25 Must-Try Foods to Hunt Down on Your Next Eastern European Adventure

25 Must-Try Foods to Hunt Down on Your Next Eastern European Adventure

Calling all foodies! Get ready for one delicious trip, because here's a list of foods you must try when you're in Eastern Europe!

Every foodie’s dream is to sample the most delectable cuisines around the world, what more in one of the planet’s most exotic destinations – Eastern Europe? Plus point: Travel in this region is also much more affordable compared to that in Western and Central Europe!

Also read: Top Secret Destinations in Eastern Europe That Are Absolutely Stunning

Still not sure why a trip to Eastern Europe should be on your bucket list? Join us on a food-hunt and let these 25 must-try foods change your mind!

1. Štrukli (Cheese pastry) Croatia

must try foods eastern europeImage credit: Seanpu1

The Štrukli is an extremely popular dish in the Zagreb region of Croatia, and I’m sure you can understand why. One look and you can tell that it’s chock full of soft and melty goodness. Oh, what I wouldn’t do to sink my teeth into this cheesy, creamy pastry!

2. Peka (Baked Meat and Vegetables) Croatia

pekaImage credit: sailn1

Peka is found in the Dalmatia region, which if you don’t know, is home to everybody’s favourite Croatian cities: Split and Dubrovnik! But before you run around the streets of the Old City and living your Game of Thrones fantasies, spare some time savouring this delicious little dish. If you think your home-cooked food was good, wait ‘til the baked mixture of spices, meat, vegetables and olive oil strikes your senses. You won’t know what hit you!

3. Apfelstrudel (Apple strudel) Austria

apfelstrudelImage credit: Traumrune

Ah, the old, classic apple strudel. I’m sure we’ve all tried the different variations of it scattered around town, but let me tell you this: nothing – and I repeat, nothing – can beat how the Austrians do it. Paper-thin crusts, crumbly breadcrumbs, tart apples, all eaten together with thick cream at the side… oh I’m sorry, did I make you drool? Here’s a tissue!

4. Palačinky (Pancakes) – Czech Republic

palacinky

Think French crepes, but lighter and sweeter. That’s right, you’ve got yourselves a palačinky! They look as dainty as royalty, but one bite and you will find out that they’re packed with flavours. This little beauty can be eaten with a bunch of other goodies, mainly fruits, sauces and ice-cream, so just pick whatever suits your fancy! What a way to make the whole experience sweeter!

Also read: Bavarian Food That You Must Try

5. Wiener Schnitzel (Breaded and pan-fried veal cutlet) – Austria

wiener schnitzelImage credit: Kobako

Did you leave Austria without trying this? What a shame. I mean, this is the national dish of Austria! You can practically hear the crunch the moment your teeth hits the breaded crust – and of course, get ready for all that lovely flavours to burst out from the veal underneath! Yum-yum!

6. Goulash (Stew) – Czech Republic

goulashImage credit: Rkolarsky

The goulash might not have originated from Czech Republic, but it holds a special place among all those Czech hearts. This is a staple in their lives, and it should definitely be yours when you’re in the Czech Republic too! This is a stew of meat and vegetables mixed with spices, and it’s usually served with bread at the side you’re going to be begging for more after the first spoonful, because the flavours will just burst in your mouth! Absolutely perfect on a cold day.

7. Makowiec (Poppy seed roll) – Poland

makowiecImage credit: Alina Zienowicz

You’re not going to find this anywhere else. Poland’s the place to be if you want to savour this delicious poppy seed roll. You just know that it’s soft, moist and most importantly – sweet. Break out the tea, because this roll is just perfect for dipping!

8. Ćevapčići (Skinless sausages) – Serbia

ĆevapčićiImage credit: Takeaway

That’s zhe-vap-chee-chee to you! This dish can be found scattered around the Balkans, but it’s best to head straight to Serbia for an authentic taste. After all, Ćevapčići is Serbia’s national dish. I don’t know about you, but I’m already imagining the crisp, juicy meat between my teeth! And when it’s served with flatbread and sides of feta cheese and sour cream? Goodbye friends, I’m packing for Serbia right now.

9. Gołąbki (Cabbage roll) – Poland

GołąbkiImage credit: Quinn Dombrowski

*Gordon Ramsay voice* Beautiful. That presentation is *gestures* absolutely stunning. Those soft, cabbage leaves breaking apart like butter to give you the most succulent minced meat within…and oh, that tangy tomato sauce! Spot-on. Well done, Poland!

10. Lángos (Fried bread) – Hungary

LángosImage credit: Kobako

It’s pizza, but daintier and crispier. It’s pastry, but more flavourful. Yup, it’s the Lángos! This is typically served with sour cream, potatoes or yogurt, and topped off with even more sour cream and the mother of all toppings – cheese. You’re probably visualising the melted cheese. So am I. I’m pretty sure this is what love feels like.

11. Somlói Galuska (Trifle) – Hungary

Somlói GaluskaImage credit: Illustratedjc

If I’m ever grateful for something, it’s because I’m so thankful for existing at the same time as the Somlói Galuska. This is for those who are suckers for desserts, just like me! If the piles of sponge cakes, pastry cream, whipped cream and chocolate sauce doesn’t do it, you need to get checked. Like, right now.

12. Dobos Torte (Layered cake) – Hungary

dobos torteImage credit: Savannah Grandfather

Hungary’s almost like the capital of scrumptious desserts, because this is yet another one for the sweet tooths! That up there is a sponge cake, layered with chocolate buttercream, and topped off with caramel. Oh, and did I mention the smattering of nuts around the rounded edges? You’ll surely want to stow this away in your luggage if you could.

13. Borscht (Beet soup) – Lithuania

borschtImage credit: Dmitry Dzema

Looks almost too good to eat, doesn’t it? I know! This chilled beetroot soup is extremely popular around various Eastern European countries, but it’s right at home here in Lithuania. Now you can say that you’ve eaten something that looks as pretty as it tastes!

14. Trdelník (Grilled dough with sugar and walnut mix) – Czech Republic

Image credit: Diliff

Take a look at that masterpiece. Just – take a good look. That’s dough that’s been grilled, and topped with sugar and walnut mix. Definitely one for the sweet-toothed peeps like me! Once you bite into this and hear that delightful crunch, you know you’re a goner. Diet? What diet?

15. Balandėliai (Cabbage roll) – Lithuania

BalandėliaiImage credit: Bearas

You might hate your veggies, but I’m sure you’ll make an exception for all these Eastern European foods. They sure seem to love their cabbages, and you might just be declaring yourself a veggie enthusiast once you taste this! Alright, I exaggerate. But hear me out – this one’s different as the filling’s mixed with onions, rice and meat! And with that tomato sauce at the side, well, you’ll declare this the perfect appetiser soon enough.

16. Pierogi (Dumpling) – Poland

PierogiImage credit: alanagkelly

If you’re in Poland and you haven’t tried any pierogi, start questioning what you’re even there for. Seriously. This one comes in both sweet and savoury versions – think of the mashed potatoes, meat, and cheese that could ooze out of the savoury ones, or the berries mixing and releasing their sweet, tart flavour as soon as you bite into one. Is this yummy or is this yummy?!

17. Chicken Kiev – Ukraine

chicken kievImage credit: Jason Lam

I’m a huge fan of garlic. And cheese. And chicken. You can probably imagine my reaction when I came across this! Your mouth will be down for some hardcore assaults from all these intense flavours, coming at you left, right, and centre – think of that ultimate combination along with the crunch from the breadcrumbs! If you haven’t been thinking of Ukraine yet, I’m sure this is enough to get you going.

18. Deruny (Potato pancakes) – Ukraine

derunyImage credit: Brücke-Osteuropa

Say goodbye to your diet with this one! Fried potatoes are a double-edged sword, because they’re loaded with calories but they’re oh. so. good. This one’s a classic Ukrainian dish mixed together with onions…and…and…I’m sorry, I was imagining the crunch I’d hear when I bite into it. A trip to the Ukraine, anyone?

19. Banitsa (Cheese pastry) – Bulgaria

banitsaImage credit: Merla ja Joonas

Have you ever bitten into bread while thinking that it’s going to be plain…only for you to find an unexpected filling and go hoooooly mother of all that’s good, did I just strike gold? That’s the Banitsa for you! Layers of pastry, egg, and pieces of white cheese embedded within its nook and crannies like a little secret…that’s enough to make your tastebuds sigh, no?

20. Papanasi (Fried pastry) – Romania

papanasiImage credit: Nitu Iulian

What? Just two little balls? This isn’t going to impress me in the sligh- oh. Oh. That’s when you break the pastry apart to find to find the sweet cheese nestled within, right? Make sure that some of that sauces goes into your mouthful as well, or you won’t get the full ride to foodie heaven!

21. Cozonac (Sweet bread) – Romania

cozonacImage credit: Vvssmmaann

This sweetbread’s usually served during festive times but pfft! We don’t need festivities to feel festive. Nope, not an excuse to eat this bread. Not at all. All jokes aside, you’ll be in ride after that first bite. Think of all the fillings that you will find in your bread – cocoa powder, walnuts, hazelnuts, lemon rind. Yup, you’ll find that all in this bread. And yes, you’re welcome.

22. Moussaka (Eggplant or potato-based casserole) – Greece

moussakaImage credit: jules

Three letters: W. O. W. This casserole is going to pack so many punches that you’ll end up feeling like a wrestler that’s been KO-ed. All that ground meat layered together with silky bechamel sauce, flavourful eggplants, and cheese…mmm! *licks lips* Your Greek holiday won’t be complete without trying this dish out, trust me.

Also read: Foods You Must Try in Greece

23. Taramasalata (Carp roe dip) – Greece

taramasalataImage credit: Robert Kindermann

Alright, maybe you won’t have to completely throw that diet out of the window. This pretty little thing is made out of cured cod or carp coupled with the zing of the lemon juice and olive oil. If you’re visualising the soft creamy texture coating every inch of your mouth, it’s exactly the same over here. *holds your hand* It’s alright, we’re all in this together.

24. Tzatziki (Yogurt dip) – Greece

tzatzikiImage credit: Nikodem Nijaki

You might have heard about this in various health books, but trust me when I say that no one does the tzatziki better than the Greeks. Oh, what I wouldn’t do to savour this tart, creamy sauce! You just know it’s going to tickle every sense in your body. Make sure to eat it with vegetables, or…

25. Gyro (Meat sandwich) – Greece

gyroImage credit: jeffreyw

…you could also eat it with the gyro! This is literally one of the things you’ve got to try when you’re in Greece. Feast your eyes on the tender, juicy meat that’s wrapped within the pita bread. As if that isn’t enough, that tzatziki sauce and vegetables will give you that zing that’s going to just complete your gastronomic Greek foodie experience. Yes, puh-lease!

Also read: Eastern Europe Should Be Your Next Travel Destination, And Here’s Why…

Well, if you haven’t thought of heading to Eastern Europe yet, I’m almost absolutely certain that this is enough motivation for you to pack your bags and go. Time to take that flight to gastronomic heaven!


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About Author

Farzana Fattah
Farzana Fattah

Farzana is a student at Singapore Management University who’s currently wondering what on earth she’s doing with her life. When not nerding out over the latest superhero movie or scrolling through memes on Tumblr, she is almost definitely researching random places across the globe and daydreaming about the next holiday destination. She is inspired by the variety of cultures in the world and hopes to travel to at least fifty countries in her lifetime to experience most of them.

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