Lithuanian meals are simple but filling. Traditional specialties include skilandis (smoked meat), šaltibarščai (cold beet soup), cepelinai (potato dumplings with minced meat filling), védarai (potato sausages) and bulviniai blynai (potato pancakes). Smoked eel is a famous Baltic delicacy.

 There are many regional specialties. The Highlanders, or Aukštaičiai, who live in the northeast region, are known for their pancakes and cottage cheese dishes. The žemaičiai, who inhabit the lowlands, are known for herbed dips, porridges and gruels. In the southeast region, buckwheat, mushrooms and potatoes are important staples, and in the southwest, smoked meats, sausages and cepelinai (dumplings) are part of many dishes. 

A traditional breakfast may be bread and cheese with cold cuts, or pancakes filled with cheese. At lunch, many Lithuanians enjoy a hearty soup or stew. Cold beetroot soup is refreshing in summer and hot beetroot soup (barsciai borscht) is warming in winter. For dinner, Lithuanians usually have a meat dish with potatoes and vegetables; pork is the most popular meat.

 Lithuanians drink coffee and tea, soft drinks, milk and beer. Midus (mead), a popular Lithuanian drink, is a mildly alcoholic beverage made from honey. Sula, a beer made from birch sap, is drunk at harvest time. Lithuanians also enjoy gira, a non-alcoholic fermented drink made from bread.

 Popular Lithuanian desserts include honey cake, pastries and ice cream. At Christmas, people enjoy a special fruitcake called kisielius.

  Did you know?
"He who eats well, works well" is a well-known, traditional Lithuanian saying. In the past, farm workers were observed while they ate and the ones who ate quickly were thought to be fast workers.
  Cottage Cheese Potato Pancakes

 10 potatoes, peeled and grated 
125 ml cup flour 
3 eggs, beaten 
250 ml dry cottage cheese 
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying 


 Mix grated potatoes with flour, eggs, cottage cheese, salt and pepper. Drop spoonfuls into hot oil. Fry on both sides until crisp. Serve with sour cream, sugar, applesauce or fruit preserves.

  Did you know?
Bread, the most important staple, is traditionally placed in the centre of the table, in front of the father. The ancient tradition of putting bread on the table before other dishes is still observed today. A piece of bread is also traditionally placed in the foundation when building a new house. Bread, salt and wine are presented to newlywed couples to symbolize the sweetness and saltiness of life.