Culture

Serbian food

The great variety in Serbia’s cuisine originates from its geographical, national and cultural diversity, and the jigsaw of centuries of population changes. Influences on Serbian cuisine have been rich and varied – it first began as a mixture of Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish and Hungarian cooking.

An old Serbian legend says that during the time of the 14th-century Serbian Empire, under the rule of Stefan Uroš IV Dušan, meals in the Serbian palace were eaten with golden spoons and forks. Historians say that mediaeval Serbian cuisine mainly consisted of milk, dairy produce and vegetables. Beef prosciutto, kajmak, ajvar, cicvara (a type of polenta made from flour, eggs, butter and cheese), rose-petal slatko (a sweet preserve) and other specialities made with dried plums are considered native Serbian foods.

Dough-based foods, such as breads, strudels and pasta, and various kinds of processed meats produced from healthy stocks of cattle and poultry are characteristic of modern day Vojvodina. Spinach pies and spit-roast pork are characteristic of Šumadija. Smoked meat is the speciality of western Serbia and the lamb dishes of Zlatibor and Zlatar are not to be missed. The cuisine of eastern Serbia is noted for its dry shepherd’s pies, lamb cooked in milk, smoked wild boar meat, janjija with three kinds of meat and various vegetables, and Homolj kačamak (a regional type of polenta made from cornmeal, potato and sometimes feta cheese). In southern Serbia grilled or spit-roasted meat dishes, particularly the famous Leskovac grilled specialities, are very popular. Hundreds of tasty dishes, both vegetarian and meat-based, are eaten in Kosovo and Metohija: bingur, pirjanice, various pies and baklava, as well as lamb and mutton specialities.

It is not an easy task to introduce a foreign visitor in Serbia to the secrets of local cuisine. Many dishes cannot be adequately translated into another language, while others are simply not eaten anywhere else, even though they are made from ingredients commonly available in all European countries. That is why if you are keen to investigate Serbia’s national cuisine, which has evolved in a melting-pot of civilisations and ethnic influences, you should let the experienced hands of Serbian restaurateurs guide you.

Source: Serbia Travel

Photo: TO Zlatibor

Startes

  • Proja (cornbread)
  • Sir (soft cheese) and kajmak (kaymak – similar to clotted cream)
  • Pihtije (“pork cheese” – jellied pork)
  • Gibanica (cheese and egg pie) or zeljanica (spinach pie)

Photo: TO Zlatibor

Soups and broths

  • Goveđa or pileća supa (Beef or chicken soup)
  • Teleća or pileća srpska čorba (Serbian veal or chicken broth)

Main courses:

  • Ćevapčići (minced beef rolled into finger-size pieces on ice, grilled and served with finely-chopped onion), pljeskavice (beef burgers), uštipci (meatballs stuffed with cheese and smoked ham), kobasice (sausages), krmenadle (pork chops), ražnjići (shish kebab), vešalica (strips of smoked meat);
  • The Karađorđeva šnicla (Karađorđe steak) is named after Karađorđe, the leader of the First Serbian Uprising against the Turks. A veal steak is stuffed with kajmak, rolled up, and dipped in egg. It is then covered with breadcrumbs and deep-fried.
  • Sarma – Pickled cabbage/sauerkraut (Kiseli kupus) leaves are stuffed with rice and minced meat (usually pork), cooked with tomatoes and herbs, and then served with a helping of natural yogurt.

Salads

  • Srpska salata (Serbian Salad) consists of tomatoes, peppers, onion, fresh cucumber, a pinch of salt and pepper and a drizzle of oil. If grated white cheese is added then it becomes a šopska salata.
  • Turšija (pickled vegetables)
  • Pečena paprika (roasted pepper) is a salad made from a long, pointed variety of pepper, roasted, with garlic, oil and vinegar.
  • Urnebes salata is a paste made from cheese mixed with powdered chilli peppers.
  • Ajvar is baked peppers and aubergines – roasted, ground, mixed and then fried.

 

Desserts

  • orasnice (finely chopped walnuts bound together with sugar and egg in the shape of a horseshoe)
  • štrudla sa jabukama, štrudla sa višnjama or štrudla sa makom (apple/sour cherry/poppyseed strudel)

Photo: Dragan Bosnić, TO Serbia

 

These are only some dishes you will have a chance to taste while in Serbia for 19th WFTGA Convention! We suggest you try all, however have in mind that once you try you won’t be able to stop eating as its all very tasty.

Photo: Dragan Bosnić, TO Serbia

We drink Srpska kafa (Serbian coffee) – similar to Turkish, Greek, Cypriot coffee but with Serbian way of preparation.

Rakija – (brandies) made from natural ingredients (fruits and herbs): šljivovica – plum brandy, kajsijevača – peach brandy, viljamovka – pear brandy, dunjevača – quince brandy, lozovača – grape brandy and travarica – herb brandy. It is common to have a shot of rakija before the meal. It is very strong so be careful!

Serbian wine – produced in many regions in Serbia, including charming town of Sremski Karlovci where you can taste Bermet, which was served on the world’s most famous ship TITANIC and in the courts of Maria Teresa.

Photo: Dragan Bosnić, TO Serbia

Photo: Dragan Bosnić, TO Serbia

Krsna slava (a kind of patron saint’s day) is an ancient Serbian Orthodox tradition in which, alongside special rituals and a feast, the Christian saint, the protector of the family, is honoured, his day celebrated in accordance with the church calendar. The slava is a holiday of the ‘little church’ – the basic Christian cell, the family – when through prayer, the household remembers their ancestors who celebrated the same saint. Serbs celebrate their krsna slava with family, friends and festivities – a diverse range of food is prepared and a holiday atmosphere fills the home.

The most common Serbian slava, i.e. the most celebrated saints, are Saint Nicholas, Saint John, Saint Demetrius (Mitrovdan), Saint George (Đurđevdan) and Saint Archangel Michael (Aranđelovdan). It’s inscribed in the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

 

Folklore is usually linked with traditional music and dance. Variety of folklore in Serbia vast as every small regain has something specific in music, dance or traditional costumes.

Music folklore is preserved in tradition and it depicts the folk art of previous epochs. Epic songs were mostly sung and accompanied by the “gusle”, one of traditional Slavic musical instruments (single string instrument made of a single piece of dried wood), while dances were accompanied by songs and the “gajde” (bagpipes) or the “svirale” (fifes).

Typical form of Serbian folk dances is “kolo”. It is a chain of dancers holding each other’s dancing ideally in a circle. Solo dancing or couple dancing can rarely be seen in central Serbia. It is characteristic of ritual dances (“dodole”, “lazarice”, “kraljice”). These are very old dances and they are traces of pagan fertility and rain rituals, or they are traces of ancient rituals performed in occasions such as birth, initiations, weddings or death.

Traditional folk dance “kolo”, as well as singing to the accompaniment of the “gusle”, are inscribed in the UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Photo: TO Zlatibor

Good morning Dobro jutro Добро јутро
Good day Dobar dan Добар дан
Good evening Dobro veče Добро вече
Good night Laku noć Лаку ноћ
Hello! Zdravo! Здраво!
How much is it? Koliko košta? Колико кошта?
Thank you Hvala Хвала
Please Molim Молим
Where is…? Gde je…? Где је…?
I don’t understand Ne razumem Не разумем
Let’s go Idemo Идемо
I love you Volim te Волим те
Good luck Srećno Срећно
Bon voyage Srećan put Срећан пут
Friends Prijatelj Пријатељ
Water Voda Вода
Coffee Kafa Кафа
Bon appetite Prijatno Пријатно
All the best! Sve najbolje! Све најбоље!
Mulled vine Kuvano vino Кувано вино
Cheers! Živeli! Живели!

*don’t forget that we kiss THREE TIMES when greeting someone