Lithuania is a beautiful country located on the southeast corner of the Baltic Sea and borders Belarus, Latvia, and Poland. There are some ingredients and dishes like potatoes, rye, pork, dairy, and herring that date all the way back to ancient times that are still commonly used today.
Other local produce like mushrooms, beetroot, berries, lingonberries, blueberries, and cranberries. Being a very cold country, pickled vegetables are also quite common.
So what should you eat when you’re visiting Vilnius, the capital of this fascinating country? Here are some of the dishes that we recommend you try while you are there.
Šaltibarščiai – Lithuanian Borscht
Šaltibarščiai, pronounced shult-ay-bursh-chay, is a national dish that incorporates a staple ingredient: beetroot. It is a bright pink soup, served cold, that is made with kefir, a fermented milk drink. Mixed with pickled beetroot, the gorgeous pink color is achieved. It also includes cucumber, dill, and sometimes even pickled cucumber.
Kastinys – Sour Cream Butter
We’re not sure if there’s a better combination of words out there than sour cream and butter, and that’s why you absolutely have to try kastinys. Sour cream and butter are blended together over a warm water bath and then chilled so it is reformed into a spreadable butter. Often it is flavored with garlic, mint, caraway seeds, allspice, or salt. It often tops potatoes, bread, or anything else you’d like.
žirniai Su Spirgučiais – Split Peas With Crispy Bacon
This comforting dish is often a snack served alongside a beer. It consists of boiled split peas with crispy bacon bits, often referred to as crackling. The salty snack is a perfect companion to a nice cold beer.
Su Prieskoniais Keptas Baltasis Sūris – Baked Lithuanian Cheese
Curd cheese forms into a semi-firm cheese loaf that is then seasoned generously with pepper, tarragon, garlic, and cumin. It is then placed in the oven until the outside is brown and crispy. It is perfect for a dinner party or for a special occasion.
Baltic Herring With Potatoes
Herring is a staple in the region, therefore it is natural that it is one of the most common dishes served in Lituania, as well as other countries that border it. Marinated herring is often served alongside potatoes and varying garnishes.