If you’re heading on holiday to Albania then there are a number of traditional dishes to try. I will try to highlight the best, from the classics to other with a neighbouring influence.
This is probably the most well known and can be found in multiple countries across the Balkans. Fans of a salty taste will like this one. The Albanian byrek is actually an alternative version to the Turkish Borek, which spread through the Europe and Western Asia during the Ottoman empire. I’m a cheese fan so this one is popular with me.
2) Fresh Shrimp
Sure, you can get this all over the world, but people love getting shrimp from Albania as it can be freshly caught that day in the Ionian sea. This is a large reason why seafood is so popular in this country, with it dominating the menu in most restaurants. Plus, compared to the UK, USA, Australia or any other Western country, the prices will leave a smile on your face, meaning you can pig out without the guilt.
If you’re a fan of doughnuts then this is one for you. A popular dessert, often provided with either jam, honey or sugar. However, if you don’t have such a sweet tooth, you can try it with savoury options such as yoghurt or cheese.
The question of whether you like this or not solidly comes down to whether you’re a fan of cottage cheese. This dish is also made with peppers and tomatoes, albeit there seems to be 2 versions, one with peppers and the other with liver. The pepper version is normally a side, whereas the liver version is a main course.
5) Fileto Pule Me Panna Dhe Kerpudha
Considering how long you spend in Albania, you might get a bit bored of the constant veal and lamb dishes. You will start to miss chicken in your life. When this does happen, then this is the dish for you. Well, providing you like mushrooms. It’s a creamy sauce with mushrooms spread over a grilled chicken breast.
6) Tave Kosi
I tend to relate foods to things I’ve eaten back home and this dish most reminds me of a quiche lorraine. That might be the eggy taste and texture (depending on how many are used), but this dish also includes rice and lamb, as well as the use of yoghurt. There is also quite often a hint of nutmeg in there.
7) Fried Kackavall
What can I say, I’m a massive cheese fan, so this one always had to be tried. As well as kackavall being a starter in some restaurants, it is also sometimes used as a savoury dish in the aforementioned petulla. The cheese actually has a history in Italy, where it is also popular. The odd thing about the cheese is it could be made from cows milk, sheep milk, or both combined.
8) Speca me Glizë
Peppers stuffed with cheese, rice and spices and then baked in the oven, yes please! This is something each country seems to have their own spin of. Also, as it uses cottage cheese, this is a guilt free dish which you will love. It’s also often very cheap.