I am writing this while I am waiting for our painfully inadequate oven to finish cooking dinner. Writing a post about some of the most incredible food in the Balkans while I am absolutely starving is increasingly seeming like a very bad idea.
A Food Tour Through Macedonia
Macedonia is a country full of hearty comfort food which blends the flavours of the Mediterranean with the flavours of the middle east. The following is some of the most amazing foods that we tried while travelling through Macedonia.
This was the first dish that I ate in Macedonia and quickly became one of my favourites. Turli Tava is a traditional stew cooked in a clay pot. It consists of okra, potatoes, eggplant, ground meat, peppers, carrots, rice and onion and served with a side of yogurt.
This is another dish cooked in a traditional clay pot. Selsko Meso consists of smoked pork or beef, stewed with onions, spices and tomato.
This is my absolute favourite vegetarian option in Macedonia. The description certainly doesn’t sound that exciting, but it is actually extremely delicious. When I first ordered Tavce Gravce I wasn’t expecting anything mind blowing, I just wanted something vegetarian. But when I first tasted it, I was hooked. I still think about this humble bean based dish, and just how amazingly flavourful it was.
Tavce Gravce is a traditional dish made of white beans stewed in a blend of Macedonian spices, including the famous paprika.
Macedonian kebapi’s are quite different from the similarly sounding kebabs that you find at fast food outlets. Kebapi’s are ground meat shaped into sausages and grilled. Kebapi’s are served with a traditional flat bread, onions, and sour cream. We had the most incredible Kebapi experience in Skopje, and we will go into that in more detail later.
Macedonia has it’s own national salad. This fresh Mediterranean influenced salad consists of tomato, cucumber, onion and peppers, coated in lots and lots of feta cheese
Our Favourite Restaurants in Macedonia
Our favourite part of the day was picking out a new restaurant to try where ever we were in Macedonia. The following three were our absolute favourites.
Skopje – Old House (Stara Kuka)
Located in an old traditional style home, this traditional restaurant is located just across the river from the city centre of Skopje. This is the spot where we tried some of the traditional Macedonian clay pot meals like Turli Tava and Selsko Meso. The traditional home with Macedonian antiques and cultural artifacts on display lends to the atmosphere.
Skopje – Destan
Our guide book promised the best kebapis in Skopje and it certainly didn’t lie. (It did lie a little bit about the location and we spent quite some time trying to find it though!). The kebapi’s here are super fresh and super delicious. The restaurant is always packed. Quick, easy and cheap – this place will not disappoint.
Ohrid – Villa St Sofia
My ultimate favourite restaurant in Macedonia is Villa St Sofia in Ohrid. This restaurant is located near the large St Sofia church, a landmark of the city. Inside you will find a very extensive list of traditional Macedonian dishes as well as an extensive wine list. The service here was incredibly attentive and the prices were definitely reasonable. I ordered the Tavce Gravce and Dan got an entire trout. We also got a starter and a bottle of wine…. and it still cost us less than a single cafe breakfast in Australia. If you are ordering the trout though, make sure you are not ordering an Ohrid trout. This species is extremely threatened due to over fishing from Lake Ohrid, and the other trout species are just as delicious.