Belgrade has survived a millenia of both Attila the Hun and Slobodan Milosevic. But Belgrade knows how to party! Cafes and bars are full of young Belgradians (is that a word), maybe Serbians would be a better term? Basically, it has the Mediterranean lifestyle and vibe without the coastline. Likewise, coffee is serious business here too!
Coffee was brought here by the Ottomans in the 16th century. Obviously, it bears a strong resemblance to Turkish coffee. The first coffee house in Belgrade opened in 1522. And much like the rest of the world, at least the coffee drinking world, local roasters, like Przionica are the rage. They say the viscosity of the kafa bears a strong resemblance to Turkish coffee.
The green markets are held daily. Again, like the other Mediterranean countries, they eat fresh food here, nothing preserved or frozen. Zeleni Square, where I am residing in the Hotel Moskva, hosts the most interesting market. Homemade rakija, their "moonshine' is sold in recycled glass jars. It is described as dangerous but delicious! Basically, it is a fruit brandy, and can be made from quince, peach, pear, or apricot. The Serbian national version, called sljivovica, is made from Damson plums, and
is the most intense. Honey can be added to "soften" the blow.
For breakfast, burek is the new breakfast burrito. Believe it or not, it is sold by weight. Available in both sweet (fruit and cheese) and savory (meat, spinach, cheese, mushroom) versions, it is covered with crunchy layers of flaky pastry. And it is washed down with a liquid yogurt drink, a rather intense combination that seems to work.
Balkan cuisine is pork, and more pork, not a place for vegetarians. Mostly, the meals consist of hearty stews, grilled meats, along with salad, bread, and condiments. Many of the dishes are both Turkish and Greek influences, torten and schnitzel. The breaded pork escalope, Vienna style, is popular. Turkish baklava is also part of most menus. So, the food is rather old fashioned, but fresh and high quality.
A most curious dish is the hamburger's illegitimate brother, pljeskavica, a Belgrade staple. The biggest are the size of dinner plates. The "burger" is garnished with pickled cabbage, onions, chili, mustard, mayo, tomato sauce, and spicy cream cheese. In other words, it is a big, wet mess.
Partying here is a water sport, meaning the bars and clubs are located on or
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