The Albanian cuisine is Mediterranean, influenced mostly by Italian, Greek and Turkish cooking. Albanian cuisine is characterized by the use of spices such as pepper and Mediterranean herbs such as oregano, mint, basil, rosemary and more in cooking meat and fish, but also chili pepper and garlic. Olive oil and butter are a main ingredient in dishes.
Meat (lamb, beef, chicken, pork and rabbit) is used heavily in dishes in most of the country. Seafood specialties are also common in the coastal cities such as Durrës, Vlorë, Shkoder, Lezhe and Sarandë.
Vegetables are used in almost every dish. Usually, Albanian farmers grow every vegetable present in the Mediterranean region and sell them at the local farmers’ market. Vegetables are bought fresh at the farmers’ market early in the morning, which is open every day.
The main meal of the Albanians is lunch, which usually consists of gjellë (stew), the main dish of slowly cooked meat with various vegetables, and a salad of fresh vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and olives. The salad is dressed with salt, olive oil, vinegar and/or lemon juice.