What to Eat While Drinking Rakija in Skopje (Food Pairings to Try)

When you’re in Skopje, trying rakija is a must-do.

This traditional Balkan drink is a type of fruit brandy that’s often served as an aperitif or digestif.

It’s strong. Very strong. So you’ll want to pair it with some food to balance out the flavors.

But what should you eat while drinking rakija in Skopje?

Find out below…

Two typical Macedonian Rakija glasses in a "cheers' motion between two hands.

Rakija: The National Drink of Macedonia

When you visit Skopje, you will quickly discover rakija is an essential part of the local culture.

This strong fruit brandy is considered the national drink of Macedonia, and it is consumed on many occasions, from weddings to funerals.

Rakija is made from various fruits, including plums, grapes, apricots, and quince.

Each type of rakija has its own unique flavor and aroma, and Macedonians take great pride in their homemade versions of the drink.

When you sit down to enjoy a glass of rakija, you will often be offered a small plate of snacks to accompany the drink.

These snacks, known as meze, are similar to tapas and are meant to be shared among friends.

Some popular meze options to enjoy with rakija in Skopje include:

  • Ajvar: A spread made from roasted red peppers and eggplant
  • Kajmak: A creamy dairy spread similar to clotted cream
  • Shopska salad: A refreshing salad made with tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and feta cheese
  • Sujuk: A spicy sausage made from beef or lamb

It is important to note that rakija is a strong drink, with an alcohol content ranging from 40% to 65%.

Macedonians typically sip their rakija slowly, savoring the flavor and enjoying the company of friends and family.

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What to Eat While Drinking Rakija in Skopje

When it comes to enjoying rakija in Skopje, there are some traditional foods I recommend pairing it with.

Here are a few options to consider:

Shopska Salad:

This is a popular salad in Skopje made with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers, topped with feta cheese. It’s a refreshing option that pairs well with the strong taste of rakija.

Meze Platter:

A meze platter is a selection of small dishes, similar to tapas, that are meant to be shared. In Skopje, you’ll find a variety of meze options, including grilled meats, cheese, olives, and bread. This is a great option if you want to try a little bit of everything.

Makalo:

This is a traditional Macedonian dish made with roasted eggplant, garlic, and peppers. It’s often served as a dip with bread and pairs well with the strong taste of rakija.

Pindjur:

Another popular dip in Skopje is pindjur, which is made with roasted peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. It’s a flavorful option that pairs well with rakija.

Grilled Meat:

Skopje is known for its grilled meats, including kebabs, sausages, and pork chops. These hearty options are a great choice if you’re looking for something more substantial to pair with your rakija.

Remember, it’s important to eat while drinking rakija to avoid getting too intoxicated too quickly.

So, be sure to order some food to enjoy with your drink.

Other Traditional Macedonian Food to Try

When it comes to traditional Macedonian food, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Macedonian cuisine is heavily influenced by the Balkans, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern regions, resulting in a unique blend of flavors and ingredients.

Tavche Gravche

One of the most popular dishes is Tavche Gravche, which is a hearty bean stew made with white beans, onions, peppers, and tomatoes.

It’s typically served with bread and cheese and is a perfect option for a cold winter day.

Ajvar

Another must-try delicacy is Ajvar, which is a roasted red pepper and eggplant spread that is often served as an appetizer.

It’s delicious on its own or as a topping for bread or grilled meat.

Moussaka

If you’re looking for something a bit more substantial, try the Macedonian version of Moussaka, which is a layered dish made with potatoes, ground meat, and eggplant.

It’s topped with a creamy bechamel sauce and baked until golden brown.

Selsko Meso

For meat lovers, there’s Selsko Meso, which is a rustic dish made with pork, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and spices.

It’s typically served with cheese and dry red peppers and is a perfect accompaniment to a glass of rakija.

Rakija Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find the best Macedonian restaurant in Skopje to enjoy with rakija?

Skopje is home to many great restaurants that serve traditional Macedonian cuisine, and some of the best ones can be found in the Old Bazaar.

Restaurants there offer a variety of dishes that pair well with rakija, including grilled meats, stews, and salads.

Are there any Macedonian breakfast dishes that go well with rakija in Skopje?

While rakija is not typically consumed during breakfast in Macedonia, there are some breakfast dishes that you can enjoy with this strong spirit.

One popular option is burek, a savory pastry that is filled with cheese, meat, or vegetables.

Another option is mekitsi, a fried dough that is often served with honey or jam.

These dishes are a great way to start your day in Skopje and can be found at many bakeries and cafes throughout the city.


This guide was first published on July 5, 2023 and was last updated on February 23, 2024. For more information, please contact us at contact@skopjeguide.com.