Visiting Serbia through burek

15 Feb
photo by PetarS

Typical Serbian burek (photo by PetarS)

Last week I made rogale cookies from Poland. This week I’m featuring another pastry, but this one is savory instead of sweet. Yes, savory, as well as cheesy and buttery and all-around amazing. I fell in love with burek in Serbia last year – even the small towns there have shops dedicated solely to burek. If they’re really fancy, they’ll have meat burek as well as the standard cheese, or even sweet versions like sour cherry or pumpkin. For me, eating burek was not just a delight to the tongue but also a unique cultural experience.

To understand the culture of burek, you have to understand Serbia. In American media, this country is often portrayed as a “party hard and drink all day” kind of place. Although Serbs like to have fun, and even little ones are given sips of rakija (Serbian alcohol), Serbia is much more than this stereotype. This country has been through a lot, especially in its communist days, but the people are warm-cultured, proud and friendly. If you enter a Serbian home, you will be offered coffee, snacks and the laid-back conversation that defines Eastern Europe. Serbia is a beautiful, resilient country full of mountainous splendor, unique people and, of course, wonderful food.

Ah, yes, the food! In Serbia, if you’re eating burek, you’re drinking jogurt along with it. Jogurt is simply yogurt, but a little more sour and thinner than the kind Americans generally consume. The tart drink complements the greasy burek.

Yes, it’s greasy. But don’t let that scare you off! It’s an experience, remember?

Side note: Serbia is famous for its pljeskavica – similar to the American hamburger, yet vastly different. I haven’t even considered attempting to make this wonderful sandwich because, quite simply, I’m sure my endeavor will fall so short of the real thing that I will be miserable enough to hop on a flight to Serbia simply in order to eat an actual pljeskavica. Yes, it’s that good.

*The picture at the top is not my own – if you want to see how I made my own burek, then watch the video below! (the happy eaters at the end are my siblings, Cara and Caleb)

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11 Responses to “Visiting Serbia through burek”

  1. Cara February 15, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    I loved your description of Serbia and would enjoy visiting there someday. I like your song choice for the video at the end – how happy! 😀

    • Zeezy February 16, 2012 at 11:12 am #

      You have a way with words. By reading your blog makes me hungry!! I am a big time eater and I love to try new foods. A lot of the guys on the basketball team said I eat exotic stuff. I just like to taste something outside the norm. (American Food)
      Good post!

  2. Kelsey Reiman February 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    I love that you show us how to make it instead of just describing the food. I also really like that you talk about Serbia rather than just the burek. You illustrate how passionate you are about the topic and the place. You know you are writing well when readers start to get hungry halfway through the post, and I am definitely hungry after reading that!

  3. healthykingincollege February 16, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    It was very interesting to read of these food items! I’ve never heard of anything like this stuff before! Thank you for the inlightening cultural experience! Keep it up!

  4. Emily Poe February 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Wow that picture made me want to try a bite and I am pretty picky with my food. I don’t usually eat outside the confines of “normal”. I might try this one day!

  5. mjkanyuh February 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    This food looks awesome! I love food, and would really like to try this! I also want to get better at cooking, so this is definitely on my list of things to try to make!

  6. sophiewkellerman February 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    This looks delicious! I really do love your passion for Serbia including the people and the food. The video was perfect because it was short and sweet and your siblings at the end were a great way to end it. I love trying foods from other countries..it seems that I am either usually not very thrilled or pleasantly surprised and I think in this case I would definitely enjoy it!

  7. Your Serbian buddy February 23, 2012 at 11:59 am #

    I’m so proud of you! That’s all I’m gonna say. Well, maybe one more thing. I always say that making burek at home is a waist of time, since you need a special oven for it and some other “skills” ;), but this actually looks like a real deal and I would really like to try it one day. Good Job! 🙂 (back to the first line)

  8. Wade Andreas February 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

    In Vienna a lot of street vendors sell “Börek” (same thing just in German I believe). The meat one I got was pretty good, but the sheep cheese one was nasty.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Getting Greek with baklava « Traveling by Taste - July 30, 2012

    […] Today is the second time I’ve made baklava, and I’m pleased with both turnouts. It tastes and looks totally legit (okay, my uninformed idea of legit). It’s also pretty easy, although some layering is required (at first I felt like I was making burek again!). […]

  2. O food, thou canst make drama! | Traveling by Taste - August 7, 2013

    […] and eager to discover the culinary delights of Serbia’s capital city. Her first tastes of burek and pljeskavica don’t live up to her memories of small-town Serbia, but she is still hopeful. […]

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