Delicious Macedonia

Bread and pepper sauce

Macedonia (FYROM), November 2011

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Our travel through Macedonia has been a very social one. There were only three nights that we have not spent with our very nice hosts from www.couchsurfing.org. With Sanja we stayed in Skopje our first two nights, with Goran in Veles and with Mishela in Kavadarci. They have explained us a lot about their culture and also about the traditional food. Our travel through Macedonia was a real food tasting travel.

Macedonian lunch: Tavche Gravche with two salads, bread and selfmade pepper sauce

One typical day in Macedonia:

Breakfast. If there is time to cook you could eat Кори (Kori) or Тарана (Tarana) for breakfast to have a good start in the day. Both are different types of noodles, Kori are flat and long, usually eaten with fried pasta-peaces and Tarana is similar to Couscous and Spätzle and usually eaten with white cheese. This is what Mishelas mother made for us when we stayed with them. If there is not a lot of time you can also grab some fast food like Пита Пастрмајлија (Pita Pastrmajlija) which is made from dough and has chopped meat and spices on top. It looks like an oval small pizza. In Veles, where we ate it with Goran, it is traditionally made with scrambled eggs on top. Everywhere else Pita Pastrmajlija is eaten in the Щтип (Shtip) way without eggs. Macedonians like to have either a Nescafe or a Turkish coffee for breakfast – and another ten coffees during the day. With a heavier breakfast those who are planning to be able to sleep at night have liquid and salty Yoghurt and only 3 or 4 cups of coffee during the day.

This heavy breakfast will keep you full for a while. We usually sat or laid around starring at the empty plates, unable to move.

This is a normal condition after breakfast and will pass after a while. That is very good though lunch is normally eaten between 2 and 6 pm.If you still feel hungry in between you could have a Ѓеврек, (Gjevrek), a ring out of boiled and then baked dough with sesame on top.

Greek Gjevrek version

This small snack is sold everywhere in the streets of Kavadarci and costs 10 Denar each (about 0.16 €). They taste delicious with sour cream. Gjevrek are also sold in other towns but there they bake them without boiling. For lunch you could eat a very traditional Macedonian dish called Тавче Гравче (Tavche Gravche) which means small beans in small griddle. This dish is made from many fresh white beans with onion, paprika and a lot of spices. With it you could eat a Шопска Салата (Shopska Salata). This is the common Salad in the Balkans.

Tavche Gravche

In Macedonia it is made with tomato and cucumber with cheese on top. Mishela prepared this delicious lunch for us in Kavadarci and we were glad that after all those beans Mishela invited us to have a walk in the fresh air outside.

In Macedonia dinner is served late. It is usual to have it between 8 and 10 pm and sometimes even at midnight. Before eating it is usual to have a shot of Ракија (Rakija), a strong schnapps made out of grapes and few times also plums. Most families produce their own Rakija and the taste varies a lot. We have never had one we did not like. For dinner we have had several different dishes. We had fish at Sanja’s place, toast (toasted bread with ham, cheese, different sauces and mushrooms inside) at Goran’s and bread with hot and mild Ајвар (Ajvar), different cheeses and sausages and two salads at Mishela’s. Ajvar is one of our very favorite dishes made out of red peppers, eggplant and sometimes carrots. Although there are plenty of brands sold it in the supermarkets, most families produce their own Ajvar. It takes a lot of time but it is definitely  worth it!

Peshii with cheese

I think we ate about 1.5 kilos of Ajvar each traveling through Macedonia and now officially call ourselves Ajvar-tasting-experts. One day we met Mishela and her cousin Goran with his wife at 8 pm in a Restaurant and we understood why dinner is usually served that late: we were still full from lunch! So we ordered some Пешии (Peshii), fried dough in triangle pieces served with white cheese. Outside of Kadavarci Peshii is called Мекици (Mekici) and usually eaten for breakfast. While dinner we enjoyed some Macedonian red wine made in the area around Kadavarci.

In Skopje we went out to a movie night with Sanja and enjoyed a few Скопско (Skopsko) and Даб (Dab) beers. After that we felt ready for some greasy midnight-dish. We stopped at a fast-food place and bought a Burek, puff pastry with cheese, spinach or meat between each layer. We bought a less traditional one: Пица Бурек (Pizza-Burek) filled with ham, cheese and tomato sauce. I ignored that the paper it was wrapped in turned transparent of all the fat and enjoyed my “small and light” snack. Apart we had some French fries and a slice of pizza. No big difference to the night-fast-food I have tried anywhere else. People also like to eat Ќебапи (Kabapi), grilled rolls made out of minced meat served with some salsas in a piece of round flat bread. Another favorite of ours and one of the reasons that we gained all the kilos in the Balkan states that we have lost on the way until Hungary are the burgers The Плескавица (Pleskavica) meat pieces are huge and delicious, eaten in a big piece of bread. In most stands they offer many different sauces and one can also choose some vegetables and cheese.

In the green market

If you go home really late after your snack-attack you may have the luck to stumble upon one of the green markets spread in cities and villages on your way back home. They usually open in the very early morning and close after noon. Here you can buy everything you might need to prepare some delicious and heavy breakfast for the following day.

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  1. Héctor says:

    What a big variety of food! By the way, thanks for the pronunciation aids.

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  4. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker who has been doing a little research on this.
    And he in fact bought me lunch because I stumbled upon it for him.
    .. lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!
    ! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this
    matter here on your internet site.

    • admin admin says:

      Hey Valerie!
      Happy to hear that you enjoyed your lunch! I loved the food back in Macedonia. What did you eat?
      Best wishes from Thailand,
      Annika

  5. At this moment I am going to do my breakfast, when
    having my breakfast coming again to read further news.

  6. Steve Panovski says:

    What a great read!! Thanks for sharing your adventures in Macedonia. It helped me remember all the dishes I enjoyed as a child growing up in a Macedonian household.

    • admin admin says:

      Hey Steve,
      I am happy for you! It must have been great to grow up with those delicious dishes. Do you also know how to cook them? Thanks for writing,
      Annika

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