On TripAdvisor, there are 4 million restaurants with over 400 million reviews in 29 categories. When you travel, finding a good place to eat in a city is not something you should leave to chance, and when your foreign friends are coming over and you ask them what they want to do, trying traditional food is always somewhere at the top of their list. Everybody loves food, not only because it is delicious, but because it is a cultural aspect and a part of the history of every country, as much as any tourist attraction may be. To help you out, here is a list of tasty European dishes you have to try on your travels. Warning: this article does not discriminate against other types of food.
Kaiserschmarrn, or Emperor’s mess, is an Austrian shredded, caramelised pancake which can be served with various toppings, such as nuts, cherries, plums, apple, raisins, almonds, etc. The name is a compound of the words Schmarren (shredded pancake) and Kaiser (Emperor). It was named after Franz Joseph I, who loved this fluffy meal, and there are several stories connected to its origin. If you come from Hungary, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, southern Germany, or northern Croatia, there is a big chance this meal is well known in your county as well.
Tavče gravče is a national Macedonian dish. It is prepared with fresh beans, and is served in a traditional earthenware pot in almost all Macedonian restaurants.
Lángos is a deepfried flatbread coming from Hungary. It is eaten warm and fresh, topped with either sour cream and grated cheese, cheese spread, ham, sausages, or without any toppings at all. The name comes from láng, the Hungarian word for flame. The meal is also famous in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, and Poland. If you visit these countries, you will probably see people eating it with different toppings such as ketchup, sugar, jam, or Nutella.
Gyros is a Greek dish made out of meat - normally pork, chicken, beef, veal, lamb, or mutton - cooked on a vertical rotisserie, and usually served wrapped in a flatbread such as pita, with cucumber, tomato, onion and tzatziki sauce. The name comes from a Greek word γύρος, which means turn, a loan translation of the Turkish döner, the name formerly used in Greece and spelled ντονέρ. The word was criticised in Greece for being Turkish, and the word gyro was coined to replace it.
Baklava is a sweet pastry made out of layers of very thin, unleavened dough filled with chopped, sweetened nuts and held together with syrup or honey. It originates from the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire, and today it falls into the category of Turkish delights, even though it is famous in many other Balkan countries as well.
Zapiekanka is popular street food in Poland. The name comes from the verb zapiekać, which means "to bake a dish so that its ingredients are combined, and a crispy, brown crust forms on top". Zapiekanka is made from one half of a baguette, or any other long roll of white bread, topped with mushrooms and cheese, toasted until the cheese melts, and then served with ketchup on top. Other ingredients can be added as well.
Cepelinai or didžkukuliai are a popular Lithuanian dish. They are a type of dumplings made from grated potatoes and usually stuffed with meat, cottage cheese, or mushrooms. After boiling, they are served with a sour cream sauce and either bacon or pork rinds. Due to their shape, they are named after the Zeppelin airship.
Burek, also known as pita, was a common dish in former Yugoslavia, but the Bosnian one remains the most famous. Historically, it can be found in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire. Burek is a meat-filled pastry, traditionally rolled into a spiral and cut into sections for serving. The same spiral, but filled with cottage cheese instead, is called sirnica, while with spinach and cheese is called zeljanica, and with potatoes krompiruša, though all of them are referred to as pita. Modern versions include pita filled with apple, sour cherries, or pizza ingredients. The meal is also famous in Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia, and Serbia, where in the town of Niš, round burek was created.
Shopska salad, also known as Bulgarian salad, is a Bulgarian cold salad made out of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, raw or roasted peppers, white cheese, and parsley. The vegetables are usually diced and salted, followed by a dressing of sunflower oil or olive oil, and occasionally complimented by vinegar. The name comes from the region called Shopluk, and it was invented in the 1960s to help promote tourism. Today, it is popular throughout the Balkans and Central Europe.
Zakorski štrukli are a popular Croatian dish made from dough and various types of filling, usually cottage cheese, which can be either cooked or baked. A mixture of cottage cheese with eggs, sour cream, and salt is spread thinly over the pastry. In 2007, Zagorski štrukli were inducted onto the list of Croatia’s intangible cultural heritage.
All of these tasty dishes are easily accessible and you can find them in almost every restaurant in their country of origin. They are simple to make, which means you won’t be waiting too long for your food to come, and they are affordable, too. If you ever find yourself in one of these countries, remember this list and let your palate have some fun!