarian white cheese)
Soups are also a very important element in the Bulgarian menu:
Bob chorba - traditional bean soup with plenty of herbs
Bulgarians like their meat - mainly pork (svinsko), veal (teleshko) and chicken (pile) - grilled, fried or as a stew:
Kavarma - meat and vegetable stew, usually served in individual pots
Vegetarians may find the choice on the menu a bit limiting which is a shame as there are plenty of delicious vegetarian dishes. Usually you can find the following but if all else fails try a selection of starters or a combination salad (a plate of various salads):
Kashkaval pane (or Sirene pane) - fried yellow (or white) cheese;
The fame of Bulgarian wine speaks for itself. It is inexpensive and good. Bulgarian beers such as Astika, Zagorka and Kamenitsa are all very continental in their appeal and much cheaper than imported beers. Be wary with spirits, as there is a lot of fake stuff on the market. If it in any way tastes strange, don't drink it. By the way, the Bulgarian for cheers is Nazdrave!
Bulgarian cuisine isn't strong on desserts, most restaurants offer only pancakes or creme caramel. Cafes usually have a good selection of pastries and cakes. The Garash torta is the Bulgarian equivalent of the Sacher Torte, made from eggs, walnuts and cocoa.
Snacks (zakuska) are available all over town in tiny shops or from stands on the street. If you are feeling a little peckish why not try:
Banitsa - fillo dough pastry filled with white cheese
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