Skopje Food Tour
My first day in Skopje, Macedonia was a delicious one. Skopje Food by Foot Tour was my pick to learn about Skopje’s history and sample delicious Macedonian fare. Skopje Food by Foot tour met at the Gate Macedonia (a knock off of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe) at 1:30pm. Come with an empty belly, ready for an epic food experience.
My Skopje Food by Foot tour was comprised of 3 Swedes, 4 Brits, myself (USA!) and my knowledgeable Macedonian tour guide. She discussed Yugoslavia, the break-up and ensuing war, the aftermath, former Skopje resident Mother Teresa and the big earthquake in 1963 that destroyed 80% of the city.
The first food stop was for burek- a flaky pastry filled with meat, cheese, or spinach and cheese. I opted for the spinach and cheese. Some locals will order burek with yogurt to dunk the burek into or drink alongside it. Bakeries in this part of the world are filled with cheap and fresh baked sweet and savory treats!
After a wander to the back of a local produce market, we went inside a cheese shop. My favorite cheeses of the 8 or so we tasted were sheep’s milk cheese- one crumbly like a feta, one creamier, and a cottage cheese type curd.
Look at all the cheese!
By the time we finished at the cheese shop, it was 3pm and that is clearly the time of day to start drinking liquor. Raki is the local booze of choice in the Balkans, usually homemade but there are distilleries as well. I was not a fan. It was a little like flavored whiskey. The accompanying toast points with pepper and eggplant spread (a common flavor combination in the Balkans) was fantastic. The bread helped to soak up the booze, although I ended up giving away my Raki to a Swede who refused to leave any booze undrunk.
Skopje is divided up into a few sections but mostly the new section (full of crazy big statues) and the Old Bazaar (the historic Muslim section).
My hotel was in Old Bazaar and it was the best place to stay. The Stone Bridge connects the two sides, although there are a few crazy big statues as you come up to the Old Bazaar.
My favorite taste of the day came from Old Bazaar from a grandmotherly Muslim woman- Halka. Halka is basically a fried doughnut smothered in a sugar syrup. It is a messy, sweet treat easily devoured.
I dripped sugar syrup all over my shirt but it was worth it!
When I arrived the night prior, I walked around a bit to get a feel of Skopje’s Old Bazaar. But with a guide was better, it was nice to know the history involved . This is actually a church that goes a few stories underground in an attempt to hide the door from the Ottomans centuries ago.
Across the narrow street from the church is the craft brewery. We all had a tasty beer while we waited for an entire meal to be served. Sausages and grilled meats are a main staple here and they are delicious- very fresh and cooked perfectly. Another main staple here is baked beans. The stewed white beans are delicious and a cheap way to fill your belly.
This was the end of the almost 4 hour Skopje Food by Foot history/ food tour and I was stuffed! A food tour was the perfect way to learn about Skopje and learn my way around the city. I felt so much more comfortable reading menus and going sightseeing as I finally knew what I was looking at. Guidebooks are great but stories from the locals is the better option. More from Skopje soon!