Where to eat, food and drink Albania
Halfway between East and West, Albanian cuisine has been largely influenced by Turkish cuisine and, to a lesser extent, that of Italians and Greeks.
In the north, more continental, it makes intensive use of corn and polenta (harapash mëmëlikë) and holds well to the body. To the south, it is already Mediterranean, successfully mixing olive oil, garlic, tomato, lemon, cheese, yogurt and a plethora of aromatic herbs.
- vine leaves (japrak) or stuffed cabbage are a classic appetizer, as is the dried meat (pastërma) and the Greek salad " with tomatoes, green peppers and sheep cheese. In the south, olives are a popular aperitif.
As a main course, the meat of mouton occupies a preponderant place. Excellent in kebabs, it is also served in romsteak (minced meat), in qofte (meatballs mixed with garlic, onion and spices), with or without rice, and in moussaka. Tavë kosi, Elbasan's specialty, is a leg of lamb prepared with yogurt, flavored with saffron and garlic. Méchoui is very popular in the south. The animal's liver is also cooked in different ways, for example browned with onions (it is then more of an appetizer). The offal are also frequent: if you are not too amateur, do not point at random on the menus! There are also beef, rabbit, waterfowl and poultry. Try the walnut chicken if you have the chance. In the north, it is accompanied by risotto.
- vegetables favorites are Mediterranean, especially in the south: tomatoes, peppers, garlic, eggplants, not to mention the essential bean, which we even bake in Korçë! TheStuffed eggplant (cheese, egg, parsley), grilled, is excellent. In the north, the cabbage Ground Pomps, onion and we love the garlic puree. Nice for the breath! The rice is often made with yogurt, as in the Middle East (birjan me qumësht).
Le fish is of course not absent: all along the Adriatic coast abound red mullet, sole, mullet, bass, grouper or freshly caught swordfish, shrimp, squid and mussels. Add the marsh eel and the trout from Lake Ohrid, at best simply grilled in the oven or pan.
La Soupe, served hot or cold, is very popular. The Albanians enjoy it in the morning, accompanied by bread or rice pilaf drizzled with butter.
Lovers of cheese will find good sheep, especially in the south, logically reminiscent of Greek feta.
For dessert, try them baklava, the semolina (hashure) or rice (sytliash) cake, or Gjirokastër's hoshaf, figs cooked in curdled milk. The sheep's milk yogurt (kos i deles) is firm, very firm - to the point that it looks like cheese. Finally, a nice big pomegranate from Shkoder or figs (fresh or dried) from Berat.
Note: most restaurants serve at any time of the day. So many stalls allow you to eat on the go (byrek, pizza, kebabs ...) at low prices, Albania does not have any major fast-food brand!
Do not hesitate to wash down your meal with a glass of local wine or a cold beer (birre). In the north, in summer (but also in the Tirana glaciers), we drink muzzle, made from corn and wheat, very (very) slightly alcoholic. It's refreshing and they say it makes women's breasts swell!
Boza appeared during the Ottoman Empire but was banned for a while in the XNUMXth century because some tenants took pleasure in arranging it with opium ...
More full-bodied, the raki is distilled from grapes (in the south) or plums (in the east); it is served as a welcome sign. Dry ass! Coffee (kafa) is usually served Turkish style; let the marc rest before drinking.
Not that the waiters are totally lacking in goodwill, but they often lack experience, and you will often find yourself waiting for nothing, hoping for the arrival of your cutlery or the menu. There is only one solution: to go there frankly by addressing the person concerned and making it clear that you are in a hurry, even if this is not the case.
Sometimes it's just the opposite, and you won't be able to get rid of your serving knight.