Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Watered Down Rakia in Bulgarian Restaurants

Grape brandy (rakia), 72° alcohol degree

A subject that causes concern to me should also concern close Bulgarian community here is the question of watered down Rakia in restaurants being served to foreigners.

As an expatriate I am seen as a complete novice on Bulgarian matters, Rakia included. In some restaurants I know for a fact that some of the commercial Rakia, namely Yambolska Rakia that is given to me is watered down. I have a few years of experience of Rakia under my belt to know the difference between a 100 ml glass of 40% Rakia and 100 ml glass of 35%. This has been served to me on more than one occasion in my hometown of Yambol.

Bulgarians are not treated the same way, as they would not get away with it. Well my immediate reaction after getting stung a few times with this was that they should not get away with it anymore as a contingency plan was in my mind for the next time round. I will bring with me my alcohol-measuring tool and if I suspect that the Rakia is watered down I will test it there and then in the restaurant. With my insight to Rakia and me appreciation of the spirit, I will not allow scrupulous Bulgarian restaurant owners prey on my disposition as an expatriate. This was my plan. However my immediate Bulgarian community here sees this as inappropriate behaviour.

When this problem was mentioned to my Bulgarian friends and family and they are of the opinion that this should not go on in restaurants. There is no third party or ombudsmen that you can go to report these happenings unfortunately. The only way that this can be avoided is to either not use that restaurant or in my opinion confront them with the evidence at the time. My Bulgarian friends and family's thoughts on the matter are different and they are in the main more than a little apprehensive as the restaurants concerned may be Mafia infiltrated. This could cause big problems ahead.

I asked the question, what if this happened to a Bulgarian in a restaurant? The answer I got back was that it wouldn't happen to a Bulgarian! Well that's an answer I totally expected from Bulgarians. Perhaps I should order my rakia then swap it with a Bulgarian in the party and see what happens next!?

Image by Boby Dimitrov via Flickr

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