Macedonia is really a meat-eaters country. However, I do not think that in the world exists cuisine, where vegetarian could absolutely not find any solutions from the palette of traditional meals. In this Balkan country one would not be starving too. There are many dishes from salads to spreads and dips, from bakes to stews, and even fulfilling drinks. I definitely tried not all of vegetarian options in Macedonian cuisine, but what I’ve tasted – really enjoyed.
So there is my list of drinks and vegetarian dishes, which I’ve ordered during my voyage in Macedonia. By the way, not all of them are purely traditional ones, but anyway I wanted to add just for giving the idea what one could expect to find on the menu.
Burek. This is a baked pastry from phyllo dough, done with various fillings, and usually eaten with yoghurt. My choice – feta chess filling. I couldn’t resist to try this, but I must admit that after such lunch I really didn’t need any dinner that day.
Shopska salad. This is just fresh salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and crumbled feta cheese on top. Seems like simple, regular ingredients. However, I have no idea what was the secret, but this dish was simply amazing. Probably all the laurels should be going for the local ingredients. Shopska salad is being served nearly in all restaurants.
Fresh beetroot salad with feta cheese. My discovery of the year was fresh beetroot salad with feta cheese and sunflower seeds. No vinegar, no oil, no salt or spices. Just a pure taste, which absolutely doesn’t need any additives. This treasure for palate I’ve tried in Ohrid. Unfortunately, I do not have a good foodie photo, so that is more about giving the idea.
Baked cheese. This dish usually goes as a starter, but as well could be taken as a main one. It could be a good choice for lovers of really salty food.
Tavche Gravche stew is a heavy vegetarian dish with beans. However, this one I didn’t try, as it looked a bit too heavy. But I couldn’t resist to make a photo of it.
Beer. I firstly met Macedonian beer on the plane during my flight. And I, the person whose strong roots are in Lithuania, the country famous for brilliant beer, can tell that Macedonian beer definitely did not disappoint me.
Salted yoghurt drink. It is done by mixing plain yoghurt, water and salt. “The first sip is strange, but with the second one – you definitely start liking the taste” – said a Japanese guy. However, for me it was a love from the first tot. This cold salted yogurt should go very well on a hot summer day.
Boza. I heard before about this drink, popular in the Balkan countries and some others around, so definitely wanted to try it in Macedonia. However, I could not find it anywhere. Just on my last dinner in Skopje I desperately asked the waiter of the restaurant where we were dining, where I can taste that boza. He at first simply shrugged, but in a few moments told: “I’ll bring it for you”. So appeared that finally I’ve tasted this strange thick drink. And, really liked it. I am not sure exactly about the ingredients of the boza that I was lucky to try, because they differ, but that was definitely a mix of water, sugar and some types of wheat, corn, bulgur or barley flour. By the way, it should have around 1% of alcohol.
Salep. When I’ve got to Ohrid, firstly I made a break in the café with a lovely terrace and ordered a drink which name I’ve never heard before. That was salep – hot, thick and very sweet drink, mixed with salep flour, milk and cinnamon. However, this drink was not Macedonian – as I understand, it has Turkish roots. But I liked the taste, so wanted to share too.
Notion. I presume that all the cheeses, which I’ve tried in Macedonia, do not contain rennet. I am not sure how it was in reality, but this time I prefer not to know at all…
by Gintarė Adamonytė