Bulgarian cuisine is typical of the cuisine found in southeastern Europe with salads favoured for appetizers and a love of soups and pastries. Dairy products feature prominently with yoghurt and cheese used in many of Bulgaria's most popular dishes. The diverse geography and climate of Bulgaria allows a wide range of herbs, spices and vegetables to thrive and such ingredients are used to great effect in Bulgarian cuisine including chubritsa a herb similar to oregano and used liberally in soups, stews and breads.
Pork is the most popular meat in Bulgaria though lamb, goat meat, beef and chicken are also available. Grilling is the favoured cooking method and seasoned meatballs, kebabs and sausages are widely available. Cured meats are also often served as an appetizer. Along the Black Sea coast you can enjoy freshly prepared mackerel scad, bonito and mussels. The Bulgarian fish stew of ribena chorba is cooked with either fresh or saltwater fish and seasoned with thyme.
Vegetarians should find enough dishes to keep them sated with a variety of salads and soups including the rustic white kidney bean and vegetable soup that is widely prepared. Baked stuffed vegetables like peppers are also popular with a filling of cheese and egg.
A tahini-based version of havla - a dense, sweet confection made from clarified butter, flour and sugar - is extremely popular in Bulgaria and often contains nuts such as pistachios or sesame seeds. Other popular desserts include a form of rice pudding, sweet pumpkin pastries and pies, and baked apples.
Bulgaria has a long tradition of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with the fruit brandy rakia one of the better-known. Often made in home breweries from grapes, other varieties include plum, apple, apricot, peach, cherry and quince. Bulgaria is among the world’s top wine exporters and visitors will find no shortage of choice here. Beer is also very popular with a number of good brands produced by thirteen local breweries. For non-alcoholic beverages, Bulgarians will opt for thick yoghurt-based drinks and boza, a warm drink made from wheat, rye and/or millet, with added sugar.
Safe eating while travelling in Bulgaria
Generally, Bulgaria has very good hygiene standards so travellers need not worry about getting sick while on holiday. Nevertheless, basic precautions still apply and you should avoid anything that looks old or like it might not have been cooked thoroughly (especially meat and fish).