Roasted Goat's Head and Other Albanian Street Food


Walking around in Tirana, Albania, you often pass by little shops selling meats roasting on spits all day. Next to the chicken bodies: a row of rotating goat heads. Obviously, I had to try one. After all, it was only 300 leke for one, or a little less than $3 USD.

"Oh dear."
Tonguing a dead goat, right before chewing on that tongue, which was like a tough, gamey jerky.

The cheek meat was the best part, like tender pulled dear.
I wish they'd take those teeth out. It was hard not to be psyched out about this whole endeavor.



Goat head, cracked openThe brains felt like pate and tasted as gamey as the rest of it.

The most typical street food is an Albanian dish called Qofte (pronounced Choh-ftuh). Albania's meat sticks aren't as good as those in the surrounding countries, such as Bosnia-Herzegovina's Cevapi. They are, however, about $.25 USD wherever you go, and they taste decent enough, at least when accompanised by some onions, seasoning as salce kosi.
The salce kosi (pronounced like the words "salsa cozy") in Albania is similarly not as good as Bosnia-Herzegovina's kaymek, but get it picante style and the yogurty mayo's pleasurable enough.

For about another quarter (USD), or 30 leke, one of these donuts ("petulas") can be yours. It's just like any good donut in the US, except with a lot of course sugar covering it. Sadly, it had not occurred to Albanians to sell espresso and pastries in the same place, so you have to get this donut and then get your espresso at one of the many Bar Kafes, none of which sell anything other than beer and coffee.
Most Albanians seem quite content at these cafes sipping one espresso and smoking cigarettes for 1-7 hours at a cafe where they spent the equivalent of $.60 USD.


The good news is the espresso (60-70 leke just about everywhere) isn't bad! It was really just like espresso most everywhere in Mexico, a little bitter but strong and enjoyable a 6/10. The only words you really need to know are:
Nje (Pronounced "Nyee") - one (They don't even have a concept of a double espresso here, so just order one after another if you want more, or pretend you're ordering another one for a friend.)
Expres - espresso
Faleminderit (Fahl-uh-men-dair-it) - thank you


There's also the option of trying random snacks that aren't available in the U.S.:

Clispy - Chicken Drums flavor - These adorable drumstick shaped snacks taste like Corn Chex cereal With a very recognizable chicken flavor. Arguable better than Lays' current Chicken and Waffles flavor if for no other reason than a better texture. If they added a hint of maple these bad boys, they'd be a shoe-in to win that flavor challenge.



They swapped out the cheese flavoring in favor of adding some peanut paste to the corn and shit that's in regular Cheetos. I liked them a lot, but not everyone has agreed with me.

The Tzatziki flavor was pretty damn good, not overly coated but not at all subtle either.



Tornado Snax - Ham and mustard flavor - "Parental advisory: Explicit taste" my ass. They're lighter corn chips with a bit of mustard flavor and what may well only be a mental suggestion of ham. The most fun thing about them is the ingredients list, which is printed in fifteen different languages. Plus they are shaped like fucking tornadoes.

At the equivalent of almost $10 USD, this Scandal ice cream was the most expensive (relative to the product) thing I found in all of Albania. You've gotta pay for your chocolate orgy.

This probably is available in the U.S., but I loved the free ("falas") pimp juice with pack of Pringles promo.

Next: Tirana's restaurants

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