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Serbian Food- 54 Amazing Serbian Dishes And Drinks You Have To Try

Serbian Food- 54 Amazing Serbian Dishes And Drinks You Have To Try

Serbian cuisine is a Balkan cuisine that consists of continental flavors spiced up with an Ottoman touch. The cuisine consists of Serbian food, as well as the culinary methods and traditions of the people of Serbia. Throughout the years, the region saw many conquerors come and go which has contributed to Serbian cuisine becoming a big melting pot of Byzantine, Slavic, Mediterranean, Ottoman, and Central Asian cuisines. Most Serbian recipes are archaic, trace their origins hundreds of years ago, and are a very important part of the country’s rich cultural heritage. In this post, we’ll sum up some of the most delicious Serbian dishes and drinks you should try when visiting Serbia.

But first things first…

Overview Of Serbian Food

Serbian food Serbian cuisine
by Petar Milošević CC by SA 4.0

Serbian food is characterized by a diverse, solid, and mildly-spicy food with a predominant use of meat, dough, dairy products, and vegetables. Meat is an irreplaceable part of Serbian cuisine and most dishes consist of meat but as you can see from this post, there are some options for vegetarians too.

The best place to try Serbian barbecue is the town of Leskovac in Southern Serbia that takes pride in its barbecue preparation methods that are famous across the Balkans. Serbia’s national fruit is plum which is the main ingredient of Serbia’s most famous alcoholic beverage, šlivovica (rakija made of plum), and a few popular local desserts. The tastiest wine, vinjak, and rakija are said to come from Timok Valley in eastern Serbia and the Šumadija-Great Morava region in central Serbia.

Many of the Serbian recipes shown in this post don’t have a foreign counterpart and can only be tasted in this part of the world. An interesting fact about the local diet is that traditionally, the average Serbian diet consisted of only lunch and dinner but in the last 2-3 centuries, breakfast has become a part of the diet of the average Serbian.

One last thing you should note is that most of the ingredients used for local dishes are organic which is why seasonal food is a very important element of Serbian cuisine and some dishes can only be found around a certain time of the year. Serbia is actually one of only a few countries to ban the production and import of GMO items, a legislative that’s the main reason for a long-running dispute between Serbia and the WTO (World Trade Organization).

Appetizers & Salads

Appetizers are an important part of Serbian cuisine. The list of Serbian appetizers consists of different types of cheese and other dairy products, salads, dips, and smoked sausages. Appetizers are usually served before lunch and sometimes, dinner. Here are the most popular Serbian appetizers. 

Pule Cheese

pule cheese

We’re starting off this list of authentic Serbian food with Pule- one of the world’s most expensive kinds of cheese. It originates from Zasavica Nature Reserve in central Serbia and is made by using donkey milk. The preparation of pule requires more than 25 liters of milk to produce 1 kilogram of cheese. Donkey milk is also low-fat which is why the final product (the cheese) contains only 1% milk fat and is said to have anti-allergenic properties. One kilogram of average-quality pule costs around 1,000 euros while the finest kinds of pule cost up to 5,000 euros per kg.

Srpska Salata

Serbian salad
by Marco Verch CC by SA 2.0

If you ever visited the Balkans, you know that every country has a salad they call “their own” (i.e. Macedonia has a Macedonian salad, Bulgaria has a Bulgarian salad, Greece has a Greek salad, etc.) but all of these salads are very similar to each other. The Serbian version is no exception. The salad consists of finely chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, and peppers drizzled with some oil and vinegar, and seasoned with salt and black pepper. It’s one of the most popular appetizers Serbians have before their meal, often alongside a glass of rakija. 

Šopska Salata

shopska salata
by-Popo-le-Chien-CC-by-SA-4.0

Šopska Salata is almost the same thing as Srpska Salata. The main difference is that this salad doesn’t include any peppers (only finely-chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions) and is topped with shredded white cheese (sirene) and topped with olives. Similar to Srpska Salata, Šopska is also frequently served alongside a glass of rakija.

Urnebes Salata

urnebes salad
by Petar Milošević CC by SA 3.0

The word ‘urnebes’ translates to chaos or disorder and that’s a somewhat suitable name having in mind the ingredients of this salad that can also be easily classified as a spread. The salad (or spread) is orange in color and consists of salty cheese, pavlaka (a local variation of sour cream), ground chili peppers, garlic, salt, red pepper powder, and (optionally) a few other spices too.

Pindjur

pindjur recipe macedonian food

PIndjur is a popular summer spread made by using different vegetables, including cow-horn peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and eggplants but combinations including other vegetables aren’t uncommon. The main ingredient for pindjur is cow-horn peppers, a fragrant and mildly-hot pepper that can be found in abundance in this part of the world. Pindjur is usually eaten with bread as a spread or is served alongside the main course meal as a side dish.

Ajvar

ajvar recipe
by Mila Atkovska CC by SA 4.0

Ajvar is another popular local spread made from roasted fresh bell peppers and eggplants. There are two variants of ajvar- a sweet and a spicy one. Traditionally, this spread was only eaten during winters because historically, vegetables were scarce during winters and locals would make 100s of jars every season to make up for the vitamins and nutrients of vegetables during the long winters. Today, that’s clearly not the case anymore but ajvar still remains an important part of Serbia’s winter cuisine.

Sremski Kulen

Sremski Kulen
by Frka CC by SA 3.0

Sremski Kulen is a type of spicy sausage that originates from the region of Srem. The sausage is made of pork, red hot paprika powder, and salt. The ingredients are stuffed into pork casings and are smoked for at least a few months before consumption. The sausage is then sliced into very thin pieces and has a smoky and pleasant aroma and a hot flavor. It’s usually served alongside cheese and other appetizers before the main course is served.

Pirotska Peglana Kobasica

Pirotska Peglana Kobasica
Source

Pirotska Peglana Kobasica is an ironed sausage that originates from the town of Pirot in southeastern Serbia. This sausage is made with different kinds of meat, including mutton, beef, sheep, and even donkey meat. Often, the preparation includes several different types of meat that are mixed together but the ratio of different types of meat isn’t strictly defined.

The sausage is flavored with garlic, crushed chili peppers, and a handful of local spices. The end result is a sausage that has an unusual shape and looks like it was ironed with a clothes iron. Usually, the sausage is sliced into thin pieces before serving and commonly appears on meze platters alongside olives, salads, cheese, sour cream, and other dairy products.

Čvarci 

cvarci slavic food

Čvarci is a bit difficult to describe to a foreigner. In its essence, this snack consists of pork fat crisps. The preparation involves melting the lard, cutting it into blocks, and slowly frying the pieces in their own fat. Čvarci is usually served alongside other hot appetizers and is one of the favorite local snacks. They are mostly homemade (many families have their own recipe that has been passed on from generation to generation) and 100% organic. 

Kajmak

kaymak recipe

Kaymak is a creamy dairy product with a thick texture and rich flavor. Technically, it isn’t an appetizer, it’s more of a side dish and is often served alongside some delicious barbecue but you can also serve it alongside some other appetizers on a meze platter. Kaymak contains around 60% of milk fat which also makes it a great choice for a heavy breakfast because its consumption will keep you full for a longer period of time.

Breads & Pastries

Breads are a very important part of not only Serbian food but also local culture. For most Serbians, it’s difficult to imagine a table without bread. Bread is always served on the side with pretty much any Serbian dish, as strange as that might appear. 

Česnica

Česnica
by Laslovarga CC by SA 3.0

Česnica is a round loaf of bread that’s an indispensable part of Christmas dinner in Serbian tradition. The preparation of this bread is often accompanied by various rules and rituals. For example, on Christmas Eve, the bread is baked with a coin inside the dough. At the dinner table, the oldest family member slices one piece for every member of the family, and whoever gets the coin is said to have a prosperous year ahead (mind you, the Orthodox Christmas Eve is on January 6th). In addition to Christmas, Česnica is also served for other festivities, celebrations, and important events.

Pogača

pogacha
by biso CC by SA 4.0

Pogača is another delicious bread that’s prepared for big events and important gatherings. This bread is made by baking it in the ashes of a fireplace, and later on in the oven, similar to Italian focaccia. It’s usually served plain but in some bakeries, you might find varieties of pogača stuffed with potatoes, olives, white cheese, or even ground beef. Sesame seeds, grains, and other herbs are often used to give the bread a more appealing appearance before serving.

Burek

burek
by MOs810 CC by SA 4.0

For many people from the Balkans, burek is the greatest pastry in the world and Serbia is no exception. Even though Turkish in origin, Serbians love their burek and the burek you’ll get in Serbia is just as good as the original Turkish version if not even better. Burek is one of the most common breakfast choices for Serbians, especially for working people who are looking for a quick bite on the go. You can get burek in most Serbian bakeries or burekdzilnice (specialized burek shops).

Gibanica

gibanica macedonian food
by cyrus Roepers CC by SA 3.0

Gibanica is a delicious Serbian cheese filo dough pie that’s also popular in neighboring countries too. This pastry is usually eaten for breakfast or as a snack in between meals. Traditionally, gibanica is served alongside a glass of cold yogurt. Similar to burek, gibanica can be found in most Serbian bakeries but of course, the best kind of gibanica is the homemade one.

Proja

varieties proja

The best way to describe proja is as the Balkan version of cornbread. This flatbread consists of cornmeal, wheat flour, eggs, and sparkling water that aerates the filling. It’s most often stuffed with cheese and cut into cubes before serving. Proja is usually eaten for breakfast or as a snack. Similar to gibanica (and most other Serbian pastries), proja is usually served alongside a glass of yogurt or ayran.

Pita Sa Zelje

Pita sa zelje
by Milica Buha CC by SA 4.0

Pita sa zelje is a traditional Serbian filo pie that uses scallion, spinach, or cabbage as filling (sometimes, cheese is added to the filling too). It’s very similar to Macedonian zelnik and burek. Due to its lengthy preparation, you won’t find this pie in many bakeries but if you ever get the chance to try this at a Serbian home, you’ll definitely fall in love with it. Similar to česnica and pogača, this pie is also reserved for special occasions.

Vegetarian Dishes

Granted, it’s not very easy to be a vegetarian in Serbia but there are still some delicious vegetarian dishes. In addition to the main course dishes you’ll find in this section, also note that most breads, pastries, and sweets are also vegan.

Prebranac

prebranac
Petar Milošević CC by SA 4.0

Prebranac is a dish made of baked beans, very similar to Macedonian tavce gravce. The dish is very simple and consists of only beans and other vegetables. White beans do require a lot of time to cook which is why the preparation of prebranac can take up to 3-4 hours. Many people eat prebranac alongside bacon or a grilled sausage but that’s always served on the side. Therefore, if you’re a vegetarian, this is one of the tastiest dishes you’ll find in Serbia.  

Punjene Paprike

punjene paprike

As its name suggests, punjene paprike (stuffed peppers) is a dish that consists of peppers stuffed with rice. There’s also a non-vegetarian version in which the rice is cooked alongside ground beef or pork but the vegetarian version is very tasty too. The dish is cooked in a pot, the best peppers for punjene paprike are bell peppers and the second most important ingredient is paprika powder.

Sataraš

Sataras Serbian dishes
by Petar Milošević CC by SA 4.0

Sataraš is a delicious vegetable stew that consists of bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and condiments. This dish is very popular in the northern part of Vojvodina, close to the Hungarian border, and has likely been inspired by the Hungarian dish lecso. Sataraš is sometimes served as a warm appetizer but when served alongside bread/rice and potatoes, it can be consumed as a main course meal as well.  

Slatki Kupus

slatki kupus

Serbia has an abundance of cabbage and its price is affordable to everyone which is why cabbage is used in many dishes. In some like slatki kupus, it’s even the main ingredient. Slatki kupus is basically a stew made of cabbage and a mix of local herbs and spices. Some people cook slatki kupus with pork or beef (a variation similar to Polish bigos) but in its essence, this is a vegetarian dish.

Čorba Od Zelja

Čorba Od Zelja

As its name suggests, čorba od zelja is a stew made of green vegetables. The main ingredients vary depending on the region but this stew is usually made with spinach, scallion, garlic, spinach, as well as a lot of local herbs and spices. The stew is usually served with bread (many people break the bread pieces in the stew) and sometimes topped with a sunny-side egg. It’s one of the healthiest winter meals you can find in Serbia.

Sarma

sarma recipe

When we talk about Serbian food, we just have to mention sarma. Sarma is basically a pickled cabbage leaf stuffed with tasty rice cooked in local herbs and spices. Needless to say, sarma also has a non-vegetarian version in which the rice is cooked together with ground pork/beef that’s preferred by most but vegetarian sarma is equally delicious in my opinion. Sarma is one of the favorite local dishes and Serbian love for sarma goes so far that many people consider a woman who knows how to wrap sarma an instant wife material.

Fish-Based Dishes

Serbian food does have a shortage of fish recipes but that should come as no surprise having in mind that this is a landlocked country and there aren’t many fish dishes you’ll find here that are unique to Serbia. Here, we’ll only list a couple but also note that there are some other delicious fried/grilled fish dishes that are available but it would be hard to call these recipes Serbian because they are available in most parts of the world.

Riblja Čorba

riblja corba
by Miomir Magdevski CC by SA 4.0

Riblja čorba (fish stew) is one of the most popular stews in Serbia. The stew is usually prepared by using fish boiled in a mix of onion, garlic, hot chili peppers, as well as some local herbs and spices. This stew resembles Croatian brudet with the main difference being that the fish used for preparing Riblja čorba is strictly freshwater fish while brudet uses sea-fish and other seafood items. Riblja čorba is traditionally served alongside a basket of bread even though some people like eating it like a soup on its own for breakfast.

Fiš Paprikaš

Fiš Paprikaš
by Wikiuser100 CC by SA 4.0

Fiš Paprikaš is another spicy fish stew usually prepared with catfish, pike, or starlet. The stew is infused with fresh ground paprika that gives the dish its hot flavor. Fiš Paprikaš is also popular in Croatia, especially in the Slavonia region that borders Serbia. Similar to most other dishes, fiš paprika is served alongside a basket of freshly-baked bread or in some instances, with boiled rice.

Non-Vegetarian Main Course Dishes

This is the part of Serbian food that’s favorite to most locals and tourists alike. Serbia has a lot of meat-based dishes which is why, for easier classification, we have divided the non-vegetarian main courses into two subcategories- stews and barbecue.

Djuveč

guvec
by e4024 CC by SA 4.0

Djuveč is a delicious stew made of beef and other vegetables, like tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, olives, herbs, and spices. The dish can also be made in a dry, casserole-style version and is inspired by Ottoman cuisine. The Serbian version is slightly different than the Turkish one but is still very similar. Traditionally, djuvec is eaten with freshly-baked bread.

Anything Cooked Pod Sač

ispod saca balkan food

Pod Sač is a crucial part of Serbian food even though the name refers more to a large ceramic lid used for cooking meat than it does to a specific dish. Sač is a large ceramic lid that’s used for slowly cooking meat under open fire. Whichever meat you decide to use, the end result is magnificent because this technique (that’s only done in the Balkans) gives the meat a very nice smoky aroma and flavor that will make you salivate before you even taste your meal.

Svadbarski Kupus

svadbarski kupus

Svadbarski kupus is a celebratory dish that’s often served for weddings, hence its name that translates to ‘wedding cabbage’. The dish consists of cabbage and baked meat slowly cooked together for hours. Even though traditionally, it’s strictly a celebratory dish, today you can find svadbarski kupus in most established Serbian restaurants.

Škembici

shkembe chorba

The non-vegetarian part of Serbian food has a few dishes that you’ll either love or hate and I Škembici is one of them. Škembici is a tripe stew very similar to Macedonian shkembe chorba and Czech tripe soup. The stew consists of a tripe boiled with vegetables and herbs. The preparation is lengthy and messy which is why it’s not a stew you can find everywhere but if you’re open-minded enough to try it, I’m sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Teleča Čorba

Teleča Čorba
by e4024 CC by SA 4.0

Teleča čorba is a veal stew that requires a few hours of slow cooking. The preparation takes a few hours, the stew is traditionally served with a basket of freshly-baked bread and a glass of wine. It can be eaten as a main dish alongside a few side dishes, on its own in-between meals, and some people even eat it for breakfast. 

Leskovačka Kavurma

Leskovačka Kavurma Serbian cuisine
E4024 CC by SA 4.0

As its name suggests, this is one of the many delicious dishes that originate from the city of Leskovac which is a barbecue haven. Leskovačka Kavurma consists of slowly-fried pork rinds that are supposed to be cooked long enough for the fat to be completely extracted. This dish often includes other finely-chopped pork offal, such as liver, intestines, and lungs that are added to the mix. Once all ingredients are almost melted and perfectly combined, the mixture is drained before serving.

Pihtije

pihtije Serbian cuisine
by VI CC by SA 4.0

A few paragraphs above I mentioned that Serbian food has some slightly bizarre dishes that you will either love or hate. Pihtije is another example of this. The dish consists of pork scraps (i.e. head, hock, or shank) and has traditionally been reserved for the poorer parts of the population. Pihtije is prepared by cooking the pork parts with pepper, onion, carrots, and bay leaves until the meat is tender enough to fall off the bone. After this, the meat is placed into bowls and cooled down until it’s ready to congeal.

Once done, pihtije is sliced into cubes and served either as an appetizer or a side dish.

Rinflajš

rinflajs Serbian food

Rinflajš is a traditional Serbian meal from the Vojvodina region that can best be described as the Serbian version of pot roast. The name derives from the German word Rindfleisch, meaning beef which is the main ingredient for this dish. The beef is slowly simmered in a broth with carrots, peppers, and cauliflower and served alongside boiled (or mashed) potatoes covered in tomato sauce. This meal is usually reserved for Sunday lunches.

Barbecue

For most locals, barbecue is an irreplaceable part of Serbian food. If you’re a carnivore foodie, it’s safe to assume that in Serbia, you’ll feel like you’re in heaven. Here are some of the most popular barbecue dishes you can find in Serbia.

Leskovački Roštilj

Leskovački Roštilj

As a meat lover, Leskovački roštilj is one of the best things you can ever try. Leskovački roštilj consists of a mix of different barbecued meats served on one big platter. The meat is marinated and seasoned before cooking and afterward, it’s prepared by grilling it over an open flame. The platter includes ćevapčići (kebab), pljeskavica (burger patty), kobasice (sausages), ražnjići (skewered meat), vešalica (pork loin), ribs, etc.

Note: you can get this platter in any city in Serbia, not just Leskovac but if you get the chance, do try this dish in Leskovac. After all, they don’t call Leskovac Serbia’s barbecue capital for nothing.

Ćevapi

cevapi
by Misalalic CC by SA 4.0

Ćevapi is the Serbian version of kebab. In Serbia, čevapi are usually made of ground pork or chicken. The meat is marinated with finely-diced onion, salt, and pepper before cooking. The čevapi are always barbecued over an open flame and one portion usually contains 10 kebabs. The portion often includes warm, crunchy bread, finely chopped onion cubes in the same place, and a side of French fries.

Karađorđeva Šnicla

Karađorđeva Šnicla
by Milica Buha CC by SA 4.0

When it comes to the most impressive inventions of Serbian food, we just have to mention Karađorđeva šnicla. At a glance, it looks like a sausage but it’s a lot more than that and it’s a lot more difficult to prepare. Karađorđeva šnicla consists of either pork or beef meat filled with kaymak that’s deep-fried with a coat of flour, rolled in beaten eggs, rolled in bread crumbs, and fried again. The preparation isn’t easy but the taste is magnificent. Usually, Karađorđeva šnicla is served together with tartar sauce and French fries on the side. 

This dish is also jokingly referred to as ‘Devojački san’, meaning a “girl’s dream”, a pun related to this dish’s shape and size (if you know what I mean).

Pljeksavica

Pljeksavica
by BIHVolim CC by SA 4.0

You might think that a grilled paddy belongs inside a burger and not on a plate but there are a few people in Serbia that might disagree. Pljeskavica is a barbecue dish that looks a lot like a burger patty but it’s a lot more flavorful and quite bigger. Often, this dish is stuffed with cheese and is traditionally served with some bread, kaymak, French fries, and a light salad on the side.  

Kobasice (Serbian Sausages)

kobasice serbian food

Sausages are an irreplaceable part of Serbian food and if we want to cover all of the different types of sausages you can find in Serbia, we’d need to write a new article only for that. Some of the most popular Serbian sausages include the Sremska kobasica (not to be confused with Sremski Kulen mentioned above), krvavica (blood sausage), Svargla (head cheese sausage), etc. Most sausages are served with crunchy bread and a pint of cold beer.

Pečenje

Pečenje Serbian food
by Micki CC by SA 4.0

Pečenje is not a dish but a term that marks a dish that consists of slow roasted meat. There are a few different types of pečenje, depending on the type of meat being used. Most commonly, pečenje consists of lamb meat, but goat and pork are not uncommon either. At weddings, celebrations, and other occasions, you can even see an entire roasted pig and this is also considered pečenje. Traditionally, pečenje is served with boiled/roasted potatoes and a salad as a side dish.

Vešalica

Vešalica Serbian cuisine
by Gurman Chef cc by SA 4.0

Vešalica is another Serbian barbecue delicacy. The best way to describe this dish is as grilled strips of pork loin. Usually, this dish is served with freshly-baked bread, French fries, and kaymak. There are also a few different types of vešalica in different parts of Serbia with the most popular variation being the rolovana vešalica that consists of a regular vešalica wrapped in bacon and stuffed with melted cheese. 

Mućkalica

Mućkalica Serbian dishes
by Schnobby CC by SA 4.0

Technically, mućkalica doesn’t fit the description of a barbecue dish but it’s included in this sub-category because it’s usually prepared by leftover barbecue. You can probably understand the concept of this dish from its name that derives from the verb mućka which means to shake or mix something together. The leftover grilled meat is boiled together with a bunch of other vegetables and it’s a great way to turn your leftovers into a healthy and hearty meal for the next day.

Desserts

When Serbian food is the topic, we can’t complete this post without mentioning at least a few desserts. Serbian desserts are quite unique and you probably haven’t seen anything similar (unless you visited one of the other Balkan countries). Serbian desserts consist mostly of fruits, heavy sweets, sweet pastries, cakes, and local versions of Turkish desserts (as we mentioned in the beginning, Ottoman cuisine has influenced Serbian food greatly throughout the years).

Knedle

knedle dessert
by Mnlalic CC by SA 4.0

Knedle is a popular Serbian dessert that consists of sweet dumplings made from mashed potato dough stuffed with pieces of plum. At least that’s the traditional version. Today, you can also find some modern variations in which plums are substituted with Oreos or Nutella. You can find knedle in most sweet/pastry shops in Belgrade.

Slatko

fig preserve balkan desserts

The word ‘slatko’ is used to describe different kinds of fruit preserves. Slatko can be made of many different fruits, such as figs, cherries, strawberries, etc. In the past, people had limited access to fruits and vegetables during winters, and preserving fruits was a great way to have access to fruit nutrients during the long winters. Traditionally, when a guest comes to one’s house for the first time, they’re always welcomed with slatko and a glass of water.

Uštipci

Uštipci sweet

The best way to describe uštipci is as a Serbian version of a doughnut. These fluffy, fried doughnut balls are absolutely delicious even if you don’t use any topping and just eat them on their own. But if that’s not enough, don’t worry, uštipci are usually topped with some icing sugar and fruit jam. 

Vanilice

vanilice recipe christmas

Vanilice are tasty, crunchy, crescent-shaped vanilla cookies stuffed with ground walnuts and sometimes, apricot jam. These cookies originate from Serbia but are equally popular in Macedonia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Hezergovina. Traditionally, vanilice was prepared for the Christmas holidays but today, you can get your hands on some tasty vanilice throughout the year.

Palaćinke

palacinke

In Serbian food, you’ll come across some dishes that despite having the same name as some foreign dish looks different. Palaćinke is an example of that. The name of this dessert translates to ‘pancakes’ but its shape looks quite different than the standard, American pancake and is something like a mix of Norwegian potato lefse and Russian syrniki. Serbian (or shall I say Balkan) pancakes are a lot thinner and usually come with a filling, most often chocolate cream or jam, as well as sliced banana and crushed walnuts/chestnuts/hazelnuts.

Baklava

turkish desserts baklava

Baklava is one dessert that requires no introduction. It’s one of the most popular Turkish desserts that’s also widely available in the Middle East, Central Asia, and eastern Europe as well. Serbian baklava is slightly different than the Turkish original but it’s just as tasty. You can find baklava in most Serbian sweet shops but personally, I prefer the homemade one.

Vasina Torta

vasina torta
by Sadko CC by SA 4.0

This list of the best Serbian food wouldn’t be complete without Vasina Torta (Vasa’s cake), an absolute classic of Serbian cuisine. This cake consists of a walnut sponge base, a creamy filling that features chocolate and oranges, and two toppings- šaum (a mix of egg whites, water, and sugar) and more chocolate. The cake’s origins date back to the beginning of the 20th century when it was prepared for the first time for Vasa Čokrljan by his mother-in-law.

At the time, oranges were very difficult to find in Serbia which made the cake even more precious and valuable. Today, oranges are widely available but Vasa’s cake is still one of the most precious and valuable items of Serbian cuisine.

Local Drinks

Lastly, let’s not forget about local drinks. If you like alcoholic beverages, Serbia has a few hidden gems for you. Alcoholic beverages are a lot more popular than non-alcoholic ones and Serbia has a heavy drinking culture. Some of the most popular drinks include rakija and vinjak (fruit-based brandies) but there are also some fine wines and beers that are worth trying.

Rakija

rakija Serbian drinks
by Wikiarius CC by SA 3.0

I know this article is supposed to be about Serbian food but rakija is also a very important part of the ultimate Serbian gastronomic experience. Many of the dishes we mentioned in this article are served alongside or preceded by rakija for, as Serbians say, good digestion. Rakija is a fruit brandy with 40%-50% of alcohol content by volume and is considered to be Serbia’s national drink.

Rakija can be made of different fruits, including plums, grapes, cherries, (basically any fruit you can think of), etc. It’s frequently served with appetizers and before the main course meal but some people like having it after the meal. You’ll even see some people that begin their day with rakija; that’s not out of the ordinary too.

Vinjak

vinjak serbian drinks
by-Jovan-Vuković-CC-by-SA-4.0

Vinjak is another Serbian hard liquor drink with light-brown color. The spirit is produced by wine distillation, therefore the name vinjak which is a portmanteau of the words vino (wine) and cognac. The drink is mainly produced by the Serbian company Rubin but there are a lot of enthusiasts who make their own vinjak, especially in the rural areas.

Pelinkovac

pelinkovac
by Didriks CC by SA 2.0

Pelinkovac is a bitter liqueur made of wormwood. It has a bitter-sweet taste similar to Jagermeister and contains around 30% of alcohol content by volume. Pelinkovac actually originates from neighboring Croatia but it’s also quite popular in Serbia too, especially around the border regions.

Medovaća

medovaca Serbian drinks
Edsel-Little-CC-by-SA-2.0

Medovaća is another type of Serbian brandy that’s made by mixing 7 kg of propolis, 1 kg of honey, and 4 liters of rakija. The final result is a brandy with golden-yellow color and a sweet aftertaste of honey which is where the name medovaća comes from (med means honey). Many people say that medovaća has healing properties and is great for immunity. It also happens to go great with some of the desserts mentioned in this list.

Kvass

kvass serbian food
by Mricon CC by SA 3.0

Kvass is a Serbian non-alcoholic beverage made from black bread and sometimes flavored with fruits such as strawberries or raisins, or with herbs such as mint. Kvass usually has a light-dark color and a sweet-sour taste. Some variations of kvass also contain a small quantity of alcohol but not more than 1-2% of alcohol content by volume. In addition to Serbia, this drink is also popular in Poland, Hungary, the Baltic countries, as well as some Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Šumadija Tea

sumadiski caj

I guess you were starting to think that we won’t mention any non-alcoholic drinks on this list of the best Serbian food. The reason for this is that most Serbians prefer alcoholic beverages to non-alcoholic ones but it’s safe to assume that Šumadija tea is one of the most popular non-alcoholic beverages in the country. This strong hot tea is made of forest fruits from the Šumadija region and is excellent for pairing up with desserts, sweets, and even some Serbian snacks.

Yogurt

yogurt
by Drsisenthil CC by SA 3.0

Last but not least, we round up this list of the best Serbian food with yogurt. Yogurt in Serbia isn’t sweet, it’s a fermented dairy product with salty flavor but it’s surprisingly refreshing. Yogurt is very popular in most Balkan countries and is often paired up with some popular breakfast pastries.

How did you like this post about the best Serbian food? Did it help you learn a bit about Serbian cuisine? Do you think there are some other Serbian dishes we should mention in the article? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

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