It’s not easy to get a foreign visitor of Belgrade to know all the secrets of domestic gastronomy. Many dishes don’t even exist in dictionaries, let alone in the meal menus of other cultures, even though they’re made from everyday ingredients which exist in all European countries. Sit back and enjoy the meals prepared by experienced Belgrade cooks, the masters of cuisine - you won’t regret it! We’d like to point out specific warm and cold appetizers which are served in almost all Belgrade restaurants.
The traditional starter in Belgrade restaurants is PROJA (bread made out of cornflour), which is served hot with CHEESE and KAJMAK (milk fat used as spread), after having an aperitif, COLD BRANDY (plum brandy with 45-50 percent alcohol). In the winter, an excellent choice to go with this is a pickled cabbage salad, and in the summer, a COLD GARDEN salad (various seasonal vegetables) accompanies this starter best. Along with your appetizer, be sure to order a fine white or rosé wine.
PIHTIJE is a traditional starter in the winter. Pieces of pork are cooked in water with spices (pepper, bay leaf, salt) and then the bones and the liquid are separated and poured into shallow dishes. Garlic is added to taste and then the mixture is refrigerated until it slightly hardens and becomes jelly-like. Paprika or crushed red pepper is sprinkled over the top and then everything is cut into squares. It is served with pickled vegetable salad (pickles, pickled peppers and green tomatoes).
PREBRANAC is a dish made from a specific type of bigger bean with onions and spices (pepper, salt and paprika). It is served cold as a hors d'oeuvre. A SPRITZER (mixture of white wine and carbonated water in 2:1 ratio) goes excellently with this and it also helps with digestion.
If you prefer lighter food, we suggest cold PLANT-BASED SARMA. The mixture is made from stir-fried onions and rice, with an addition of peppers, tomatoes and parsley, wrapped in grape leaves or cabbage. Those who love fish specialties shouldn’t miss out on STUFFED ZANDER - the king of the Danube. Along with your fish you should definitely have a cold glass of white wine from Serbia.
Pies such as GIBANICA and ZELJANICA are favorite warm starters among many. Rolled out dough is filled with a lot of cheese, kajmak and eggs, and a zeljanica includes all that plus finely cut spinach or patience dock. They go particularly well with beer!
Real gourmands should try FRIED VEAL LEGS, fried in the Parisian way and served with tartar sauce. Drinks: beer or a spritzer! In most Belgrade restaurants you can order MUSHROOMS, most commonly portobello mushrooms. They’re served on a bed of rice or, even more commonly, with chicken liver. Before enjoying this meal, drink some fine brandy - Juniper berry brandy or yellow gentian brandy.
Photo: Tourist Organization of Belgrade