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Top 10 Dishes From The Balkans

All drained up on cooking ideas? Here are some spicy, exotic dishes from the Balkans. From appetizers, main dishes, salads to desserts, Balkan cuisine can offer numerous traditional dishes for every taste.

Combining Turkish and Mediterranean characteristics, the traditional Balkan cuisine is known for the diversity and quality, wines and alcoholic beverages, mixtures of meat and vegetables, which combined in a specific manner create the perfect meal.

We have collected some of the top food specialties from this region and honestly recommend trying every one!




Deriving from Macedonian old mountain villages, ajvar is one of the Balkans’ most delicious food specialties. Well, It’s actually more of a relish rather than a dish. It is principally made from baked and ground red bell peppers, which are then cooked on low heat with salt and oil. The so-called “Macedonian vegetable caviar” is served with freshly baked white bread and typical white cheese-sirenje made only in the Balkans. Ajvar’s specific taste has made it very popular in these regions, so today, there are many different recipes for the same dish.  If you like spicy food, you can add eggplants, garlic, and chili peppers. This type of ajvar is called lutenica.

Polneti Piperki (Stuffed Peppers)



The literal translation of this mouthwatering dish would actually be “stuffed peppers”! So, to make this kind of dish, people fill bell peppers with rice, ground meat, spices, and chopped veggies, which they then roast in an oven.




Common in the former Ottoman Empire’s cuisines is a family of baked filled pastries made of a thin flaky dough that can be filled with sirenje (white cheese), minced meat, or vegetables. It goes great with Balkanian yogurt (less densе than American yogurt and salty).

Tavche Gravche



Macedonia’s national dish is prepared with fresh beans, and it can be found in almost all restaurants in the country. You’ll need beans, onion, dry red pepper, red and black pepper, and parsley to prepare it. It is traditionally served in earthenware, which keeps the food warm.




Found traditionally in the Balkan Peninsula countries, kebaps are made from minced pork and beef, hand mixed and formed with a funnel, and then grilled. The dish is usually served with grilled white bread, chopped onions, minced red pepper, and salt.




These are a type of pancakes from the Balkans. Made by creating a runny dough from eggs, wheat flour, milk, and salt and then frying it, Palachinke is very similar to the French crêpe. They are served with different types of filling, most usually with chocolate cream.




Pastrmalija is a delicious Macedonian bread pie made from oval-shaped dough and salted and dried meat of sheep or lamb. It is usually served chili peppers and Balkan yogurt. In honor of this traditional meal, the city of Štip, Macedonia, organizes an annual festival called “Pastrmajlijada.”




Musaka is a layered dish. Mainly consisting of layers of thin-sliced potatoes in between, which lays a mix of ground meat and veggies, it is one exquisite meal you have got to try. To give it a crispy texture, the top layer can be finished with an egg-yolk glaze.

Turli Tava



A common main course dish for Macedonia and the neighboring countries, consisting of potatoes, rice, okra, eggplant, carrots, peppers, pork, beef, or lamb. The ingredients are mixed and baked in an oven in a traditional pottery dish.

Selsko Meso



Like most traditional Macedonian dishes, it is prepared in an earthenware clay pot. The delightful meal goes way back in the history of Balkan cuisine. Grandma’s recipe says it consists of onions, mushrooms, spices, tomatoes, and some yummy smoked meat, giving it the specific taste it is known for.

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