The Balkans has always been a diversified area characterized by long history, diverse landscapes and, no less, beautiful places where you can taste unique culinary specialties. Balkan countries have often been united under one kingdom or territory so that they share the history, culture and cuisine. Many Balkan currents, especially the Ottoman Empire, have influenced the Balkan cuisine, as well as the history. However, when you go to the Balkan region, you will see that restaurants are generally the same everywhere, and although there are variations on certain dishes, the basis of the Balkan traditional cuisine is the same. In this article you will get acquainted with the most famous unique Balkan specialties that you can try only in the Balkans.
Cevapi are the main food in the whole region, so if you want to get to know the Balkan cuisine, you should definitely start with them. Cevapi are small sausages made with the combination of ground pork, beef, veal or lamb (depending on which part of the Balkans you eat). They are baked on a grill and serve in portions of 5 or 10 pieces with chopped onion and flatbread. The taste of cevapi is unique so it does not surprise that it is the main dish in the Balkan region.
Absolutely the main star of Balkan cuisine is ajvar. Ajvar is a kind of salad, similar to pesto, and it is made from red fried peppers. Tomatoes or blue eggplant can be added. It is used as a bread spread or as an addition to many foods from meat or fish. You can buy ajvar in any market in the Balkans if you do not have time to fry peppers.
Another dish with paprika, which is often cooked and served, both in the Balkan restaurants and in the local Balkan households, is stuffed paprika. For stuffed paprika, red or yellow paprika can be used (it is a matter of choice) and filling is made from ground beef or pork and rice. The paprika is cooked in tomato sauce, and at the very end it is sealed in the oven so that all tastes gather. After that, you only cover the stuffed paprika with a sour cream and after that you are ready to enjoy the delicious taste of this fantastic dish that will definitely make your day better.
Kajmak is a creamy blend of smells and tastes that are long remembered. It is essentially a milk spread, which is made by collecting milk fat from the cow’s milk (sheep or goat), which is then left to cool for hours, sometimes for days. Kajmak does not have a sharp taste; it is very creamy so that, after the first bite, your heart will be thrilled. Kajmak can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is eaten with any dishes, and is mostly served with cevapi, grilled meat and other types of meat. If you want to try kajmak in the way they eat it in the Balkans for decades, it is best to put it in a warm bun.
In order to fully experience the Balkan cuisine, you have to try at least one traditional dessert, which should definitely be pancakes. Pancakes are another name for crepes and can be tried in restaurants, cafes or on street kiosks. Pancakes are a lot thinner than those that are made, for example, in the US, and you get one or two in a portion (depends on the size). They are filled with jam, nut, walnuts and sugar, and they are simply irresistible.