The cuisine in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a mix of oriental, Mediterranean and continental European cuisine. Most traditional dishes are based on meat, bread and dairy. Spices are not used very much, but the food is far from bland – it relies on natural aromas of top quality local ingredients for flavor and taste.
While the ubiquitous cevapi (oblong grilled meat patties served in pita bread) and burek (phyllo pastry stuffed with mean and rolled into spirals) are inevitable for anyone visiting the country, Bosnian and Herzegovinian cuisine has much more to offer.
Here is a list of must-try local dishes:
1. Bey’s soup: Thick, broth-like and creamy chicken soup with carrots, celery, parsnip, parsley root and okra. It is usually served with a dollop of sour cream as a warm appetizer. Locals reserve this dish for special occasions and festivities, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy it any day.
2. Klepe: Meat stuffed Bosnian dumplings. Almost all cuisines have some kind of dumpling, and klepe is the Bosnian version. Egg-based dough is rolled out, cut in squares, and stuffed with seasoned lamb or beef meat. The dumplings are usually folded to form a triangle and cooked in beef stock or seasoned water, then garnished with butter and paprika and served with a sauce made of sour cream, salt and crushed garlic. This is the ultimate Bosnian comfort food.
3. Dolma: a dish that is found throughout the Balkans and Mediterranean, with a Bosnian twist. Vegetables such as onions, small peppers, zucchini, tomatoes or grape leaves are stuffed with minced meet and rice, slowly braised in their own juices. A specialty during winter is sarma – stuffed pickled cabbage leaves cooked with smoked meat or smoked salami. Dolma is served warm with cream and fresh bread.
4. Bosanski lonac (Bosnian stew): Chunks of meat (usually lamb and beef) are layered with vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and cabbage in clay pots and braised for hours, preferably on open fire. After hours of braising, the result is a hearty but delicious stew served warm with fresh bread.
5: Bosnian bean stew: Based on white beans and vegetables such as onions, carrots and celery with addition of meat. The thick stew is slow-cooked, sometimes with addition of smoked meat which adds a special deep flavor. After several hours of cooking, the stew is usually thickened with a roux and seasoned with paprika.