Serbia is located right in the southeastern part of Europe in the heart of the Balkans. It is known for being picturesque as well as for its rich history and delicious cuisine. Serbian food fuses together central European food traditions with the Mediterranean to create a unique cuisine that reflects the country’s geography and history. There’s truly something for everyone to enjoy, from grilled meat to hearty stews. Serbia’s food is quite underrated, so here’s what you should look out for while visiting.
Serbian cuisine is renowned for its grilled meats, especially cevapi and pljeskavica, two iconic Serbian dishes. Cevapi are small sausages made from ground meat, typically a blend of beef and pork that is then seasoned and grilled. Pljeskavica is a Serbian burger, made from a mixture of meats, and can be customized with various toppings, such as kajmak, a creamy dairy product and ajvar, a red pepper-based condiment.
Hearty Stews and Soups
Serbians also have a deep appreciation for hearty stews and soups. One beloved dish is karađorđeva šnicla, a breaded and stuffed veal or pork cutlet, often served with a rich mushroom sauce. Pasulj, a bean soup, is another staple in Serbian households, prepared with white beans, smoked meats, and an array of spices, creating a warm and comforting dish.
Ajvar – the Red Gold
Ajvar, often referred to as “red gold,” is a delicious Serbian condiment made from roasted red peppers and eggplant. This versatile spread can be found in nearly every Serbian kitchen. It’s enjoyed with bread, meat, or simply as a dip, and its smoky, sweet, and tangy flavors make it a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
Bread and Pastries
Serbia boasts a rich tradition of bread and pastries, with lepinja being a popular one. Lepinja is a type of flatbread, often used to wrap around grilled meats, creating a mouthwatering sandwich. For dessert, gibanica is a delightful pastry made of thin layers of dough, cheese, and eggs, offering a delicious combination of savory and sweet.
Rakija – the Spirit of Serbia
To complement the flavors of Serbian cuisine, you’ll often find rakija as the most popular drink. This strong fruit brandy is a symbol of Serbian hospitality and is made from a variety of fruits, including plums, apricots, and grapes. Rakija is often enjoyed as an aperitif or digestive, and it’s customary to toast with it during social gatherings.
Belgrade’s Food Scene
While Serbian cuisine can be enjoyed throughout the country, Belgrade, the capital city, is a hub of culinary creativity and innovation. Its thriving restaurant scene offers a wide range of options, from traditional Serbian taverns, known as kafanas, to modern eateries serving international fusion dishes. You’ll be able to enjoy any of the aforementioned dishes at a kafana.