How to Eat Like a Serb

The great variety in Serbia’s cuisine originates from its geographical, national and cultural diversity. Influences on Serbian cuisine have been rich and varied – it first began as a mixture of Greek, Bulgarian, Turkish and Hungarian cooking. Serbians still eat quality food, and Đorđe Balašević’s song,”Al’ se nekad dobro jelo” (“Back Then Eating Was Good”), tells of the traditions found around food.curetinasamlincimaAn 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 medieval cuisine of Serbia mainly consisted of dairy and vegetables. Not a lot of bread was eaten, but when it was, the rich ate bread made from wheat while the poor ate bread made from oats and rye. The only meat consumed was game, with cattle kept for agricultural use.lazinopismoBreads, strudels and pasta are characteristic of modern-day Vojvodina. In Novi Sad, enjoy the delicious lazino pismo at Lazin Salaš (pictured above.) 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 and smoked wild boar meat. In southern Serbia grilled or spit-roasted meat dishes are very popular, particularly the famous Leskovac grilled specialities. 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. The, it’s covered with breadcrumbs and deep-fried. This dish is served with tartar sauce.karadjordjevaSerbian grilled meat dishes have become the symbol of Serbian cuisine, with one of the best known being ćevapčići (minced beef rolled into finger-size pieces on ice, grilled and served with finely-chopped onion). Mešano meso (mixed grill) combines all the delights from the grill on a single plate: ćevapčići, pljeskavice (beef burgers), uštipci (meatballs stuffed with cheese and smoked ham), kobasice (sausages), ražnjići (shish kebab), đevrek (doughnut-shaped meatball with kajmak) and vešalica (strips of smoked meat). As food from the grill is best eaten freshly prepared and still piping hot, the so-called leskovački voz (Leskovac Train) was invented. The number of “carriages” this train has depends solely on the size of your appetite. Once you have eaten two or three ćevapčići, next to arrive is a pljeskavica, and then, steaming hot kobasice are placed on the table. The “train” continues to chug along with the arrival of some homemade lepinja (flatbread). Keep in mind that you dictate when the last “carriage” has passed by! 😉LeskovacVoz
Which of these dishes are your favorite? Which one do you want to try next? Please comment below! In true style of the people of Serbia, while we wait for your answer, we will sit at a kafana, sipping a coffee and chatting with a hospitable server. 🙂SerbiaCoffeeServer


  1. A great sum up, kudos!

  2. Jason Kerley

    Wow, after reading this I am really hungry! The last time I was in Serbia, I tried just about everything I could get my hands on. Cevapi, mesano meso, burek, sarma, shopska, kajmak… I could go on for days about the food. Afterwards having a Lav, rakija, or a simple zovboza is the perfect way to kick back after all that amazing food. Thanks for sharing your experiences! 🙂

  3. Serbia Incoming DMC

    Great article, you did sum it up in style. 🙂

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