Bulgarian Soup Kitchen For All

Last Friday I took Galia out for the first time for a short walk. This was the first time she has been out since her operation. It was a lovely sunny day with temperatures around 18 C, not bad seeing as a couple of weeks ago it was - 18C! Mind you, if it was any colder we wouldn't have been going anywhere with a poorly Galia.

Bulgarian Soup Kitchen For AllWe left just before lunchtime and decided to eat out for the first time this year. Money is tight as Galia wasn't getting paid for being off sick and my income is almost nothing right now. Passing a few places we came across a cafe that I hadn't been to for over three years. I remember it very well as it isn't s fast food joint, but an eating place for poor Bulgarians who can't afford restaurant prices. I also remember it being very much like a soup kitchen, in fact soup is the favourite item on the menu and customers bring their own bread bought from the shop next door to dip in, the rest of the loaf is taken back to their families for the evening meal.

Many things are changing in Yambol, but this place hadn't, it was exactly as I remember it, spotlessly clean, busy and nothing but Bulgarian food on the menu. No chips no burgers, pure Bulgarian staple cuisine.

We ordered Shkembe Chorba, chicken soup, 2 Bulgarian kebab (pronounced kebap) three slices of bread each, a triple layered cream sponge cake, rice pudding and sliced tomatoes alongside. The bill was not quite as cheap as it would have beenthree years ago, but came to just over 8 leva and we got a napkin and a couple of toothpicks thrown in as well.

This place is so simple, the food is freshly made daily, the turnover of food during the day is continuous and of course, unlike some expatraites who don't even try it, the Bulgarian food sold and served here is second to none. It feels like home cooked and baked food in many respects. Many foreigners never get to come here, mainly because its not an easy place to find tucked away in the midst of many other little shops.

Bulgarian Soup Kitchen For AllThis calls back the call of communist Bulgaria where everyone is equal in this eating house. The wealthy business person in for a quick snack and, right down to the down and out come to feed themselves here. I could spend hours just sitting in the corner of this place watching the interesting and diverse characters that step through the door.

-Picture of what was left of the meal - I didn't think to take a picture before we started - Doh!-

When we had finished our wholesome food, it is required that you take the dirty dishes and cutlery back to a table at the back of the cafe next to the kitchen area. No one left there dirty plates or trays on the the table they ate at before they left. This is so refreshing to see this taking place.

It is a worrying moment as we left thinking how long can this place survive in the fast pace of feast food taking over. It will be a crying shame when it does fall to the steamroller of fast food coming from the American and Western Europeon eating habits. It is at the same time a privilege to be here at time when total change hasn't affected Yambol.