Tag Archives: burek

I found the burek!

25 Jan

I have long bemoaned the lack of Eastern European food in Nashville.

We’re pretty international, but really people just eat a lot of Asian and gyros.  My sister and our friend call ourselves the Sketchy Restaurant Club…we’ve had Thai, Middle Eastern, El Salvadoran, Indian, Greek, Japanese…but there are definitely unrepresented parts of the world. There ain’t no Finnish restaurants, or Kyrgyz, or even Russian ones.

But lo and behold, Nashville has gained an adorable little Eastern European place called Euro Grill. Although, they seemed a little hesitant to proclaim their true identity, as the sign says, “Mediterrainian Food” [sic]. I understand, guys. Some people need to be tricked into discovering their true love of feta-filled pastry.

Apparently the restaurant’s been open since 2010, but when I got back from Eastern Europe in 2011, I looked everywhere for Balkan food and couldn’t find it. I finally got wind of Euro Grill last year, and this was my first time going.

I was a little excited.

I was a little excited.

Not only was there legit food, but most people in the place were speaking a variant of Croatian/Serbian. There were tiny coffee cups, guys wearing sweat pants and Nikes, and a group of men playing darts basically the whole time we were there. It was literally a piece of Eastern Europe in Tennessee.

And I loved it. You will see me again, Euro Grill! (and Serbia!)

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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)