Best Lithuanian food – 7 unique Lithuanian dishes

Best Lithuanian food - 7 unique Lithuanian dishes

Lithuania is a country that is over a thousand years old and with such a long and complex history it’s no wonder that Lithuanian cuisine is so rich and varied. Even though Lithuanian cuisine was influenced by French, German, Eastern European and Karaite culture, it still retains unique dishes and beverages that are hard to come by anywhere else.

Cepelinai

One of the most traditional Lithuanian dishes – Cepelinai, is something every tourist should try! They are basically grated potato dumplings stuffed with meat or curd cheese, just bigger, tastier and more satisfying. They are named after Ferdinand von Zeppelin because their shape resembles his famous airship. Cepelinai are usually served with pork rinds, sour cream, and bacon which complement the taste of this delicious potato dish.

You can explore Lithuanian restaurants to find different versions of this dish, as every chef has a unique version.

Black bread

There is no doubt that one of the best traditions in Lithuania is dark rye bread prepared in a masonry oven – sometimes called kepta duona. Traditional bread is usually not prepared with yeast, which is absolutely great because too much yeast can be unhealthy. In the past, bread starters were passed from generation to generation, and were even considered to be part of a bride’s dowry! We would definitely recommend you try it, or even bring some home as a souvenir.

Saltibarsciai (the pink soup)

There is a huge variety of soups in this Baltic country, but the most recognizable one is definitely saltibarsciai. Known for its pink colour, saltibarsciai is usually served with sour cream, boiled potatoes seasoned with salt, boiled eggs and its unique flavor comes from kefir (sour milk with bacteria) and root vegetables.
It’s a great refreshing soup for a hot summer day, better than any sweet lemonade. Have you heard about borsch, the traditional Ukrainian beetroot soup? Well, this national dish is the Lithuanian summer version of that.

Šakotis (shakotis)

This cake has been a part of every traditional wedding and Christmas Eve in Lithuania since the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth era. There are so many great things about sakotis!

It looks like a branched yellow tree, and its dough (made with butter, flour, cream, a little bit of sugar and egg yolk) is baked over an open fire. The cake does not expire for up to two months. Its flavor is very simple, but would be admired by even the most selective pastry lover.

Gira / Kvass

Gira (kvass) originates from Russia, but as a result of the two countries’ common Soviet history, it can be bought anywhere in Lithuania. Back in those days, there were “kvass trucks on every corner”, which is why it became an integral part of Lithuanian cuisine.

It is a traditional fermented beverage made from rye bread, and it’s common in Slavic and Baltic cultures. Kvass has the wonderful smell of homemade bread, and when served in a glass the drink shines with a rich ruby color. And not only is it tasty, but, just like rye bread, it has a lot of health benefits such as its anti-inflammatory qualities.

Kibinai

One of the most beautiful sites in Lithuania is Trakai. Any Lithuanian will tell you he is proud to have this city. It is surrounded by lakes from every side. The city is very beautiful, charming, and has a very interesting history.

And of course, you can eat kibinai just about anywhere you go. Kibinai is a traditional Karaite food, a dragon-shaped pastry with a huge variety of fillings such as cottage cheese, cabbage or minced meat. And nothing is more pleasant than eating kibinai on the lakeshore across from the Trakai Castle.

Places which serve the best Lithuanian dishes

Trakai - the land of the tastiest Kibinai

Trakai is the best place to eat Kibinai. Taste the classic Kibinai as well as some completely unique varieties which originated here: pork, beef, chicken, turkey, curd, vegetables and even chocolat

Tinginys - the easiest Lithuanian recipe you can even make yourself

Tinginys is an authentic Lithuanian cookie, and its name means “lazy man”. Why? Because it’s so easy to make!

All you need is butter, cookies, chocolate and condensed milk. Just crumble the cookies into little pieces, combine with the other ingredients and freeze, it doesn’t get simpler than that!