Kuća Čaja

30 Sep

There is a downside to travel: you leave a little bit of your heart wherever you go. And for me, it’s a little of my heart and a lot of my stomach! There’s no telling when a certain craving for food halfway across the world will hit me, and honestly it’s comparable to missing languages, towns and cultures. People, I miss more than food. I’m not a monster, y’all!

I follow a few blogs dedicated solely to reviewing restaurants, cafes, shady joints and food trucks. In this blog, I usually write about food I’ve made, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy eating out now and again. Lately I have been missing a certain eatery in a tiny Eastern European town.

Compellingly odd art at Kuca Caja

Užice, Serbia is nestled in a valley and crawls up the slopes of its surrounding mountains. The city has a shopping street, a couple places to eat and a darling town square. In the heart of the city, there’s a teahouse called Kuća Čaja. Its name literally means “tea house,” because in a town as small as Užice, there’s no need for further description.

The drinks at Kuća Čaja are delicious; the tea comes in style with your own brewer, matching cup, a bowl of sugar and a pitcher of cream. But, truly, it’s the atmosphere that keeps people coming back. You enter up a flight of stairs and emerge in a dim, artsy room with mismatched chairs and paintings from local artists. To the right is the bar, and to the left there is the only other room, an eclectic hangout area that sometimes boasts live music. In every nook and cranny, there is strange art and foreign-looking knicknacks.

I forgot to photograph the beautiful tea pot…

In short, Kuća Čaja is the kind of place that would be spilling over with hipsters if it was located in a big city. As it is, a few young adults gather there a couple times a week, and the occasional passers-through go there for a hot drink in the mountainous chill.

I miss Kuća Čaja because, for me, it embodies the Serbian spirit: the tendency to spend time on what counts (a good drink and conversation), the freedom to express yourself and a really odd, yet endearing personality. I also have some great memories from there, like chatting with people who only spoke as much English as I did Serbian, playing covers with my friends Marko and Mirjami and relaxing with my friends and a huge mug of Indian chai.

If you ever find yourself in Užice, stop by Kuća Čaja and let me know how it’s doing. And I’d highly recommend the blueberry mango tea!

Me and Mirjami, probably playing Coldplay 🙂

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5 Responses to “Kuća Čaja”

  1. ZMajčina Dušica December 25, 2012 at 5:30 am #

    First time reading this, thx for lovely words and big hug from Kuca Caja ! Happy holidays guys
    ! :))

    • TravelingByTaste December 26, 2012 at 12:56 am #

      Aw, thank you! I hope your holidays were happy too 🙂

  2. Milan December 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    the thing that i must add are endless dear landladies Dusha,Dana i Jeca without which there would be no any warm atmosphere!!!U get it!!!!!:P

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    […] city. Her first tastes of burek and pljeskavica don’t live up to her memories of small-town Serbia, but she is still hopeful. She soon discovers other delicacies – wonderful pizza, awesome […]

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