Macedonia

Food & Drink

Food

If you are on a tight budget, try one of the Skara (grill) places. There are quite a few up-market restaurants serving better quality food on the waterfront, but these cater to tourists, so don't be surprised by a rather sizeable bill at the end of your meal.

Service at the restaurants and cafés nationwide tend to be slow-ish, either because these businesses are chronically understaffed, or because of the general laid-back culture. Consider yourself lucky if your food is served within half an hour after you get seated.


General

Typical Macedonian food resembles the food of the southern Balkans, meaning loads of grilled meat (known as skara). Side dishes usually have to be ordered separately. Macedonia is also famous for its shopska salata, a mixed salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and grated sirenje. Sirenje is a white cheese similar to feta cheese. Usually Macedonians will translate the English cheese to sirenje. Another local speciality is ajvar, a red paste made from roasted peppers and tomatoes, which is either used as an appetizer or side dish. Another typical local dish is tarator which is comparable to the Greek tzatziki. It is made of yoghurt, cucumbers, and garlic and it is served as a cold soup.

The most popular street food is either burek (бурек) which is a flaky phyllo-like pastry filled with melted cheese and/or ham, or pressed, panini style sandwiches, called toast (тост).

Stobi Flips are a ubiquitous snack food found in supermarkets and corner stores, with the shape and texture of a cheese doodle, but a salty peanut flavour.


Traditional Food

Tavče gravče or тавче гравче in Macedonian is the national dish and unique to Macedonia. It basically consists of beans, paprika and is traditionally served with cut sausage mixed in.


Fish

Macedonia, being landlocked, does not offer a great variety of fresh fish. A notable exception is Ohrid, where fresh fish from the local lake can be enjoyed. If you have no objections to eating endangered species, the Ohrid trout is a local delicacy.

Drink

Rakija is a strong grape brandy that has the best claim to being the republic's national beverage.

Macedonians boast the largest winery in the Balkan area—the Tikveš (Tikvesh) winery in Kavadarci. Red wines are usually better than white ones. Try T'ga za Jug Macedonian favorite affordable red wine made from a local grape variety called Vranec. Local white wines include Traminec and Temjanika.

The local beer market is dominated by Skopsko (Скопско, "of Skopje", following the Slavic convention of naming beers after their origin), a drinkable, if not entirely distinctive, lager. There are also many breweries which brew surprisingly good-tasting beer.

Sale of any alcoholic beverages from the stores end by 21:00 all over the country, but in the restaurants and cafés, it's business as usual.

Unlike much of the rest of the Balkans, sparkling water or water with gas is instead mineral water, or kisela voda.

The most common coffee drink in cafés is the macchiato (макијато, espresso topped by a foamy cream), which can be ordered as a single shot, small, mali macchiato, or double shot, large, golem macchiato. Cold cappuccinos with flavoured creams coming in large glasses are also popular in summer.

Tea is pretty much limited to the black and green varieties, and served in bags. Those longing for strong brewed black tea should head for the tea-houses run by the local Turks in the old town of Skopje or Ohrid.

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