Serbia – The Land of Great Hospitality

(A ‘krempita’ from restaurant ‘Terasa‘ in Novi Sad, Serbia)

If you have ever been to a Serbian home, you know that you will be treated like royalty. The food that they prepare is some of the tastiest food you will ever have, and you will definitely not be leaving on an empty stomach, even if you were just invited over for a coffee. Restaurants are no exception. 

My post today is inspired by the slava, Djurdjevdan, a day where Serbians who celebrate St.George come together to feast and welcome guests to their homes. This post is about honouring the great Serbian hospitality you will find in any part of the country you visit (and even any Serbian home, restaurant or community you visit outside of Serbia). Don’t get me wrong. Any home you enter from the former Yugoslav countries will be welcoming. I am simply focusing on Serbia today. 

The Serbian Home 

If you are a guest in a home of a Serbian, you truly will be treated like royalty. Serbians take great pride in making sure that their guests are well fed, comfortable, well fed, entertained, well fed, have plenty to drink, and did I mention, well fed? Seriously! Anyone who has visited at my parents’ house will know that my mom will cook up a feast even if she told you to come over only for a coffee. Forget about being on any kind of diet…these people will make you eat! If you have ever watched the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, then you can get a pretty good picture of how Serbians are as well.

(Photo credit to my dad. Food credit to my mom)

If a Serbian invites you to their home for dinner, don’t bring food with you (unless they request it, but 99.9% of the time this won’t happen). The family that is inviting you takes great pride in welcoming you to their home, so there will be plenty of food to be had. And don’t worry about not having anything to eat…there will be plenty of different dishes for you to try and enjoy (and don’t be shy, they will not let you live this one down). The only things you should bring are a bottle of hard liquor or wine for the host, some sort of flowers for the hostess, and a chocolate bar for each one of the kids.

Serbian Cuisine 

Serbians eat meat. A lot of meat! 

(Yup, we even roast are own meat, and my friend Boban makes some of the best!)

If you are a vegetarian, most of the dishes you will have in a restaurant will be restricted to salads, soups (if they are veggie soups), and side dishes. So be prepared to do some research if you plan on dining at restaurants while in Serbia. The whole vegetarian concept will often be depicted as fairly strange to the locals, so be patient with them. If you are in Belgrade, a great start would be looking at this Belgradian post on “Being a Vegetarian in Belgrade“. If you are invited to a home, don’t be shy to let the family know in advance that you are a vegetarian.

(Picture taken at a restaurant in Zlatibor, Serbia)

Food for purchase, for Western standards, is relatively cheap. And so are the restaurants. A lot of the restaurants take great pride in making their establishments look like top of the class, but don’t be afraid to enter them as the meals are often reasonably priced.

(Photo taken at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, Serbia. A great place for dessert!)

The Desserts 

As much as Serbians love their meat, they also love their desserts, or kolači in Serbian.

 (Pictured above are ‘kiflice’, pastries filled with jam)

And they have such a large variety of them, you can’t go wrong with any that you try.

My Top 3 Recommendations 
  1. If you love meat, you will love trying Karađorđeva šnicla which is schnitzel filled with ‘kajmak’, a type of cheese. 
  2. Which leads me to ‘kajmak’ (pronounced kaymak) for the vegetarians. It is absolutely delicious and this is what I usually live off of while in Serbia. 
  3. For the dessert lovers, if you make me choose just one dessert, I recommend a ‘krempita’ (pictured first at the top of this blog). But any dessert you try, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed with. 

And now a short 4 minute video to summarize this all for me from the National Tourism Organization of Serbia. 

I hope you have enjoyed this entry and I hope I did not make you too hungry. If you love to eat, enjoy food, and want great hospitality, Serbia should be your next go to destination! If you can’t make it to Serbia, check Google to see if there any Serbian food festivals coming to your area in the next few months, as there are often plenty over the summer months in Southwestern Ontario.  

Happy Travels Everyone!


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