Food in North Macedonia
If you’re on a budget, consider one of the Skara (grill) establishments. On the waterfront, there are a number of upmarket restaurants offering higher-quality cuisine, but they appeal to visitors, so don’t be shocked by a hefty price at the conclusion of your dinner.
Service in restaurants and cafés throughout the country is often sluggish, either because these establishments are chronically understaffed or because of the overall laid-back attitude. Consider yourself fortunate if your meal is provided within half an hour of your arrival.
Macedonian cuisine is similar to that of the southern Balkans, with plenty of grilled meat (known as skara). Typically, side dishes must be ordered separately. Shopska salata, a mixed salad of cucumbers, tomatoes, and grated sirenje, is also popular in Macedonia. Sirenje is a white cheese that is comparable to feta. Typically, Macedonians will translate the word “cheese” to “sirenje.” Ajvar, a crimson paste formed from roasted peppers and tomatoes, is another regional specialty that may be served as an appetizer or as a side dish. Tarator, which is similar to Greek tzatziki, is another popular local food. It is served as a cold soup and is composed of yoghurt, cucumbers, and garlic.
The most popular street food is burek (урек), a flaky phyllo-like pastry filled with melted cheese and/or ham, or toast (тоcт), pressed panini-style sandwiches.
Stobi Flips are a common snack item available in supermarkets and small shops, resembling a cheese doodle but with a salty peanut flavor.
Tavče gravče or тавчe гравче in Macedonian, is the country’s national dish. It comprises mostly of beans and paprika, and is usually eaten with sliced sausage mixed in.
Macedonia, being a landlocked country, does not have a wide range of fresh fish. Ohrid is a noteworthy exception, where fresh fish from the nearby lake may be eaten. Ohrid trout is a local delicacy if you don’t mind eating endangered species.
Drinks in North Macedonia
Rakija is a powerful grape brandy with the strongest claim to be the republic’s national beverage.
The Tikveš (Tikvesh) winery in Kavadarci is Macedonia’s biggest in the Balkan region. Red wines are often superior than white wines. T’ga za Jug is a popular Macedonian red wine produced from a native grape type called Vranec. Traminec and Temjanika are two local white wines.
Skopsko (кoско, “of Skopje,” following the Slavic tradition of naming beers after their origin), a palatable, though not completely unique, lager, dominates the local beer market. There are also many breweries that produce unexpectedly good-tasting beer.
The sale of alcoholic drinks in shops ends at 21:00 everywhere in the nation, although business continues as normal in restaurants and cafés.
Unlike most of the rest of the Balkans, mineral water, or kisela voda, is consumed instead of sparkling water or water with gas.
The most popular coffee drink in cafés is the macchiato (макиато, espresso topped with frothy cream), which may be ordered as a single shot, small, mali macchiato or a double shot, big, Goliath macchiato. In the summer, cold cappuccinos with flavored creams served in big glasses are especially popular.
Tea is mostly confined to black and green types and is served in bags. Those looking for strong brewed black tea can visit the teahouses operated by local Turks in Skopje or Ohrid’s old town.