Serbian Food: Top 12 Must-Try Serbian Dishes

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Serbs are renowned for their passion for delicious food and relish nothing more than savoring a sumptuous meal. They take immense pride in preparing and cooking their traditional Serbian dishes, an essential part of their cuisine. To fully experience the flavors and aromas of these dishes, it’s worth visiting the best traditional Serbian restaurants in Belgrade. However, beware of trying to sample them all in one day, as Serbian portions are as generous as they are mouth-watering.

1. Sarma

Sarma, a beloved dish among Serbs, is highly regarded to the point where a potential spouse’s ability to prepare it is considered a desirable trait. The classic recipe includes pickled cabbage, minced meat, and rice, although some variations exist, such as using vine leaves or fish meat. Nevertheless, for the average Serb, there is only one dish worth being called “Sarma.”

Sarma, source IYP

2. Ćevapi

If you’re looking for a unique culinary experience in Serbia, make sure to give Ćevapi a try. These grilled, finger-shaped portions of minced meat are usually served in quantities of 10 and are accompanied by chopped onions. While Serbs swear by this combination as the ultimate gastronomic delight, those who converse with you post-meal may not be as convinced. So, be prepared for some differing opinions!

Čevapi, source IYP

3. Burek

Burek is a dish that stirs up some controversy among the Serbs. The reason is, there’s an ongoing debate on whether the authentic Burek should have meat or cheese. Most of the time, tipsy Serbs don’t go straight home after a night out. Instead, they stop by a Burekdžinica, a Burek shop, to grab a quick bite of this delicious freshly baked meal. These debates can get pretty rowdy!

Burek, source IYP

4. Karađorđeva šnicla

One popular dish known as Karađorđeva šnicla also referred to as ‘Devojački san’ or ‘A young woman’s dream’, may have something to do with its shape or size. This mouthwatering dish is made by stuffing pork or beef with Kajmak, then coating it in flour, eggs, and bread crumbs before deep-frying it to perfection. While it may sound complicated to prepare, the result is simply divine. To complement the dish, it is usually served with a side of tartar sauce.

Karađorđeva šnicla, source IYP

5. Prebranac

Prebranac, a bean-based dish, is a beloved winter favorite among Serbs. Despite its simplicity, it can be enjoyed in various ways, whether served plain, with bacon, or with grilled sausages. Although it may cause some discomfort later on, each bite is sure to be savored and appreciated.

Prebranac, source IYP

6. Gibanica

Gibanica, the beloved cheese pie of Serbians, is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a snack, dinner, breakfast, or even as a quick lunch when mom is away. It’s so delicious that it never lasts long in any Serbian household – they devour it in a jiffy!

Gibanica, source IYP

7. Punjena Paprika

Stuffed Paprika, or Punjena Paprika as the cool kids call it, is pretty straightforward – it’s paprika that’s been stuffed with a yummy mixture of minced meat and rice, just like the filling in Sarma. The magic happens when it’s all cooked up in a pot, and the size of the paprika plays a big role in how delicious it turns out. So go big or go home, folks!

Punjena Paprika, source IYP

8. Čvarci

Čvarci, also known as pork fat crisps, sound like an odd snack but trust me, they taste amazing! These crispy treats are best enjoyed with something spicy and a side of dairy products. It’s worth noting that these are mostly homemade and purely organic. So, if you’re looking for a unique snack experience, give čvarci a try!

Čvarci, source IYP

9. Kajmak

Kajmak is a milk-based side dish that’s often mistaken for cheese, but let’s be real, it’s in a league of its own – way better than cheese! Serbs love pairing Kajmak with various dishes, but it truly shines as the ultimate companion to any grilled meat. Trust me, once you try it, you won’t be able to grill without it!

Kajmak, source IYP

10. Ajvar

Ajvar is known to be a salad that is made from red paprikas, which can either be mild or spicy. This versatile dish can be paired with just about anything – you can even spread it on bread and have it as a meal! It’s a popular favorite among Serbs, and you can easily find it in any grocery store. Plus, it makes for a great gift!

Ajvar, source IYP

11. Knedle

Knedle, the delicious dumplings known for their plum filling, have expanded their flavor variations! Nowadays, you can find this mashed potato dough treats in Belgrade with all sorts of new, exciting tastes like Oreo, Raspberry, and Nutella.

Knedle, source IYP

12. Slatko

In Serbia, Slatko is the sweetest way to welcome guests into your home. This fruity preserve is made with all sorts of ingredients – even rose petals! But the most popular version is made with white cherries. When visitors arrive, it’s tradition to offer them a spoonful of Slatko and a refreshing glass of water. So, if you want to impress your guest’s Serbian style, don’t forget the Slatko!

Slatko, source IYP