Serbian cuisine is a remerkable mix of flavours left in Serbia by several nations living there across time. It’s often quite difficult to find true Serbian specialties abroad, so we recommend you to try as much as you can during your stay in Serbia or even make some of them at home.
We have to start with grilled meat, which is very popular in Serbia both in fast food restaurants and in more fancy settings. The most popular dishes are pljeskavica and ćevaps. Both of them are made with pork or beef. Pljeskavica in its fast food form is more like a hamburger, while ćevaps are like oval sausages, often offered also in a spicy option. Despite its unassuming look the grilled meat in Serbia tends to be much better than you would imagine.
Other meat dishes include karađorđeva šnicla, đuveč, musaka, mućkalica, čvarci, punjena paprika and pršuta ham (similar to the Italian Prosciutto). Sarma with various fillings is also popular and very similar to Polish gołąbki dish.
Burek with cheese or meat is the most popular breakfast in Serbia. You can buy it in every bakery, in most cases still hot. It looks like puff pastry, but is actually prety fat and filling and is traditionally eaten with a cup of yogurt.
Serbia is also known for its cheese. Every region has its own specialties and they are all worth trying, but the most common type of cheese is Kajmak. It is eaten with everything, salty and sweet dishes, amongst others the abovementioned ćevaps. If there is some white, creamy cheese on your plate when eating in Serbia, it’s probably Kajmak.
In one of many kafanas you can not only eat well, but also try some traditional drinks. Two of them are especially popular: Turkish coffee and rakija.
Tradition of drinking coffee is deeply ingrained in Serbian society. While placing an order you might ask for Turkish (turska) Serbian (srpska) or local (domaća) coffee and you will always get the same kind of drink. This local coffee is boiled a few times in a special pot called džezwa. The effect is a small, strong and aromatic coffee, often served with a glass of water and some Turkish delight.
Rakija in Serbia is not only the most popular drink, but also an important element of tradition. Distilling alcohol at home, for personal use is fairly common, so you shouldn’t be afraid to try some homemade rakija in Serbia if someone offers it.
Rakija can be made of any fruit, the most popular being the plum, which is Serbia’s national fruit. Plum rakija is called Šljivovica, but you can also make rakija from grapes (lozovača), pears (vilijamovka), apricots (kajsijevača), apples (jabukovača) or figs (smokovača).
Characteristic rakija glasses with narrowed tops or džezva pot for making Serbian coffee at home would make great and original souvenirs from Serbia.