Kyufte and kebapche are two varieties of grilled minced meat specialties. The kyufte is round in shape, while the kebapche is similar to a sausage. Although they look similar, they have different tastes since they are prepared with different spices and ingredients that are mixed with the meat.
Pro tip: the most flavor-rich kyufte and kebapche are grilled on an open fire or coals, so if you see a restaurant advertising it, pull up a chair and place your order there.
Lukanka is Bulgarians’ favorite type of cured meat, which is served thinly sliced along with Bulgarian yellow cheese. Lukanka used to be mainly homemade in the past, with every family having their special recipe, but it is now more often bought at supermarkets. Similar products are pastarma, babek, sudjuk, and sushenitsa – all types of cured meat prepared with different spices.
Kavarma can be prepared with chicken or pork. The chopped meat is mixed with peppers and a lot of onions and stewed until tender. It can be ordered at most restaurants that serve Bulgarian food.
Musaka (also spelled moussaka) is another shared Balkan dish. Unlike Greek moussaka, for example, the Bulgarian version doesn’t contain eggplant but exclusively potatoes and minced meat. It will often have a layer made of eggs and yogurt on top.
While tripe soup is a nationwide favorite dish no matter the time of the day, it has a special place in the repertoire of local hangover remedies. If you see someone slurping tripe soup early in the morning, you can guess that they drank more than they could handle the previous night. The soup is served with extra garlic and spicy pepper.
Minced meat, rice, and fresh green and red peppers make a perfect combination of flavors, especially when you cover them in Béchamel sauce or serve them with yogurt. This traditional homemade dish can be usually found on the lunch menus of restaurants.
There is a sandwich you can order at many street food counters that is called Princess (Princesa in Bulgarian). It has only three ingredients – minced meat is spread on a slice of bread and topped with yellow cheese, and then baked in the oven. This is something that many Bulgarians remember fondly from their childhood breakfasts and that they still consume with pleasure when they grow up.