The Foods eaten by the people of Albania

Albanian cuisine is influenced by the country's Mediterranean location, its history of Ottoman rule, as well as neighboring countries like Greece, Italy, and the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The cuisine is diverse and varies by region, reflecting a mix of indigenous traditions and external influences. Here is an overview of some foods that have been part of the Albanian diet over the past 500 years:


  • Bread: A staple in most meals, varieties can include white, whole-grain, and cornbread.
  • Rice: Used in pilafs and some traditional dishes.
  • Cornmeal: Used to make dishes like "Bukë misri" (cornbread).

Meat and Fish:

  • Lamb: Especially popular in mountainous regions and commonly used in roasts and stews.
  • Poultry: Chicken and turkey are widely consumed, often grilled or in stews.
  • Fish: Coastal regions have a long history of fish and seafood consumption, including sardines, anchovies, and shellfish.
  • Pork and Beef: Consumed but less frequently than lamb and poultry.


  • Cheese: Many regional varieties exist, including "djathë i bardhë" (a white cheese similar to feta) and "kaçkavall" (a type of yellow cheese).
  • Yogurt: Used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Vegetables and Legumes:

  • Tomatoes, Peppers, and Onions: Widely used in salads and as bases for many dishes.
  • Olives and Olive Oil: Commonly consumed, especially in coastal regions.
  • Beans: Used in stews and soups like "Jani me Fasule" (bean and vegetable stew).
  • Cabbage: Used in various preparations including pickling.
  • Cucumbers: Commonly used in salads.


  • Figs, Grapes, and Plums: Commonly consumed fresh or dried, and also used to make rakia, a type of fruit brandy.
  • Citrus Fruits: In coastal areas, lemons and oranges are commonly used.

Nuts and Seeds:

  • Walnuts and Hazelnuts: Often used in desserts and some savory dishes.

Herbs and Spices:

  • Garlic, Mint, and Oregano: Widely used in various dishes.
  • Paprika and Chili: Used to add flavor and heat.


  • Coffee: Turkish coffee is traditional, but espresso and other forms of coffee are also popular due to Italian influence.
  • Raki: A traditional fruit brandy, usually made from grapes or plums.
  • Tea: Consumed but less frequently than coffee.

While some aspects of Albanian cuisine, like the popularity of bread and lamb, have remained relatively constant over the last 500 years, others, like the adoption of New World vegetables (e.g., tomatoes and peppers) and the influence of neighboring culinary traditions, point to its dynamic and evolving nature.

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