Because of Bulgaria's geographical position and history, Bulgarian cooking combines elements of Slavic, Greek and Turkish cuisines.

A typical breakfast is small and may consist of a pastry and coffee. Lunch, eaten with the family, is the main meal of the day. It may include kebapcheta (grilled minced beef, pork or veal rolled into sausages), kavarma (individual casseroles of pork, veal, onions and mushrooms), or sarmi (vine or cabbage leaves stuffed with rice or meat). These dishes are accompanied by kartofi (potatoes), vegetables and bread.

Other favourites include gyuvech, a rich stew of peppers, eggplant, beans and meat, baked and served in an earthenware pot, and imam bayaldi, eggplant stuffed with vegetables, meat and herbs. Imam bayaldi is originally a Turkish dish whose name translates as "the priest burst."

Fish is popular along the Black Sea coast. Fish may be grilled, fried or prepared in a soup or stew. Tsatsa, a small white fish, is deep-fried in a batter and served with fried potatoes. Skumriya na keremidi is mackerel baked in an earthenware container with a rich tomato sauce.

 Did you know?
Bulgar used to be a synonym for market gardener in several Balkan countries.

Bulgarians enjoy Turkish and Middle Eastern desserts such as baklava (flaky pastry stuffed with pistachio nuts coated in a sweet syrup) and kadayif (shredded wheat stuffed with nuts in syrup). Bulgarians also enjoy a great variety of torta (cakes) filled with maslena (buttercream), frukti (fruit), or shokoladova (chocolate) as well as sladoled (ice cream).

Bulgarians drink their coffee very strong. Herbal teas are also popular. Bulgarians enjoy local wines such as Melnik, a red wine from the southwestern region. Bulgarians spirits include slivova rakiya, which is made from plums, pliska, a type of cognac, and vodka. Bulgarians also make beer: two of the most popular brands are Zagorka and Astika.

     Salata Shopska

3-4 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, chopped
4-5 green peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
150 g feta cheese, crumbled
250 ml parsley
Dressing: vinegar, sunflower oil and salt to taste


Bake, peel and seed the peppers. Cut into small strips and add the diced tomatoes, cucumbers and onion. Add salt, oil and vinegar, and mix. Serve in the shape of a pyramid. Top with chopped parsley and grated cheese.