Hearty and homely, Slovakian food is not dissimilar from what’s bubbling away on stovetops throughout Central Europe. The Slovaks have added their own twist to regional favourites, however. So, say dobrú chuť (bon appetit) and eat your way through these yummy Slovakian dishes.
Sample the national dish
Slovakian food is creamy and calorie-laden. But none more so, than the national dish, Bryndzové halušky. The only thing you should be wrapping your tongue around is a dumpling, so if pronunciation is a problem, simply ask for Slovakian dumplings with cheese.
Locals smother these potato dumplings, which have an uncanny resemblance to Italian gnocchi, liberally with cheese. And not just any cheese, mind you. Slovaks are justifiably proud of their local concoction.
Melt-in-your-mouth creamy and soft, the locals make Bryndzové from sheep’s milk (bryndza). Topping its decadence off in this most beloved of Slovakian dishes are sprinkles of smoky bacon or sausage. The result? Slovakian food at its most iconic – simple and soul-warming.
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Bryndzové pirohy (Slovakian pierogi)
Here’s another dish peckish travellers may recognise from neighbouring Poland. Prepare yourself for that Slovakian twist though.
Slovakian pierogi are crescent-shaped potato dumplings stuffed with that famous local cheese we mentioned earlier, bryndza. Throw in some bacon, chives and a generous dollop of sour cream and you’re guaranteed a one-way ticket to gastronomic heaven.
Why not eat Bryndzové pirohy like a local? Simply wash down its creamy goodness with a glass of žinčica, fermented sour sheep’s milk. It’s an acquired taste, but one to try when you dig into this most delectable of Slovakian dishes.
Move over grilled cheese toastie. In Slovakia, the locals spread liptauer on their bread and crackers. While its exact origins are unknown, there are several variations throughout the Austro-Hungarian region.
The main ingredient of this tasty cheese spread is either fresh or cream cheese. Throw in a bit of paprika, a handful of different herbs and spices and you have a flavoursome spread to rival the best in the world.
Enjoy ample lashings of it smothering piping-hot bread straight from the oven. The locals also love to use it as a dip for grilled meat and sausages which you’ll find pretty much everywhere in this meat-loving country.
Visiting Slovakia in winter? When the temperature gets frosty, nip indoors for the most heart-warming traditional dish, guláš.
You may recognise it as Hungarian goulash, Hungary’s national dish. Of course, once again the Slovaks have put their own spin on this favourite. And today, you can find many variations throughout the two countries.
Indulge in this heartiest of meaty stews, packed with paprika and bursting with veggie flavours. As it simmers for hours on the stovetop, you’ll be hard-pressed not to steal a taste or two before it’s ready.
Find guláš on restaurant menus and in homes across the country. In true Slovakian fashion, they serve it with those fluffy dumplings we simply can’t get enough of.
Fun fact: You’ll often find Gulášová polievka (goulash soup) served at sporting events.
Makowiec is Slovakia’s answer to Christmas fruit cake. Once upon a time, Slovakian families would gather during the festive season and make this moreish treat together. Today, you will find it year-round in bakeries and supermarkets. How lucky!
It’s also very easy to make at home. Amateur bakers can simply roll poppy seed paste between layers of dough. The result? An intricate spiral of different textures when you cut the cake. Honey, raisins, almonds and orange peel are sometimes added too.
Enjoy it like the locals do – sprinkle thick cake slices with powdered sugar and pair with a cup of tea or coffee as the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Indulge that sweet tooth and order laskonky from a local bakery. This is the Slovakian equivalent to the ever-chic French macaron.
Two bite-sized meringues hug a light-as-air buttercream filling. The buttercream used to be caramel-flavoured, but these days can find it flavoured with everything from chocolate to coffee.
Visiting north-western Slovakia? Don’t leave without sampling one (or three) Skalický Trdelník. This cylindrical, hollowed-out split cake is the local’s favourite sweet treat and a firm favourite among tourists. Interestingly, Skalický Trdelník is the only Slovakian food currently registered as a protected food by the EU.
You can smell it before you see it. Sinfully-sweet, its aromas linger in the air enough to make your toes curl, most notably when it’s being baked on a Slovakian sidewalk. Wrap sweetly spiced dough around a stick. Add sugar, apricots, almonds or walnuts and pop it in, to grill or bake. You could also hunt down modern versions filled with ice cream, although we prefer it the traditional way.
Do you have any favourite Slovakian food or dishes you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below…