Serbian Cuisine – Learn About Food in Serbia

Serbian Cuisine – History and Facts

 

Serbia is a small country in the central Balkans. However, the significance of this country has been vast throughout the centuries. Serbia has always been on the crossroads of the East and the West, occupied by Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, thus its heritage consists of elements of both cultures .

Serbian-Cuisine-Food

The same is with Serbian cuisine. Being situated in the Balkans, Serbian cuisine is very similar to the cuisine of the rest of the Balkan countries. Travelers who come to Serbia instantly fall in love with the food. They also like the fact that portions are big and very reasonably priced!

Serbian people love food, all kinds and shapes of it. If you come to Serbia and decide to try some local dish in a local restaurant, you won’t be disappointed – Serbs serve big portions for both themselves and guests. They are very hospitable and it is very likely that you will enjoy your stay and food.

Serbian Cuisine Menu

 

Serbian cuisine is wide known for abundance of meat, variety of cheese, pastries and various vegetable dishes, both fresh and cooked.

Appetizers in restaurants include Meze (smoked meat, sausages, čvarci (pork rinds), pečenica, prosciutto cheese, etc.) and pastry, followed by various kinds of soups (chicken, beef, vegetables).

Generally, Serbs are all about meat, so barbecue is main course in most of the restaurants across the country. It is served with fried potatoes, vegetables and salads. Serbia is also rich in rivers, so fish is another important thing you will find on their menu. Choice of fish is wide and definitely shouldn’t be skipped. There are also both tasty and healthy fish soup. Pickled foods are very popular in Serbia, and more importantly, they are homemade. Serbs also enjoy drinking alcoholic drinks, which go well with their heavy dishes.

Breakfast

Serbs usually wake up early, have a cup of coffee (sometimes tea) and enjoy a heavy and tasty breakfast before starting their working day.

The most common breakfast in Serbia looks like this: Kajgana (scrambled eggs), bread, smoked meat/ sausage or bacon, yogurt (Serbian type of yogurt), kajmak (type of cheese)

When women have time, they often make various kinds of pastries for breakfast – pita (with cheese, potatoes, minced meat, mushrooms, etc.), burek (with cheese or minced meat), and all of that is served with yogurt. The taste of hot, fresh and homemade pita is unforgettable.

Serbian breakfast can also be sweet and a bit lighter. It consists of, for example, bread with butter and jam or honey that goes with a glass of milk, or sweet pastry.

Serbian-Cuisine-Food-Recipe

Lunch

Lunch is normally eaten after work; families come home and gather around the table. Sometimes it seems like no lunch in Serbia goes without meat. Lunch usually starts with soup and finishes with meat and vegetables. But sometimes, they simply have cooked vegetables for lunch, like beans, which is one of the favorite dishes among Serbs, green beans, peas, that go with salad made of pickled or fresh vegetables, depending on the time of the year. But steaks and sausages can also be found in these cooked dishes. If you are invited for more special lunch, the main course will probably be barbecue – variety of meat including pljeskavica, ćevapi, sausages, chicken fillets, etc. It all seems simple and nothing special, but the taste of it is like nothing you’ve tried before. It tastes like real meat.

Snacks

Snacks are not very popular in Serbia. You have so much for lunch that you practically don’t need any snacks. They often include something sweet, fruits, nuts, or some pastry.

Dinner

Dinner in Serbia is the least important meal of the day, sometimes they even skip it. It resembles breakfast, but portions are smaller. Serbs often eat eggs for dinner, sandwiches, or pastry. One of the most famous Serbian (and Balkan) homemade pastries is Proja (cornbread), which is often served for both breakfast and dinner. They also adore pancakes for dinner with homemade jam, walnuts and honey or simply with sugar. Whatever the meal and time of the day is, Serbs know how to enjoy their meals and food.

Desserts

Most of the Serbian desserts are of Turkish or Hungarian origin, but the origin isn’t so important after all, what matters is the taste, and Serbian sweets are as tasty as their other dishes. There is Vasa’s Torte, a cake rich in chocolate and nuts, Slatko (fruits in jelly), which is usually served to guests or in the morning with coffee, Bundevara (pumpkin pie) and other sweet pies, baklava (Turkish pastry with chopped nuts and sweetened syrup), Palačinke (type of pancakes), etc.

Drinks

Alcohol is very popular in the Balkans, and Serbia is no exception. Serbia is famous for its national drink called Slivovitz (Šljivovica – type of plum rakija (brandy). Rakija can be made of various fruits – apricots, grape, pears, etc. and is made after the fruit used. Rakija is equivalent to Western whiskey.

Another popular alcoholic drink is beer. They drink beer everywhere and at any time. They mostly drink beer produced in Serbian breweries, which is cheaper, and doesn’t taste bad.

Serbia has very good grape and various sorts of high-quality wine, but Serbs simply don’t have the habit of drinking wine every day. And maybe it’s because of the price too.

When it comes to non-alcoholic drinks, the most popular drink is kafa (coffee), which is prepared without milk and sugar and has a very strong taste. The quality of fruit in Serbia is very high, so there are many tasty juices to try.

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Holiday Menus:

 

Christmas

Christmas in Serbia is one of the two most important holidays. It is the time of the year when every Serbian family is gathered and enjoys. As Serbs eat a lot throughout the whole year, you can imagine their holiday menu. Typical
Serbian Christmas table looks like this:
Candle
Wine
Žito (wheat)
Česnica (type of bread with a coin it)
Soup
Meze
Pork roast
and many side dishes, salads, etc.

Easter

Easter is the  most important holiday. It is also considered the happiest holiday. Easter menu is very similar to Christmas menu, only there are died eggs on the table  along with mandatory lamb.

Most popular dishes in Serbia:

 

Sarma (sauerkraut stuffed with minced meat, or even walnuts and rice)
Roštilj (barbeque)
Proja (cornbread)
Various kinds of pies – with gibanica being the speciality
Cooked and baked beans
Pečenje (roasted meat – pork, lamb)
Bečka šnicla (Schnitzel) – meat coated in bread crumbs and fried
Punjena paprika (stuffed peppers)
Burek (baked phyllo with minced meat, cheese or mushrooms)
Ajvar (bread spread made of bell peppers, garlic, chili pepper and eggplant). it can also be served as salad)
Palačinke (crepe -like type of pancakes)

Most used ingredients

Most used ingredients in Serbian dishes are meat, onion, paprika, red pepper, pepper, salt, flour, oil, parsley, celery, milk, bread crumbs, cheese…

Serbs really do enjoy eating meat and fish is somewhat underrated in Serbia, even though it is a country rich in rivers. But if you ask an average Serb to choose between fish and meat, he would probably choose meat. Fish in Serbia is more expensive than meat and they eat it mostly at special occasions.

Everything in Serbia tastes so great, especially fruits and vegetables. It’s because of the climate and fertile land.
Vegetables that are used in everyday cuisine are beans, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, carrot, celery, cabbage
Serbia is famous for its apples too. There are many kinds of apples and other fruits that are exported. But every fruit in Serbia is yummy. So, the first fruit on the list of every Serb are apples, plums, pears, sour cherries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries

Traveling Foodie – What to eat when you travel to Serbia

 

As mentioned above, roštilj (barbecue) shouldn’t be skipped, smoked meat, cheese and all dairy products, pastries (burek, proja, pies) and, of course, sweets.

Serbian-Cuisine-Food-Recipes

Street food

Street food is very popular in Serbia. Streets of Belgrade, capital of Serbia, are rich in bakeries, places to try pljeskavica (and other barbecue), and places that serve international food (Chinese, Thai, Greek and Turkish). Whatever you decide to try in Serbia, you won’t be disappointed, since you will get amazing quality at a price lower than almost anywhere in Europe.

Restaurant food

There are many types of restaurants in Serbia that serve both international and Serbian food, but it’s best to go for a smaller typical Serbian restaurant somewhere in the heart of Old Town of Belgrade, or south of Serbia if you are not limited to Belgrade only. Maybe Zlatibor (mountain resort). There you can get the best of Serbian cuisine.

 

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Are you from Serbia? Maybe you visited there? Please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts on Serbian ethnic food.

 

Milica Konstantinov

Ukrainian Cuisine Facts and History

Ukraine has always been an agricultural country, so since the early days people have been cultivating crops, growing vegetables and herding pigs, sheep and cattle.

The transitions between different types of agricultural activities were always celebrated with some special events, dishes, and traditional dances. Most of these seasonal festivities later transformed or became a part of Christian holidays, like Easter and Christmas. Ukraine has been influenced by many countries throughout the years, including Russia, Poland, and Austria. All this has affected its culture, architecture and cuisine.

 

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Ukrainian Cuisine Menu

So what’s on Ukrainian menu today?

Breakfast

Ukrainian cuisine tends to be a little heavy, but as in most European countries breakfasts in Ukraine are nutritious, yet light. It is common for Ukrainians to eat fried eggs for breakfast, accompanied by fresh bread and a cup of tea or coffee. Pancakes (sweet or non-sweet) are another treat that is both delicious and filling. They can come with different toppings (like honey) and fillings (like cottage cheese). Kasha (porridge) is also among all-time favorites for breakfast.

Lunch

They eat “lunch” around noon and it is usually the biggest meal of the day that consists of some kind of soup and a second meal, often accompanied by dessert. Ukrainian soups are quite delicious. Borsch is one of the most iconic Ukrainian soups and is prepared with a broth made of potatoes, spinach, carrots, beet and meat. Another variation of this soup is the green borsch. It is based on vegetables and sorrel and is always served with chopped onion, boiled eggs and sour cream. Another dinner dish is varenyky. These stuffed dumplings come in different varieties and can be either sweet or non-sweet. Sweet ones can be with cherries, blueberries, cottage cheese, and non-sweet ones can be filled with potatoes and mushrooms, meat, cabbage, liver and even fish.

Dinner

 

Ukrainian dinners are also nutritious and very filling. It is not uncommon for Ukrainians to eat holubtsi for dinner. These are prepared with cabbage leaves that have all kinds of fillings inside. They can be wrapped around meat or rice and mushrooms. Holubtsi are then stewed for a long period of time and are served with sour cream. Deruny are also great for dinner. These are potato pancakes made with grated and fried potato. They can be cooked with mushrooms, meat or both.

Desserts

 

As far as desserts go, Ukrainian cuisine is also quite versatile. Many of them are based on cottage cheese like the delicious syrnyky. These quark fritters are often made with raisins and are served with honey and sour cream. There’s an abundance of yummy cakes in the Ukrainian cuisine. Medovik, a classic honey cake, is one of the traditional cakes that are loved by all generations of people. It’s made with several layers and incorporates the use of honey and sweet cream. Ukrainians also like to cook thin pancakes (mlyncy) that can be wrapped around different fillings, and thick ones (oladki) that can be prepared with apples or bananas and are served with honey and sour cream. Apples with nuts and honey baked in pastry are another treat that is both unique and yummy. It has a natural taste and amazing fragrance.

 

Drinks

 

Ukrainian drinks are versatile and comprise both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages. Kvas is a drink that is ideal for summer. It’s a sparkly bubbly beverage that’s brewed from dried rye bread, sugar and yeast. Fermented milk called kefir is similar to yoghurt, and pryazhene moloko is baked milk. It’s common for Ukrainians to drink mineral water of local brands and kompot – a semi-sweet drink that is made with brewed dried or fresh berries and fruits. As for alcoholic beverages, Ukrainians like to drink wine and have their own brands as well as imported ones. Mead is made with water, honey and yeast with addition of herbs. Its taste varies depending on what kind of honey was used to create the drink. Homemade wine made with various berries is called nalyvka. Horilka (similar to moonshine) is one of the stronger drinks and is usually preferred by men.

Holiday Menus

 

Ukrainians celebrate Christmas on the 7th of January and feast upon a traditional 12-course dinner. The Christmas Eve is called Sviaty Vechir and all the dishes are prepared without any meat. The dishes vary from family to family, but there are some that must be on the table no matter what. These include: kutya (a special type of porridge prepared with wheat and poppy seeds), uzvar (a drink made with boiled dried fruit), holubtsi (cabbage rolls with different stuffing), borsch (a warm and hearty soup made with veggies), fried or baked fish, nalysnyky (a type of cheese crepes), varenyky (dumplings with non-meat fillings like cabbage or cottage cheese), pickled foods (usually home-made, like pickled mushrooms or herring), and breads (like pompushki or kolach). It’s usually not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages, but not everyone abides to this rule.

Ukrainian-Cuisine-Food-Recipe
Easter is one of the biggest festivities and is celebrated all over the country. One of the main dishes that is prepared on this day is Paska. It’s a special Easter bread that’s common for Ukraine, Poland and a lot of other Slavic countries. All families have their own Paska recipes and most of the people bake Paska themselves. This yeast bread is sweet, and is prepared with eggs, raisins, lemon juice, zest, butter and other ingredients. The top is usually decorated with sprinkles and icing. Ukrainian Poppy Seed Roll (Makovyi Knysh) is another sweet delicacy that can be prepared for Easter. Pancakes, various salads and drinks are prepared on this day.

Most Popular Dishes

 

Apart from the foods we’ve already mentioned, Ukrainians enjoy eating zrazy (stuffed potato pancakes), pirogi (dumplings baked in an oven with different fillings), mashed potatoes accompanied with eggs or meat dishes, and of course the famous Chicken Kiev, which, to be honest, is more popular among foreigners that come to Ukraine than among Ukrainians themselves.

Most Used Ingredients

 

Ukrainian cuisine incorporates a wide range of foods. As the land is very fertile, there are a lot of products that are grown locally. These are all kinds of vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes, onion, garlic; fruits like apples, apricots, melons and watermelons; all kinds of berries, mushrooms, fish as well as nuts and different kinds of greens (spinach, parsley, etc.). Spices are used moderately; black pepper is the most common one.

Traveling Foodie – What to eat when you travel to Ukraine

Street food is abundant in Ukraine and can be found anywhere. There’s a chain of croissants that makes them really well with all kinds of fillings and toppings, both sweet and non-sweet. You can also find foods from all over the world – there’s falafel and humus, fried rolled cheese, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fries, pancakes and all kinds of beverages. Some are fancy like a non-alcoholic mojito and smoothies made with berries, others are simple local drinks like kvas. Coffee is available everywhere.

Ukrainian Food Cuisine Recipe
Restaurant food is represented by cuisines from all over the world. In Kiev, the capitol of Ukraine, and other big cities of Ukraine you will find a wide array of restaurants that serve Georgian, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, American and other cuisines. There are places that specialize on burgers and restaurants that are purely vegan or use only organic foods. There are also spots where you can enjoy rare wines, and cafes with amazing coffee-based drinks and desserts.

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Are you from Ukraine? Maybe you visited there? Please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts on Ukraine ethnic food.

Ivanna M.

Polish Cuisine History Facts & Dishes

The Polish cuisine is highly diversified and has many similarities to the other Slavic cuisines like Ukrainian, Slovak or Russian. Polish people love meat, so typical polish dishes are usually pretty hearty and contain a lot of meat.

 

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Polish cuisine is divided into several types like Goralska Cuisine, for people living in the Tatry Mountains.
The most famous course from this cuisine is Oscypek, cheese from sheep’s milk which is smoked and has unique, incredibly delicious taste.

Another kind of Polish cuisine is Pomorze Cuisine. This is the type of cuisine which is preferred by people living in the region near the sea. As you could probably guess, it’s filled with fishes, especially herring and salmon.

The last type of cuisine is Śląska Cuisine, which is highly inspired by German and Czech cuisine. Kluski Slaskie are the most typical dish in this type of cuisine and in the same time this is one of the most popular dish in the entire Polish cuisine.

 

Polish Cuisine Facts and History

Since Middle Ages Polish cuisine has been known from the use of agricultural products as well as using lots of salt from Wieliczka salt mine. Almost every course contained a groats and had a high calorific value, also because of drinking tons of beer.

Due the fact, that in the Middle Ages Poland and Turkey were closely related, the price of spices was really low and spicy sauces, such as Jucha Szara i Czerwona, gained a great popularity in our country.
Many people don’t know that one of the most popular alcohol in the world, vodka, comes from Poland. The first records of this word come from 1405. It first became popular among lower classes, but then it spread across the entire nation and it’s a main polish drink to the current day.

Polish Menu

Breakfast

The typical Polish breakfast isn’t that much different from the countries like USA or other European countries. Most of the times the meal is light and swift. Sandwiches with cheese or ham, moist scrambled or hard-boiled eggs, sausages or fresh fruits and vegetables if the season is suitable, that’s how typical Polish breakfast looks like.
Dinner is definitely the most important meal of the day. It’s always hearty and it’s a fuel for the entire day.

Dinner

The dinner is usually eaten around 1 p.m. It mostly consists of two or three courses. First comes a soup, for example traditional Polish soup called Żurek, with eggs, sausage and sometimes mushrooms. Żurek is also a traditional Christmas soup. Another course is usually Kotlet Schabowy, a pork cutlet in a coating served with potatoes (or chips) and salad. This is the main course of the entire day. At the end, it comes a time for a dessert. There are plenty of great cakes in Polish cousine, just to mention Makowiec, Sernik (cake with a fresh cheese and vanilla) or Mazurek.

In Poland, there isn’t something like Launch in America. Our dinner is so hearty that it’s enough for us to be full till evening.

Polish-food-cuisine-recipes

Holiday Menus

Poland has a lot to offer when it comes to Menu on Christmas and Easter. There is a tradition which says that in Christmas Eve dinner you have to eat at least twelve dishes. As you can imagine, this is a great challenge but when you see a variety of dishes on a table it seems much easier. There are plenty of traditional Christmas dishes: Carp Jewish style, it’s a carp served with onion, raisins, almonds and bread. Pierogi are another famous Christmas dish. It’s one of the most recognizable polish dishes abroad. Pierogi are Dumplings stuffed with literally everything you want: cabbage, cheese, mushrooms or fruits like strawberries, cherries, blueberries or plums. The most popular and usually eaten on Christmas version are Pierogi Ruskie: Dumplings filled with fresh cheese and tomatoes. Probably most eaten cake is Makowiec: Poppy seed cake which can vary depending on a region of Poland. All version have one thing in common: Makoviec is absolutely tasty.

On Easter the menu changes completely. The feast is much more modest and contains just a few dishes. Usually, Poles eat eggs in all forms, white sausage, żurek, herrings, cottage cheese and the cakes mentioned above like Mazurek, Makowiec or Sernik.

Most Popular Dishes

Many of them were mentioned before, but I need to add some more. Bigos is an unique dish eaten only in Poland. It’s a stew of sauerkraut and meat, including cabbage and all kinds of sausage. Another popular dish are Potato pancakes. Those are just Egg, onion and spices mixed and fried together, usually dished up with mushrooms or chicken breast. Last but not least, we’ve got Golabki: It’s cooked knob of forcemeat wrapped up in a leaf of a white cabbage, commonly served with tomato or mushroom sauce.

Most Used Ingredients

As you probably already guessed Polish cuisine is far from being vegetarian. Poles love meat and eat it in all shapes and all kinds of dishes. Another widely used ingredient are potatoes. You can find them in almost every dish and they are also sometimes eaten as chips. Fishes are the basis for majority of people too. Salmons, Herrings and Carps are among the most popular ones. Cabbage, tomatoes, mushrooms, we can find as well find all those ingredients in most of polish dishes.

Traveling Foodie – What to eat when you travel to Poland

First of all, I would really recommend you to eat a typical polish dinner with Kotlet Schabowy as a main attraction. I absolutely assure you it’s one of the most delicious things ever created, so if you found yourself in a Polish restaurant you should definitely try it out. For a street food, unfortunately most of street food in Poland is just a fast food similar to all the other fast foods in the world. There are some exceptions though. Kumpir is Polish equivalent of Kebab. It’s a huge fried tomato filled with meat and vegetables. It’s way more original than any other street food you have ever eaten, so give it a try and you probably won’t regret it. My personal preference is Zapiekanka – grilled bread topped with different ingredients, meat, mushrooms and veggies.

Polish-street-food

 

To sum up, Polish cuisine is huge, rich and definitely worth exploring. It has many great, unique dishes and everyone should definitely try them out.

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Are you from Poland? Maybe you visited there? Please feel free to comment and add your own thoughts on Polish ethnic food.

Andrzej Nogieć