Albanian cuisine

10 main dishes of Albanian cuisine: what a tourist should try

What are the features of Albanian cuisine? What is worth trying in Albania from soups, meat and fish dishes? What sweets to try in Albania? What drinks to try in Albania?

Four centuries of Ottoman law and a mixture of different cultures have left an impact on the national cuisine and its traditions. The official religion is Islam, pork dishes are not popular here. But the proximity of the two seas give tourists the opportunity to taste delicious fish and seafood dishes. Albanian cuisine has taken the best from Balkan, Arabic, Greek and Mediterranean. What should tourists definitely try in Albania?

Features of Albanian cuisine

Love for vegetables and especially for corn is a distinctive feature of the local cuisine. Cornbread, a variety of flatbreads and a variety of vegetable stews are served in all establishments
Sheep’s milk is the basis for making yogurt for cold soups and dozens of types of pickled cheese, as everywhere in the Balkans
Seasonings and spices – mint, thyme, cardamom, a mixture of allspice are added here to meat and fish dishes, soups and pastries

First meal

Supë Peshku – soup pawn, traditional fish soup made from sea bass and sea bass. The fish is cooked in a large earthenware dish, and at the end of cooking, zucchini, carrots, onions and celery root are added to the fish broth, which gives the soup a rich sweetish taste. But Albanians do not add potatoes to their fish soup, they serve it with a bukë bun made from wheat or corn flour.

Tarator – tarator, cold yogurt soup. This dish is popular in the Balkans and is a great refreshment in the heat. Natural homemade yogurt is mixed with grated fresh cucumber, nuts, salt, a mixture of peppers and nutmeg are added.

Meat dishes

Tavë Kosi – tave kozi, pot roasted meat. Pieces of boneless lamb are fried, put in a pot and generously seasoned with oregano and fresh garlic. Then an omelet is made from yogurt and eggs and poured over the top. It turns out meat melting in your mouth with a side dish of a magnificent omelette.

Schumlek – shumlek, beef stew. A simple and very tasty dish, served in all taverns. Pieces of beef are fried with onions until golden brown and stewed in yogurt for 1.5-2 hours in a large cauldron.

Fish dishes

Tave karkaleci me pana – shrimp baked in a creamy sauce. Boiled shrimp are poured with lemon juice, salted and sprinkled with herbs. Pour in a sauce of cream and eggs and bake in a pot.
Gjuze and merluk are popular white fish. Grilled, served with lemon juice, garnished with rice and stewed vegetables.

Fast food

Qofte – kefte, minced meat sausages. A traditional Turkish dish in the Balkans is prepared in a special way. Minced chicken, veal or lamb is finely chopped with a knife, various spices are added and fried on a grill. It turns out a juicy sausage, the dish is served with a side dish of rice and vegetables, with homemade yogurt and pita bread.

Kukurech – kokorech, hot dog with meat and offal. Lamb giblets and pieces of meat are first fried on a spit in the form of a large sausage, then finely chopped. Served in a bun with fried onions, fresh vegetables and seasoned with fragrant herbs.

Byrek – burek, puff pastry with filling. A thin pastry bun stuffed with minced meat, pickled cheese or vegetables. Traditional street food, which is sold at every turn, is served with a glass of cold ayran.

vegetable dishes

Speça me Gjize – spice mi jiz, stuffed peppers. A dish popular in the Balkans is reminiscent of our cabbage rolls. Then stew in a cauldron in a sauce of butter and chili peppers. Served with slices of fresh crispy bread, which is used to soak hot sauce.

Fegese – fegese, vegetable stew. Green and red sweet peppers, tomatoes, onions, cottage cheese and spices are mixed and stewed until smooth. Served with homemade flatbread to be dipped in stew.
Fasulet – beans. Beans are very popular here, they are stewed in pots with the addition of onions, tomatoes and herbs. Serve as a side dish or as a separate dish.


Kabuni – kabuni, rice pudding. The rice is fried in butter and then boiled in a spicy, unsalted lamb broth. Then they are stewed in a cauldron with the addition of raisins, and sprinkled with cloves, cinnamon and sugar. Serve the pudding cold, sprinkled with sweet crumbs and sprinkled with jam.

Shendetli – shandetli, biscuit cake. You can try this dessert only in Albania. A large cake is baked on strong coffee, a lot of butter, vanilla, nuts and candied fruits are added to the dough. Served with whipped cream and blackberry, white cherry or mulberry jam.
Gliko – Glyco, fruity marmalade. Fruit in Albania ripens twice a season. They make excellent jams, jams, and, of course, marmalade, which is cut into pieces and served with coffee and tea.


Boza – bosa, a traditional drink reminiscent of kvass. Made from fermented corn or wheat grains with added sugar. Then filtered and drunk cold, sold in every cafe and bottled in stores.
Raki – rakia, fruit vodka. As elsewhere in the Balkans, rakia has become a traditional drink. Prepared from different fruits, but mainly from grapes, the fortress is high, 50%. Serve with hot meat dishes, pouring into small piles.


Djathi – pickled cheeses. There are many varieties of cheese in Albania. Each owner prepares cheese both according to a traditional recipe and according to his own, adding spices and olives.
Gjiza – cottage cheese. The cottage cheese here is very tasty, there are fatty and low-fat varieties. It is added to stuffing, pastries and eaten with homemade jam.

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