Dobro Dosli from Belgrade, capital city of the Serbia! Welcome to the most vibrant, colorful city of the Balkans where you will meet lovely, beautiful, friendly, helpful people around.
Serbia is a Balkan country that is the neighbor of Hungary at north, Romania and Bulgaria at east, Macedonia and Albania at south, Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro and Croatia at west.
This secular Catholic Christian country have 420 years of Islamic history through Ottoman Turks, many wars at back then, and today there’s only 3 % of Muslim population where the most of them are Sanjak Turks who lives at Novi Bazar city.
Against the history of wars, people are friendly and helpful towards tourists. As a Muslim tourist we might come across with Islamophobic situations time to time at anywhere in the world, here is the city where you have the chances to face such situation by 20%. Elderly, who grew up with antipathy for Islam or Muslims might give a strange looks at you, smile back at them. 🙂 However, the new generation seemed more unbiased, your hijab will not surprise them to receive a strange gaze from them anyway. Serbians are used seeing Muslim tourists around who are traveling mostly from Turkey, south east Asia, India and Gulf countries.
The country in general got 3% Muslim population, where most of them are settled down in south. There are Muslims who are living in Belgrade as well who got their own community, Islamic center and a mosque, few halal shops (they were closed), few halal restaurants.
The Serbian cuisine is classic Balkan cuisine where there is Burek (meat filled pastry), Cevapcici that is meatballs served with somun (bread), chopped onion and kajmak, cheese, Pljescavica (traditional burger), traditional coffee and rakija (traditional beer) similarly other Balkan countries. What are the chances for us to try the ones suites us? Non. As the meat is not halal, the general cuisine covers pork in almost everything. There is another point to be careful, there might have alcohol in desserts or icecreams or in sort of coffees you might wonder that has interesting title in the menu 🙂 Let’s not scare you thinking you’ll be starving through all your stay in this city, here we got a guide for your use.
Interestingly, even though the city has a big potential of visiting of Muslim tourists, there are not much halal restaurants around. That’s why keeping the expectations of finding a halal restaurants low would be the right thing here. And if you have come across with one? Then you should keep expectations of the quality of the services low that time. Either they are not hospitable, or not welcoming, or the food quality isn’t that good in general. They also have no worry to be get to known by Muslim travelers, as some of them were inconsiderate at our work. Most importantly, if you are searching for halal local food, you’ll have big failure because there’s no halal local food restaurant all around unless you go and search for vegetarian restaurants.
We have visited 2 halal restaurants during our 2 days stay. The Dukan Restaurant where it’s close by the Bajrakli Mosque, easy to go from anywhere if you are staying at the city center. That’s small medium quality Turkish Restaurant whose the owner is not welcoming or friendly. They don’t have standard menu but they just offer daily Turkish food. If you are going to check online, you can come across with reviews on google only because they don’t have any website. It wasn’t good experience for us to travel to Belgrade just to visit them with excitement just to write about them but receiving disrespectful manner, being travel writer wasn’t good enough to introduce ourselves, probably.
There is another halal restaurant right at the center of the city, placed in the side street of Knez Mihailova Street, where you can find it very easy to go. The Zuwar Restaurant is owned by a Palestinian couple, serves Arabic food, a nice clean and new restaurant which doesn’t serve any alcohol at all. So, it’s fully halal. There are halal restaurants all around Europe that serves alcohol just not to lose local customers who likes to drink. However, owner of the Zuwar Restaurant say; ” we don’t believe it’s halal if the alcohol is served at that place. Our local customers are coming, when they ask for alcohol, they immediately leave because they like to drink in this country. But, we really care about our Muslim customers who has to feel like in their home.” The sensitivity of the owners might want you to give a visit if you wanna have kabsah or any other Arabic dish. We can not make any recommendation about the food taste because there was no food served during our interview session.
There are other choices all around the city. We have tried one restaurant at the mall lied at Knez Mihailova Street where you can just watch the food cooked in front of you. If you feel you can eat at a place where alcohol or pork is served but your food is cooked separately without touching any of those two, in front of you, you can visit that restaurant too.
There is one fries shop at Knez Mihailova Street, which only about fries. You just need to be careful about thinking of its topping, there might have alcohol mixed in some. Just to be safe, we have ordered only with ketchup or yoghurt.
Thinking about fast food, to have fish burger or chicken, there are only few branches of KFC and Mc Donalds at the city center.
Another good thing is, you can cook if you reserved an apartment just like us. We stayed at Green and Blue Garden Apartments where lied down at city center. A grocery shop was a mile away where we bought fresh veggies to cook in the kitchen that was clean and fun to cook there.
Oh we have been talking about food only. One of the most unforgettable things about Serbia was their great quality of coffee for me. I have traveled with the hope of tasting Sirpska Kafa (Traditional Serbian Coffee) however, I came across with any sort of coffee with great delight. Wonderful. Tasty! If you are coffee addict just like I am, you’ll love to have coffee at anywhere and anytime here. Just to be careful, there are a lot of coffee shops and most of them serves alcohol too at the same time. You need to be careful while choosing your coffee from the menu where you’ll find more than 20 kinds at some places. Some of them are mixed with alcohol. If you really wanna try something different than usual standard coffee list the best thing is to ask your waitress before you order. They usually list down the ingredients too though.
Thinking off buying street delights, you can ask anytime to anyone if the food contains pork, any products produced by pork or alcohol. People are friendly and understanding, never hesitate to ask them.
2018belgradehalal foodhalal restaurantsserbia