Street food is the most consumed food in the world and roughly US $ 5 billion is spent annually on fast food, and consumption of fruits and vegetables each year to about 120 million. Most of the street food is not healthy, but the Balkan street food is a bit specific when it comes to this sort of food. Every Balkan country has their own specific street food meal. In this text, several kinds of street food will be mentioned. Every person in the Balkans has tasted at least one of these street meals (and most people all of them):
Burgers – called ‘pljeskavica’, kebabs, gyros, pizzas, sandwiches, pastries, bagels and the most famous sort of pita – so called ‘burek’ the meal everyone including foreigners love.
So if the Balkans is known for anything, it is – of course, food. 😀
People in this part of the world love to eat, sometimes they even overdo it – and especially everyone loves to eat this street food. All sorts of places where people are buying fast food have become a daily part of our lives. Due to the changed way of life, working days that last sometimes too long- from early morning till late afternoon hours, people rarely have time to prepare something at home. So they use street food chains. Now more details about Balkan street food that is, for sure, unique in the world. Of course, across Balkan Peninsula, you can always find some of the most known fast food chains restaurants like McDonald’s, Burger King or KFC.
Burek and gibanica
The best street food in this part of Europe is so called ‘burek’. It is a special sort of pie. Burek with cheese and eggs (all mixed together with adding) is called ‘gibanica’ and it is a very common breakfast in Eastern and Southern Europe.
Burek is an integral part of the culinary culture on Balkan and favorite food in the streets. Although traditionally eaten as a snack, with mandatory yogurt, younger people often consume it as a mandatory meal when back from a night out.
In a joke people in The Balkans often say that the real burek is the only burek with meat and that everything else is pies. Of course, not everyone thinks like that. In Bosnia burek is mostly made with meat and in Serbia mostly with soft cheese. The best burek by many opinions is with meat.
Nowadays you can find it with many other delicious combinations – ham and old cheese, mushroom and onions, potato, and also sweet versions of burek- mostly apples and sour cherries and many others.
This street food is strong and people in this part of Europe are used to it but is should not be eaten every day since it has many calories. But compared to other street food I the world– burek is not made of artificial ingredients, therefore, it is not really unhealthy if consumed from time to time. Important to mention is that recipe for burek originally comes from Turkey, and it is believed that this dish was made by Turks in their homeland in Central Asia. Etymologically it is connected with the Turkish word ‘bur’ which means ‘to bend’. That is why, in Turkey today we have the greatest diversity in terms of filling and shape – from small bundles to the form of a great circle which gets cut into quarters.
Minced meat – Balkan street food
The other most famous street food meal is so called ‘pljeskavica’ its Eastern Europe hamburger.
Basically, it’s hamburger, but in the Balkans, burgers are made something different from the rest of the world. Here it’s called burger and bun in which serves not the typical bun, but a thin loaf of bread, which we call ‘lepinja’.
Read about Balkan burger.
When you order your burger, the grill shop employee will offer you to choose herbs and supplements as you wish (mainly selection is very wide). The most popular is so called ‘urnebes’ translated to English would be – hilarious. It is a delicious supplement with spicy paprika and the taste is excellent. All the people adore it, but it is often avoided due to the presence of garlic. Many burgers around the world have half meat half soya. In the Balkans and especially in Serbia and in Bosnia that is not the case. People here appreciate and love the best meat and it is usually high quality.
Here we must mention so-called ‘cevapi’ , if you want to eat the best cevapi you go to Sarajevo – Bosnia, and Herzegovina. ‘Cevapi (with) Kajmak ‘are mixed meat in cylindrical shape usually served with a special form of dairy product ‘kajmak’ – which is a symphony of taste, and served with onions as well. That combination is one of the most delicious that you will ever taste.This is also very strong food but nothing in it is unhealthy. Consumed from time to time you can enjoy very good and also healthy street food. These meals are also served in various restaurants served specialties.
In this section also belong so-called ‘Leskovacki rostilj’ – translated Leskovac’s barbecue (Leskovac is the city in Serbia) – which including ‘cevapi’ and ‘pljeskavica’ but also varieties of sausages, chicken and pork meat and other meat meals. Everyone in the Balkans loves it.
Gyros and kebab
Greek moussaka and Turkish delights are probably the most popular dishes among Balkan with barbecue and meat in general, but the best meal, undisputed the throne among Southern European meals belongs to Turkish kebab and Greek gyros. These meals are also street food but very delicious and also no additives, just sliced meet (many small slices) in pita bread or tortilla.With gyros, it’s the best to eat tzatziki sauce and with kebab usually spicy supplement. These are also served in some restaurant as specialties. These are delicious meals also very popular in the Balkan region, kind of similar to some eastern Balkan meals.
Balkan streets have also something for the fish lovers, it’s called Girice – it’s a tiny fresh local fried fish, served in a paper cornet with salt and its excellent addition to draft beer.
And as much as the term of ‘street foods’ is mostly used in a negative connotation, in the Balkans, the situation is a bit different. These meals are not so unhealthy but definitely very caloric and if consumed rationally you can enjoy excellent food even in the street, and this is why the Balkan street food is the best.