Mystic Burek’s Spasia Pandora Dinkovski on off-licence snacks and emergency birthday cake

Everyone’s got a food story to tell… Welcome back to Fridge Raid, the delicious. interview series where people from all walks of life answer our nosiest food questions. Each week, we ask everyone from nurses to teachers reveal the quirky realities of how they really eat – and the food experiences that shaped them.

Our guest spilling the beans this week is British-Balkan food writer Spasia Pandora Dinkovski, owner of shop and restaurant Mystic Burek in Sydenham, South London – which inspires sell-out queues for Spasia’s Macedonian bakes. Her first cookbook, Doma, was released in earlier this year and shares traditional recipes and stories from North Macedonia.

Spasia shares the childhood nickname bestowed on her by Sainsbury’s staff, her opinion on kitchen paper – and which food she reckons she could eat competitively. Any volunteers for a contest?

Mystic Burek’s Spasia Pandora Dinkovski on off-licence snacks and emergency birthday cake

Pick ‘n’ mix

What do you eat for breakfast?
Any combination of toast and egg. Always savoury. Sometimes with bacon.

What food could you competitively eat?
Lamb chops and ribs.

What’s your top home-cooked comfort food?
Mac and cheese.

What’s your favourite high street chain – and your regular purchase?
I don’t mind the hot sausages from Tesco.

What would you do if you were asked to bring a birthday cake to a party?
Make a Guinness cake. With anything I don’t have one favourite recipe for, I’ll usually flick through a few different versions and figure out how to bring all the best techniques together. Burning the butter was a really good accident the last time I made one!

porter cake
Need a birthday cake? Guinness cake is the answer


What are your favourite social media accounts you follow and why?
@margot.combat (French cocktail expert Margot Lecarpentier) and @Balkanism (an educational collective and visual arts platform about Balkan culture and solidarity).

Do you use kitchen paper with abandon or do you ration it?
I don’t really buy it. Blue roll (catering industry paper towel) is a must, though.

The main meal

Do you write a weekly menu plan?
To be honest, I barely ever do a food shop. I’m lucky enough to eat leftovers from my shop and I’m always very much in the mindframe of making something out of nothing.

How does your job affect how you eat?
If I have to do a long day at the shop, I find it hard to eat anything because whenever I take a bite, someone walks in. But I always have breakfast.

"If I have to do a long day at the shop, I find it hard to eat anything as whenever I take a bite, someone walks in"

What’s your opinion on snacking?
I love a snack. I love picking out the best snacks at the off licence. I opt for Lay’s Creamy Forest Mushroom crisps, which have been popping up a lot more, for good reason. Nik Naks always. And a cold can of Strawberry Mirinda.

What was your local supermarket branch as a child and what’s the best memory you have there?
My mum worked at Sainsbury’s for a while and I loved their staff Christmas parties – they used to call me Little Miss Chatterbox.

My bite-size week

What was the best thing you ate this week?
A smoked beef sausage from Ruben’s Reubens, the smokehouse run by 23-year-old barbecue chef Ruben Dawnay, which I finished off on the barbecue with a creamy potato salad.

What was the most mundane meal you ate?
I don’t waste my meals on mundane!

What food/drink did you buy on the go?
A couple of chicken goujons, rushing on the way to my book launch ahead of some fizz-drinking.

Was there a meal you planned as a treat/looked forward to?
I slow-roasted two baby chickens, then grilled them. I then made a super juicy sauce out of stock, butter, honey and harissa, and drenched it all. I honestly look forward to every meal, though.

Where did you shop for food – and what did you buy?
I got some ayran (a refreshing drink made from yogurt, water and salt) and a pistachio bar from a Turkish shop near me in Sydenham called Istanbul.

What did you do to relax?
A good few laps around the park and many episodes of Ab Fab.

Browse more entries in our Fridge Raid interview series – and sign up to our Wednesday newsletter to have each week’s new read delivered to your inbox.

More to discover

Subscribe to our magazine

Food stories, skills and tested recipes, straight to your door... Enjoy 5 issues for just £5 with our special introductory offer.


Unleash your inner chef

Looking for inspiration? Receive the latest recipes with our newsletter

We treat your data with care. See our privacy policy. By signing up, you are agreeing to delicious.’ terms and conditions. Unsubscribe at any time.