Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Tastes of Sofia, Bulgaria

We like looking at the sites, wandering the streets, and trying to see cities as the locals do. We love visiting the food halls, exploring the grocery stores, and eating eating eating. That was how we spent most of time when we were in Sofia, Bulgaria for four days over Easter.

We didn't get pictures of everything and unfortunately we did not take notes on what anything was called, but here is some of the wonderful (and ridiculously cheap!) food from our trip.

From top left across and then down and across (click on the picture to see a much larger version):

a. A local Bulgarian beer made right at the pub we were in. A tap comes from the wall for every booth and you pour it yourself. At the end of the night you pay by the number of liters you had. Apparently this type of pub is also common in the Czech Republic but was new to us!

b. Chocolate souffle. No better way to end a delicious meal than tasty chocolate with a liquid lava center. No doubt it was worth the 15 minute wait for it to cook.

c.  We don't know what this appetizer was called but it was amazing! Crispy bread-like stuff with layers of eggplant. As beautiful to look at as tasty to eat.

d. Another tasty appetizer. This looks like brochette but instead of garlic and tomatoes it was diced avocado and tomatoes served with toast.

e. After soooo much eating she could not take much more. She took a small break and ordered this simple salad served in a Parmesan bowl. Yup, that's right, the entire bowl was Parmesan cheese!

f. This picture does not show off the beauty of this dish. The bottom was carved potato, little wheels for the slice of eggplant to sit on. The seasoned ground beef came next followed by the top - a slice of zucchini and melted cheese.

g. The next meal might not look like much but was incredibly tender and juicy. Pork loin served with sweet carrots.

h. These three spreads each had a unique flavor and were eaten with bread (we also spread them on the meatball-type dish we were eating). One was spicy, one was super cheesy, and unfortunately we can't remember the flavor of the last one :(

i. Jalapeno poppers without the spice. Instead of jalapeno, this dish consisted of breaded bell pepper filled with a cheesy mix.

j. You can't visit Bulgaria without indulging in wine. This red wine was exactly what we were looking for and made our meal just that much better!

k. Not a food picture but pretty smart and useful - the napkins at this restaurant included useful phrases in English and Bulgarian.

l. Spicy tempura shrimp. The deliciousness is pretty self-explanatory.

m. A lot like cevapcici, some of these "meatballs" were plain while others were stuffed with cheese.

n. Miso soup. Yes, we know this is not Bulgarian, but unfortunately we waited too long to go out to eat our last night in Sofia and the Bulgarian BBQ we had been wanting to try was closed. Only a sushi place was open and we never can say no to sushi!

o. Marinated duck hearts. She was unsure at first when he ordered these but they were really really good (much better than the kidneys on a skewer we had on Valentine's Day). Good thing they gave us lots of these because we devoured them.

p. Sushi. Even Bulgaria makes mean sushi :)

q. We had to take a picture of the beer in the grocery store. Not only does it come in plastic bottles, but in two liter plastic bottles. A little beer to go anyone?

r. Raspberry wine (another specialty of Bulgaria) and pockets filled with a rice mixture. A great snack during a night out. Even cooler than the food may have been the location. This "pub" was a converted apartment and each room had its own style and mood. A very different but neat idea.

s. Ice cream. Three small scoops in three flavors. Mint chocolate chips, Snickers flavored, and we think chocolate but can't remember.

t. Although everything was great this might have been the best thing we ate. An appetizer with lightly cooked (and amazingly seasoned) beef, salad, and fresh Parmesan cheese.

u. Chicken and potatoes. One of these first things we had in Bulgaria and although it was okay, we were happy that the meals kept getting better and better after that.

This is only a little taste (haha, taste!) of what we enjoyed. Other dishes included chicken and cream, chicken noodle soup, cheesy broccoli souffle, fresh brownies, and breakfast pastries. Yum yum yum!

Overall, we definitely recommend the food in Bulgaria. It is cheap, tasty, and every place we visited was extremely clean, modern, and trendy. One of the restaurants even had ipads on each table so you could surf the web while eating (you can be sure that we took pictures of ourselves visiting this blog while eating!) Our only negative? Bulgarians like their food warm (and lukewarm at that), horrible for a person like her who likes her food to be burning her tongue. We read a lot about this before going but really only experienced it at the first place we ate (lukewarm soup anyone? Ekk). We did notice that food came out as it was ready (instead of at the same time for everyone) and did not stay hot for long. You either had to be rude and eat before the other person or eat it cold. Everyone was extremely friendly so I am sure if we had asked for them to wait and bring out everything together they would have. A lesson learned for next time!

Have any of you been to Bulgaria? What was your experience with the food?

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