On the hunt for some of the most popular Serbian foods to try out? Well, look no further as this post will serve you a selection of the best Serbian dishes that you should not miss out on when visiting the country. From traditional to today’s popular Serbian food and dessert, we got you covered. Read on below and prepare yourself to say “укусан” or delicious!
What makes Serbian cuisine truly satisfying is that it somehow combines the style and spices from the Western and Eastern parts of the world. Given its strategic geographical location, you can expect that the taste is pretty much typical of its neighboring countries, where the flavors are mild and fresh. In fact, they also love the use of regular seasonings such as pepper, paprika, and salt.
Another notable thing is that the Serbians traditionally prepare their pickled food and preserves at home than purchasing from the store. This is because food preparation is deemed an essential part of Serbian family tradition. If ever you plan to be on a homestay, you can expect that the family will serve you breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home as a sign of love and hospitality than taking you out to some restaurants.
Traditional Serbian Cuisine
Like most meal patterns from across the world, people from Serbia are used to eating three meals a day (the largest meal is usually during lunchtime). This is much different from how much people from nearby countries eat. For instance, the Greeks typically have four meals a day, while the Romanians also eat three times, but their biggest meal is at dinnertime.
Traditional Serbian foods are also known for their spicy and highly diverse food, which are mainly influenced by the Greeks, Hungarians, and Turkish. As you probably have noticed from their food looks, Serbia is rich in poultry meat and dairy products, which is why most of the home “kuća”(kitchen) will have these items in stock. Listed below are some of the best dishes existing today:
Kajmak – Spread Made Of Thickened Cow’s Milk
Kajmak is often served with bread or sausages and can also be used as a condiment perfect as a substitute for the cheese we are accustomed to. With this being said, it can be used for different food items such as cheese for a burger, mashed potato, or a dip for vegetables. This type of clotted cream cheese is made from raw cow, goat, or sheep milk combined with a teaspoon of salt mixture. It is usually consumed fresh right out of the saucepan, but you can also have it fermented for a few months inside the čabrica (small wooden tub for preservation).
Ajvar – Spread Made Of Roasted Red Bell Peppers
The sweet Ajvar is ideally served as a side dish, topper, or spread to fried, sautéed, or grilled meat, fish, and vegetables. It originated from the Balkans region, so you can also see this one when you visit neighboring countries. At first sight, you might think that the bright red hue looks like chili, but it actually is sweet and tangy, just like regular catsup.
Sarma – Cabbage Stuffed With Minced Ground Beef
Sarma is one example of a healthy and very filling dish that is prepared through the stove or oven with few ingredients such as rice, cabbage, and minced meat. You can also throw in other ingredients inside the wrap, such as tomato sauce, Sauerkrat, smoked meat, ham, or even ribs. It is the main course in itself, but it is also perfect with other food, especially during special occasions like the slavas.
Burek – Meat Filled Pastry Made Of Phyllo or Yufka
This baked pastry is a Serbian dish made of thinly stretched dough and is filled with cheese, meat, and potatoes. It is also popularly known as cheese pie, pita, and burek and can also be seen being served in different shapes as an appetizer or a snack. Some restaurants sometimes play it up by adding fruits instead to turn them into a dessert.
Leskovac Muckalica – Stew Made of Barbecued Meat
This is a must-try type of stew made of leftover food such as barbeque, Ajvar, and vegetable sauce along with some onions, garlic, and tomatoes. The name of this dish came from the word mućkati which means mix in the Serbian language. Traditionally, the muckalica is not supposed to be stirred once served, but it can be shaken from time to time.
Djuvec – Meat and Vegetables Casserole
This vegetarian-friendly Serbian food is known as a one-pot rice recipe with different vegetables. This is pretty much similar to the Paella of Spain and Valenciana of the Philippines. What makes this delicious is that you can upgrade the taste by adding chicken or even beef!
Cvarci – Pork Cracklings
This filling snack is popular due to its savory taste, which will remind you of the Spanish chicharrones. It is popular in the Balkans region and is exported worldwide.
10 Best Serbian Dishes
1. Ćevapčići / Ćevapi
This grilled sausage dish is made of a mixture of beef, pork, and lamb meat and is often served with bread and Ajvar. This street food is cooked and prepared anywhere in Serbia, so it is almost impossible to miss this one.
This popular Serbian food is made of seasoned roasted meat and can be eaten hot or cold. It is usually served with vegetable salad and some dips for added taste.
3. Karađorđeva šnicla – Breaded Cutlet Dish
This food is made of rolled pork or veal cutlet packed with lots of cheese on the inside. It’s pretty much like a Cordon Bleu, only that this one is served with tartar sauce and lemon slices.
This is a type of soup made with the cow, sheep, or pig stomach along with the yummy broth. It is the perfect remedy for hangovers and is also mixed with other ingredients such as tomatoes and cream for a truly satisfying taste.
5. Fiš Paprikaš
Also known as the freshwater fish stew, this dish has deboned fish and lots of paprika for flavor. This is popular throughout the country, but the best-tasting ones can be found in the Osijek area of Croatia.
6. Punjene Paprike
Since the Serbians love spicy food, they have developed this dish where they stuff cheese and some meat inside the huge peppers. It tastes so good and will remind you of the dynamite lumpia of the Philippines.
This slowly-cooked casserole is comfort food for many since this is served hot, easy to prepare, and very filling. It can be made with meat, but vegetables and beans are non-negotiable.
This one comes in two types of flavors: the sweet one and the traditional salty one with herbs, pepper, cheese, and eggs. This is also sold as street food and is perfect for eating on the go while you are shopping.
This grilled food is pretty much like a spiced patty, perfect for eating along with some bread pieces (like a sloppy joe!) or pita. You can also have it dipped in barbecue sauce or cheese.
This sweet fruit preserve is made of plums and is a perfect topping for waffles and bread. Think of it as a strawberry or blueberry jam making it a perfect treat, especially for breakfast.
Learn More Beyond Serbian Foods With The Ling App
Did you have fun with Serbian cuisine? Which of these are you planning to try out with rakija (local plum brandy)? Let us know in the comment section below! Also, if you enjoyed this post, don’t forget to read our previous tips on how to say emergency phrases or common Serbian verbs.
Also, would you like to learn more about the language of Serbia? Well, look no further. We’ve got the best resources only here at the Ling App. Download the Ling App on your Play Store or App Store today and start your language learning journey on the right foot.
For example on 5. Fiš Paprikaš ou are mentioning “the Osijek area of Slovenia.” The town Osijek is in Croatia, not Slovenia. You were thinking about area Slavonia.
You’re absolutely right that Osijek is in Croatia, not Slovenia. Thanks for keeping us on our toes, Ivan. We appreciate your eagle-eyed attention to detail!