the ultimate food guide in albania

The Ultimate Food Guide in Albania

September 15, 2021
Food & Wine

Food destinations are a whole category in itself when it comes to travel. Despite being a country with impeccable gastronomy, Albania has yet to reach the attention of a bigger audience as a food destination. However, it won’t be long until it becomes a famous foodie heaven in the Mediterranean. With an old tradition and interesting modern twists, get ready to bring joy to your taste buds. We are presenting you with the ultimate food guide in Albania.

Food from the North

The north of Albania is a mountainous area with a cold climate. The reflection of this can be observed in their traditional food as well. Fli is the most common dish in northern Albania and Kosovo. It might remind you of a thicker version of crepes with lots of butter and baked in “saç” (a traditional method) for hours. As for appetizers, in this region, you will find Mazë and Sarmë. Mazë is made of green peppers stuffed with sour cream. Meanwhile, Sarmë is basically cabbage rolls filled with minced meat, rice and then boiled alone or as a stew. Next, the most common main dishes are Jufka me mish viçi and Tavë me krap. Jufka is a kind of homemade pasta that is baked with veal meat and is a traditional meal in Dibra. On the other hand, Tavë me krap is a traditional dish in Shkodra. Krap is a type of fish from Shkodra Lake and it is cooked with a sauce made of flour and tomatoes. Then, it is baked in a tile. Lastly, for dessert, you will come across Sheqerpare and Shëndetli. The first one is a mixture of flour, eggs, and butter divided into smaller portions and baked. The second one is like a cake with honey and walnuts. Both desserts are covered in homemade syrup and are very sweet.

Food from the Middle of Albania
albanian food

Moving on to the middle region of Albania, the first and most popular dish is Fërgesë. It is made of fresh tomatoes, peppers, and cheese. Sometimes it is cooked with veal meat or liver and spicy peppers.
The next dish originates from Elbasan and is called Tavë Kosi. In this dish, yogurt is mixed with eggs, some rice, and baked with lamb or chicken.
Two other popular dishes are stuffed peppers and stuffed eggplants. Green bell peppers are stuffed with rice, tomatoes, minced meat, and spices. Meanwhile, eggplants are stuffed with minced meat, onions, and herbs.
For carb lovers, Përshesh is the perfect dish. Cornbread or homemade bread is cut into smaller pieces and cooked with turkey/chicken, spices, and onions. Sometimes, it is enriched with nuts, chestnuts, raisins, and liver or meat. The next two dishes are both meat-based. The first one is Qofte, which is a homemade meatball with lamb, veal, or pork meat, and a mixture of spices and breadcrumbs. The second one is Pasha Qofte which includes homemade meatballs with a special type of sauce. As for desserts, in this region, you can enjoy Sultjash, which is a version of rice pudding served with cinnamon. Two other traditional desserts are Fuli and Ballakume. Fuli is quite known in Elbasan, however not so much in other cities. It is prepared with simple ingredients like flour, sugar, and olive oil but it tastes heavenly. Usually, it is served when a child is born or for birthdays. Meanwhile, Ballakume is very popular in Albania but it is traditional in Elbasan as well. It is served during Summer Day on March 14th, which is a festival to celebrate the coming of summer. It only has 4 ingredients: corn flour, eggs, sugar, and lots of butter.

Food from the South-East Region
albanian food, south-east albania

This region is quite popular for its excellent cuisine. We will start off with a breakfast food such as Petulla. It is the Albanian version of donuts and they are served with cheese, honey, or jam. Moving on to appetizers, here you will find peppers stuffed with gjizë, which is a special kind of cheese. In addition, you should definitely try Petanik and Lakror. Both are a type of pastry or pie. The first one is made of phyllo dough and beans or lentils. On the other hand, Lakror is a very famous kind of pie with different kinds of fillings and baked traditionally in saç.

What should be mentioned as a main dish in this region is Mish në bidon and Tavë me peshk. The first one is made with veal meat that is marinated for a long time and cooked in a special closed container. As for the other one, it is the traditional dish in Pogradec, cooked with fish from the Ohrid lake. You can find it either with a sauce made of flour and nuts or with onions and tomato.

Lastly, for desserts, in this region you will find Paçavure and Dredhanik. Both are made with phyllo dough and syrup. Dredhanik is filled with walnuts. The best can be found in the city of Korça. You will also find a quite unusual dessert such as Kabuni. It is cooked with rice, raisins, cinnamon, almonds, cloves, brown sugar, and mutton broth.

Food from the South
southern albanian food, albanian food

The last region is southern Albania. Starting with appetizers, here you will find Tarator, usually served during the summer, made of yogurt, shredded cucumber, salt, garlic, and olive oil. In addition, there is Fasule Jahni, which is made of beans cooked with tomato sauce or pepper sauce, onions, and is often served with pickled vegetables and cornbread. Another appetizer you should definitely try is called Qifqi, which is basically rice balls with herbs and eggs. It is traditional in Gjirokastra. The next dish it is not only found in southern Albania but everywhere in the Balkans and it is called Japrak. It is made of grape leaf rolls filled with rice and herbs.

As the south is close to the sea, you cannot miss the fresh fish and seafood. They are cooked in different styles and you will definitely find something according to your taste.

To close it off, typical desserts in this region are Qumështor and Ashure. Qumështor is a sort of pie filled with a milk, eggs, vanilla, and sugar mixture. Ashure is a dessert made of sweet porridge of grains, fruits, and nuts.

Of course, you can find gourmet and international cuisines in Albania as well. But if you want to try authentic tastes, this ultimate food guide in Albania can be your starting point.

Search Tour

Find your dream tour today!