Bulgaria is a small country and its cuisine doesn’t vary that much from from region to region. There are, however, some areas in the country that manage to preserve their authentic culinary traditions and even Bulgarians find themselves driving 150 miles to try a local dish. Discover some of the best dishes and places to eat regional delicacies in Bulgaria.
The most loved and well known among Bulgaria’s regional cuisines is the food that comes from the Rhodope Mountains. The local people, living in a mountainous area, have a limited choice of food to grow and a big part of their diet consists of potatoes and grains. If you want to dig into the local cuisine while on a trip in the Rhodopes, ask for patatnik – a slowly baked potato and Bulgarian feta cheese dish. If you are very hungry when you order be aware it usually takes more than 30-40 minutes to prepare it. If they serve it to you immediately, it was probably prepared in advance and is not so fresh.
A type of local pancake is available here – marudnik, closer to American pancakes than to the French crêpe.
Banitsa is a typical Bulgarian dish made of pastry, eggs, and cheese, but in the Rhodopes they have their own variety of banitsa with a rice filling called klin. You might want to taste the maize-flour dish kachamak, too, which will remind you of Italian polenta or the Romanian mamaliga.
Razlog is situated just five km away from the famous ski resort Bansko but the two towns are completely different in many aspects. Both towns have dialects that are incomprehensible for most Bulgarians. The local Razlog cuisine comprises heavy, buttery pastries such as shupla (similar to a pancake), and meat dishes such as kapama (a mix of pork, chicken, beef, lard, cabbage, and rice).
You can choose a restaurant and ask to try local dishes or, for an absolute authenticity, you can head to the village of Gorno Draglishte a few miles away, and stay at Deshka’s guesthouse. Deshka, the owner, is famous across the whole country for her authentic local dishes and excellent hospitality. She is a proud part of the Bulgarian slow food movement too.
The Bulgarian Black Sea coast is the best place to try fresh fish, with Atlantic bonito, shark, Jack mackerels and European sprat among the favorites of the locals. Usually the fish is served baked or fried, with fresh salads or with cold boiled potatoes. The fish soup is a must too.
Torlak is an area comprising of 30 villages around the towns of Vidin and Montana, where people have a specific dialect, cuisine and character. The local cuisine uses basic and cheap ingredients but it’s delicious and filling. One of the most typical meals found in the area is called bel muzh. It is prepared by putting fresh cheese in a pan and stirring until it melts down. Flour is then added when the cheese has been well cooked.