An American Vegetarian In Serbia

Being a vegetarian or a pescetarian (a seafood eating vegetarian) in Serbia is certainly not easy. It doesn’t make you popular at Serbian restaurants, especially in meat-loving Serbia. For example, last year an American student went into a Belgrade restaurant and asked the waiter to point the vegetarian options on the menu. The waiter replied “No meat – no eat”. That said, it seems that it’s pretty easy being vegan in Serbia with a bit of forethought and research.

Simran Sachdev, an American volunteer from New York working for the Women in Black Network in Serbia put up a blog post last week discussing Serbian food and vegetarian options. “Many people have asked what I, being a pescetarian, have been eating in Serbia so I thought I would write about it. The first few days I was here, it was quite difficult to find vegetarian options on the go, especially since I couldn’t comprehend the Serbian signs listing food and was also unable to ask for meatless items in Serbian. But over the past few weeks I have learned how to say “nay meso?” meaning “no meat?” and have found a few good fast food options that I can pick up on the way to work.” Being a vegetarian – or even a pescetarian – in Serbia is not as difficult as it seems!

Then, Simran Sachdev went on to talk about Serbian food noting that Serbian food includes a lot of meat and organic vegetables. “While I haven’t tasted the meat here, I have heard that it is a lot better than ours in America. And I can say from personal experience that the local tomatoes and various fruits and vegetables are full of flavor.” She even posted a little video from the Belgrade Zeleni Venac City Market. “wish I had something similar back home, without it costing an arm and a leg.” Check out the little video right here:

Karl Haudbourg

I'm a Frenchman promoting Serbia in the world. I see myself as a Serb. Call me crazy. Call me insane. I am a pragmatic patriot. I love my country, Serbia.

4 thoughts on “An American Vegetarian In Serbia

  1. Danica Radisic says:

    Hi Karl!

    Nice to hear you're finding your way around Serbia and most of what you wrote here is true. Ah, now for the big however – As most Serbs are Christian Orthodox, we do quite a bit of fasting (called a "post" here). The Orthodox fast represents a true pescetarian diet and anything fit for this fast will either be marked as "posno" in stores/on packaging or you can ask if something is "posno". Restaurants will also gladly serve up anything "posno". Also, there are two kinds of fasts – "on water" and "on oil" (the oil cannot derive from animals though). I think the terms are pretty self explanatory but be aware that anything posno on water will taste bland. I hope this info makes your stay in Belgrade more appetizing! Enjoy!

  2. I couldn't agree more with Danica. I can only add some tips taken from my review about one Belgrade restaurant:

    "However, people who don't eat meat also can find great variety of dishes to suit their taste, especially during Orthodox fasting period, before Orthodox Christmas and Easter, when each meal marked as "posno" (the word confirming the absence of unsuitable types of food during fast). A short explanation: the Orthodox fast is not allowing any products of animal origin, including dairy products and eggs, except for fish (but if the fish is present in food, it is usually highlighted). In regular menu there are already some "meatless" dishes, such as cheese layered corn pie, roasted paprika, ajvar (pronounced as "ayvar") etc. What is also special about the food is that most ingredients are delivered daily from the valley of Lim, so they can be considered as "organic"."

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