You are in Belgrade, Serbia, you are hungry, you do not know exactly what to eat here and you do not know who to ask. But don’t worry, we’ll explain Serbian cuisine so well that you’ll be as well prepared for your visit as a real Serbian.
Komplet lepinja is a loaf of bread (flat bread that is usually baked in the wood-burning oven) with a special sauce called “pretop”, eggs and “kajmak”. Pretop is made from meat and a mixture of salt and fat. Kajmak is a fine dairy product, it is tasty and salty. It looks like butter, but you can eat a lot more of it.
The loaf of bread is cut in the middle, the soft part inside is taken out and replaced by eggs and kajmak. After it has been baked in the oven, the ingredients ooze out slightly, making the dish even more delicious. Liquid natural yoghurt (another must-try if you are in Serbia) is recommended, especially if you eat this dish for breakfast, for example at the Falkensteiner Hotel Belgrade 😉
Barbecue in Belgrade
Grilled meat always has a more pronounced taste than meat prepared in other ways. Barbecue is something very special in Serbia. In the south of Serbia there is a veritable barbecuing “cult”, which is now spreading throughout the country. Correct preparation of the meat, the type of meat, the wood used for the preparation, spices, special bread and the art of preparation are essential for a Serbian barbecue.
Our recommendations for the perfect barbecue: Ćevapčići, Pljeskavica, white chicken, chicken wings, stuffed chicken drumsticks and sausages.
Ćevapčići is available in many different versions. A distinction is made between Leskovac ćevap, Banja Luka ćevap, and Sarajevo ćevap. Each of them has its own taste and fans. Leskovac ćevap consists of fine beef with a special preparation before and during grilling. Banja Luka ćevap is known for its “tile” shape and is mostly served with succulent flat bread and onions. Sarajevo ćevap is very popular in Sarajevo and Bosnia, mainly because of the fantastic taste and it is served with pita bread.
So if you’re wondering what kind of meat dish to eat in Belgrade, Ćevapčići would be our recommendation.
Pljeskavica is a grilled combination of pork, lamb and beef minced meat with typical spices. As with the Ćevapčići, it is best eaten with onions and kajmak. In addition we recommend “Ajvar” (paprika puree) and “Urnebes” (hot and spicy salad).
“Under the lid” specialities
Sač is a traditional dish. The ingredients are first put into a simple bowl (Crepulja) with a lid (Sač). When everything’s ready, hot coals are put on top. All dishes prepared in this way have a much more intense taste. This method of preparation is both traditional and healthy.
Pite ispod sača – If you love pies, this is probably the best choice. In Belgrade there are pies with meat, cheese, spinach, potatoes and mushrooms and sweet pies with cherries and apples. In addition to the classic pie, there is also a kind of pie called “Burek”.
Burek ispod sača – Burek is a kind of pie. It originally comes from Turkey, but the Serbs have also included it in their cuisine. Like all pies, it can be prepared with different ingredients, but the original recipe for Burek consists of meat or cheese. Together with yoghurt the dish is a poem!
Rebarca ispod sača – Ribs are excellent and are usually prepared with onions, vegetables, spices and ground paprika (chilli or mild chilli taste). Potatoes can also be served as a side dish, everything stews in its own juice.
“Leskovačka mućkalica” – Grilled and cooked meat with vegetables
The meat (pork neck) is first cut into cubes and then rolled in spices. The meat is then rolled up in bacon and prepared on the grill. In the meantime, vegetables are cooked together with onions, paprika and tomato juice until a nice juice is obtained. The grilled meat is added and all cooked together.
Sarma – should be tried at all costs
Sarma is like the queen of Serbian dishes. The ingredients are rolled in a vine or cabbage leaf that has been previously pickled (in Serbia both leaves are used, but the cabbage leaf is more common). In Serbia, people often say to visitors:
“Otiš’o si, sarmu pro’bo nisi!”
In English it means: “You left, but you didn’t try Sarma!”
The basic ingredients for Sarma are minced beef, white rice, garlic, rib meat, smoked bacon and paprika. The filling is made from these ingredients and placed in a single cabbage leaf and rolled up. The leaves are pickled beforehand to give an even better taste.
Tufahija is something for sweet tooths
Tufahija is a classic dessert, which is very popular in Serbia and has spread to many countries. It’s an apple with walnut and sugar filling. First the apple is boiled in sugar water, then filled with ground nuts, beaten egg whites and vanilla sugar. Then the apples are roasted in the oven and finally covered with syrup. After all the grilled and cooked meat, after lepinja, sarma and burek, this dessert is the perfect finish. We recommend a strong black coffee.