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No McDonalds, no problem: Discover the Amazing Albanian Cuisine

Yes, you read that right! In Albania, you won't find any McDonald's, but what you will discover is blend of Mediterranean, Balkan, and Ottoman influences in its cuisine, resulting in tasty traditional dishes.  Here's a virtual food tour of some of the famous Albanian foods you must try.

Yes, you read that right!

In Albania, you won’t find any McDonald’s, but what you will discover is blend of Mediterranean, Balkan, and Ottoman influences in its cuisine, resulting in tasty traditional dishes. 

Here’s a virtual food tour of some of the famous Albanian foods you must try.

Tavë Kosi (Baked Lamb with Yogurt)

This is a popular Albanian dish made with lamb, rice, and yogurt. The name “tavë kosi” translates to “sour casserole” in Albanian, referring to the characteristic tanginess caused by the yogurt. The lamb is marinated and baked with rice and a mixture of eggs and yogurt until it forms a delicious crust.

Fërgesë (Pepper and Cottage Cheese Dish)

Fërgese is a flavorful dish made with roasted peppers, tomatoes, and cottage cheese (or feta). It can be served as a main course or a side dish and is often accompanied by bread.

Byrek (Savory Pie)

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Byrek is a traditional Albanian pastry filled with various ingredients such as spinach, cheese, meat, tomatoes & onions, or pumpkin. The layers of thin dough are stacked and baked to a golden perfection and it can be accompanied with yogurt.

Qofte (Albanian Meatballs)

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Albanian meatballs, or Qofte, are made with minced meat (often a mixture of beef and lamb), onions, and various herbs and spices. They are usually grilled or fried and can be served with rice, salad, or bread.

Pite (Albanian Layered Pie)

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Pite is a layered pastry made with thin dough and filled with a mixture of vegetables, meat, or cheese. The layers are stacked and baked, creating a delicious and hearty pie.

Tavë Dheu

Tave Dheu (the dish gets its name from the ingredients traditionally used in mountainous regions of Albania) consists of lamb or goat meat, vegetables, and various herbs. The vegetables are baked with olive oil, herbs, and sometimes cheese, resulting in a flavorful and healthy dish.

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Pilaf (Rice)

Pilaf is a rice dish often served as a main course, featuring rice cooked with a flavorful broth, typically infused with herbs and spices. It can also be accompanied with yogurt.

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Raki (Traditional Spirit)

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While not a food, Raki is a traditional Albanian spirit made from distilled grapes or plums. It is often enjoyed as an aperitif or digestive, accompanying a tasty Albanian meal.

Petulla

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Petulla, a well-known Albanian traditional food, are deep-fried dough pastries enjoyed for breakfast or as a delightful snack. Whether plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or paired with honey or feta cheese, Petulla captures the essence of simple, satisfying goodness.

For Your Sweet Tooth…

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One iconic dessert known in Albania is “Baklava,” prepared with layers of thin pastry, chopped nuts, and sweet syrup. 

Another favorite is “Revani,” a moist semolina cake soaked in sugar syrup and often adorned with nuts. 

“Kadaif” is an interesting shredded phyllo pastry with sweetened nuts. 

Gliko is a traditional Albanian sweet preserve made from fruits like figs, cherries, or walnuts. These preserves are cooked with sugar and sometimes lemon peel, creating a sweet and tangy treat.

A Cuisine You Must Try Once in Your Life

Albanian cuisine is a delightful exploration of fresh ingredients, bold flavors, and culinary traditions that have been passed down through generations. Each dish tells a story of the country’s history and cultural influences. More than a journey to try something new, Albanian cuisine it’s an experience of it’s own!

Read more about the ultimate expats’ dining guide in Albania.

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