Albanian cuisine is characterized by the use of Mediterranean herbs such as oregano, mint, basil, rosemary and more in cooking meat and fish, but also chilli pepper and garlic. Vegetables are used in almost every dish.
In high elevation localities, smoked meat and pickled preserves are common. Animal organs are also used in dishes such as intestines and the head among other parts, which are considered a delicacy. Dairy products are integral part of the cuisine usually accompanied with ever present bread and alcoholic beverages such as Raki. Seafood specialties are also common in the coastal cities such as Durrës, Vlorë, Shkodër, Lezhë and Sarandë.
Corn bread and pogace bread (left), Buying bread in Albania (right).
Wheat Bread (Bukë gruri) or corn bread (Bukë misri) are ever-present on the Albanian table. Hence the expression for "going to eat a meal" (Albanian: për të ngrënë bukë) can be literally translated as "going to eat bread." 'Bread' is also used in the authentic Albanian hospitality saying of "bread, salt, and heart" (Alb.: bukë, kripë e zemër).
Harapash, polenta with the intestines of lamb, butter, cheese and corn flour
Paçe - common throughout the country and it is traditionally popular in Albania. Paçe is made with a sheep's, pig's or any cattle's head, boiled until meat comes off easily. It is then stewed with garlic, onion, black pepper, and vinegar. Sometimes a little flour is added to thicken the stew. It makes a hot and hearty winter stew.
Byrek — Albanian vegetable pie; it can also have feta cheese, spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, or meat; it's a layered pie made with filo pastry. Another version of the fillings is served as a filling for "pite" or "pita".
Bakllasarëm — A traditional food prepared in Kosovo and Albania: it's layered pie also known as "pite" or "pita" (Byrek) without anything inside, which is covered with yogurt and garlic, and then heated again. It is eaten for lunch.
Flia — A traditional food prepared in Kosovo and Albania.