Bosnia, or Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a country in southeast Europe. It is known for flavorful and hearty Bosnia food filled with tradition. Located on the Balkan peninsula, the traditional foods in Bosnia are influenced by many other cultures and countries.
What’s Special About Bosnia Food
Traditional Bosnian food dishes are heavy on meat and vegetables cooked in their own juices, without a lot of added fats and sauces. Spices are used in traditional Bosnia foods, but not to excess, allowing the authentic flavors of the meat or vegetables to take center stage.
Soups and stews are a big part of traditional Bosnian food, and simple street foods are served on every corner of big cities like Sarajevo. You will easily find many delicious freshly baked flatbreads filled with grilled meats such as lamb and beef.
Bosnia and Herzegovina was formerly part of Yugoslavia and is located at the crosshairs of Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro. Many cultures have influenced Bosnia food; Greek, Turkish, Hungarian, Muslim, and Jewish cooking techniques are seen in the country’s dishes.
If you are looking for unique cuisine, enjoying the food in Bosnia is sure to satisfy your craving. Read on to learn more about the traditional Bosnia foods that you must try when you visit.
Most Famous Bosnia Food
Cevapi (Grilled Meat Patties)
Cevapi is a grilled minced meat sausage that originated during the Ottoman period and is considered the national dish of Bosnian food. The Turkish kofta kebab influences the Cevapi, also made of ground meat, typically lamb or beef, and spices.
Cevapi is formed into long or short sausage-like links by being put through a funnel and served in groups of five or ten links. Before being grilled, the minced sausage is brushed or soaked in meat broth, giving it extra flavor.
As one of the most famous foods in Bosnia, Cevapi is found as street food, served for lunch or dinner, and has different variations based on family recipes and traditions.
You can enjoy this grilled sausage alone or served on a fresh flatbread called Sumon. Typically this traditional Bosnia food is served alongside onions, sour cream, or kajmak, a clotted cream typical of the Balkans. You can add ajvar, a relish with eggplant and peppers, to this delicious traditional Bosnian food for a little extra flavor.
Traditional Foods In Bosnia – Snacks and Street Foods
Burek (Stuffed Pastry)
Burek is a traditional Bosnian food stuffed pastry that is filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. Layers of dough make Burek crispy, flaky, and completely irresistible.
Burek is a type of pita, slightly different from the pita common in Middle Eastern cuisine. Unlike the fluffier flatbread, Burek is made with Yufka, a thin flatbread that can be layered.
Known as one of the most famous Bosnian foods, Burek is made in a round pan with alternative layers of dough and filling. Meat, cheese, spinach, potatoes, or mushrooms are layered between the dough before being cooked. Sometimes, the stuffing is rolled up and coiled to create even more layers before being cooked.
This crispy dish is an absolute must-try food in Bosnia!
Somun is a typical yeast flatbread served alongside many different foods in Bosnia. Most commonly, you will find Somun stuffed with delicious Cevapi as a popular street food in Bosnia.
Somun originated in Turkey and was brought to Bosnia during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Another bread, Lepinja, is easily mistaken for Somun and used similarly. Both breads are essential additions to mezze platters, enjoyed with various spreads and dips.
You are likely to see Somun served in restaurants, bakeries, and along with several street foods in Bosnia, especially meat dishes.
Ustipci (Fried Dough Balls with Filling)
These savory or sweet dough balls are a favorite in traditional Bosnian foods. Yeast dough balls stuffed with cheese, meats, or even vegetables before being deep-fried. They can be made sweet with powdered sugar or jams served alongside them.
Ustipci is filling enough to be enjoyed as a meal but is typically eaten with coffee or tea as a snack. This delicious traditional Bosnian food is found in bakeries and restaurants with lots of varieties to try.
Sarma and Japrak (Stuffed Grape or Cabbage Leaves)
Sarma and Japrak are different but similar small dishes typical in Bosnian food. Known as Dolmas, or stuffed dishes, both varieties are loaded with cooked rice and meat.
While the filling is the same for both Sarma and Japrak, the exterior differs. Sarma is made with pickled cabbage leaves, while Japrak uses grape leaves. The difference in the leaves gives each a unique texture and flavor.
If you have the chance to try both varieties, it is interesting to taste the contrast in these Bosnian foods.
Traditional Foods in Bosnia – Soups and Stews
Begova Corba or Bey’s Soup (Chicken Soup with Okra)
A traditional Bosnia food, Begova Corba is a creamy chicken soup served in the cold months. Like many foods in Bosnia, this dish resulted from the Turkish invasion during the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Bey’s soup refers to the title of an Ottoman governor and exemplifies the Turkish influence on this dish.
Made with carrots, celery, parsley, potatoes, and okra, this soup is simmered over low heat, allowing the flavors to develop. Sour cream is often added after the soup is finished cooking for creaminess and to thicken the soup. When finished, the Begova Corba is served in a clay pot and remains one of the favorite traditional foods in Bosnia.
Grah (Bean Soup)
Grah is a traditional bean soup made with beans and aromatics and is a typical food in Bosnia. White beans, garlic, onions, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and often a hunk of meat give this classic Bosnian dish its hardiness and taste.
Grah can be made with different types of meat, such as sausages, smoked ham, or ribs. The flavorful bean stew is packed with nutrients and gets its flavor from slow cooking the beans and aromatics for several hours. This soup exemplifies using simple ingredients within foods in Bosnia to make delicious meals that are filling and tasty.
Bosanski Lonac( Bosnian Meat Stew)
Also known as the “Bosnian Pot,” this hearty meat stew is a favorite amongst locals dating back to medieval times. Originally this stew was cooked in a clay pot like many traditional foods in Bosnia. Bosanski Lonac is cooked low and slow, developing the flavors of the meat and vegetables without a lot of spices.
Whatever vegetables are seasonally available can be used to make this Bosnian food, including eggplant, cauliflower, peppers, and potatoes. Lamb and beef are the most common meat added to the stew, changing the flavor profile depending on the ingredients used.
Grasak (Pea Stew)
Another simple yet flavor-packed staple in Bosnian cuisine is this pea stew, known as Grasak. Grasak is typically made in the springtime when fresh peas are readily available, but dried split peas are also sometimes used.
Green peas are combined with a thick roux-based soup base and seasoned with fresh herbs such as parsley and thyme. Like most foods in Bosnia, the ingredients are basic, with the main components giving the dish most of its flavor.
Tarhana (Sourdough Soup)
This uniquely funky and nutritious soup is made with a base of fermented yogurt and dried grains to make a crumbly mixture. Common in Middle Eastern cuisine, but also Balkan and Bosnian foods, this mixture goes by several different names depending on where you are.
Tarhana thickens the liquid in this soup, giving it a sour flavor from the fermentation. If you like tangy flavors, this soup is definitely for you. In addition to the Tarhana, ground meat and vegetables are added to the soup, giving this traditional food in Bosnia layers of flavor. Tarhana soup is a culinary treat that isn’t for everyone but may become your new favorite!
Buranija (Bean Stew)
This hearty bean stew uses romano beans, a variety of green beans, as its main ingredient, accompanied by chunks of veal.
Like most foods in Bosnia, the ingredients are slow-cooked to get the most flavor from them. This bean stew is no exception, as it has few ingredients, but a long cooking time gives the most flavor to the soup.
In addition to meat and beans, Buranija is often made with tomatoes, garlic, carrots, and onions. Depending on the season and availability, other vegetables may be added. This traditional Bosnia food is an example of seasonal ingredients in typical dishes.
Duvec (Vegetable Stew)
Duvec is a vegetable stew closely resembling a casserole, with the optional addition of rice. Traditionally made in an earthen clay pot, like many stews and foods in Bosnia, Duvec originated in Turkey and migrated to Bosnia.
Unlike many other stews in Bosnian foods, Duvec is typically vegetarian, but meat can always be added if desired. Any combination of vegetables can be used to make this traditional stew, with peas, peppers, onions, and tomatoes most commonly added.
Sataras (Vegetable Stew)
This vegetable stew is a typical vegetarian dish served in Bosnia. As far as lighter foods in Bosnia, this dish is perfect for an appetizer or a nutrient-filled summer dish.
Sataras is almost like a ragout sauce, made with basic ingredients – bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and some spices. The ingredients are simmered together and served with various condiments such as sour cream and can be eaten with Somun or rice.
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Traditional Bosnia Food – Meat Dishes
Klepe (Dumpling with Filling)
The Italians have ravioli, and the Bosnians have Klepe, a steamed dumpling made with a soft dough. This traditional Bosnian food is filled with minced meat and onions and served swimming in a decadent cream sauce.
Klepe can be made vegetarian with cheese, but they are typically stuffed with beef, lamb, or chicken. Originally these pillowy dumplings were peasant food made with easily accessible and inexpensive ingredients. Today they are enjoyed as one of the staple traditional Bosnia foods.
Sogan Dolma (Beef Stuffed Onions)
Another version of a Dolma, Sogan Dolma, uses an onion instead of a grape or cabbage leaf. The inside of a small onion is carefully stuffed with a mixture of rice, meat, and spices to make this traditional Bosnian food.
The stuffed onions are often cooked in a simple broth of vegetables and then topped with sour cream or thick strained yogurt before being served. Although there are many stuffed vegetable foods in Bosnia, the Sogan Dolma is amongst the most popular and even a specialty of the city of Mostar.
Pljeskavica (Grilled Spiced Meat Patty)
Another grilled meat dish, Pljeskavica, is a beloved food in Bosnia. Although this meat patty is originally a Serbian dish, it has been adapted into Bosnian cuisine and is enjoyed throughout the country.
Similar in appearance to a hamburger, Pljeskavica is made with a combination of beef, pork, and lamb and seasoned with spices. Often it is enjoyed with onion, lettuce, and tomato between two pieces of flatbread. Alternatively, the patty is sometimes served with french fries and no bread.
This traditional Bosnian food is full of flavors and great for a quick lunch or snack while exploring the city of Sarajevo.
When it comes to traditional dishes, this Bosnian food is a favorite. Cufte is meatballs served in a tomato sauce and often served with mashed potatoes. This is one of the best authentic comfort foods in Bosnia cuisine.
Cufte meatballs combine ground meat such as lamb or beef with eggs, bread crumbs, onion, and garlic. Before being simmered in tomato sauce, the meatballs are fried to make them brown on the outside, giving the Cufte extra flavor.
Different variations of Cufte can be found throughout Bosnia, depending on traditional and family recipes. If you eat Cufte in a restaurant, you will likely see this typical Bosnia food served on its own or in tomato sauce.
Rostilj (Mixed Barbeque)
If you can’t make your mind up on one type of meat, the Rostilj is a great way to try multiple portions of meat. This famous platter usually contains Cevapi, grilled steak or lamb, sausages, and french fries or baked potato.
Like most foods in Bosnia, the meats are grilled with minimal extra fat and spices and typically use broth and the fat of the meat. Along with the meat, it is common to enjoy some pickled vegetables or slaw to cleanse your palate.
If you are a big fan of meat, this typical Bosnian food is a definite meal worth checking off of your list.
Traditional Bosnia Food – Vegetable Dishes
Kacamak (Cornmeal and Potatoes)
This traditional Bosnian food was once a typical peasant food but is now enjoyed widely by the people of Bosnia. Kacamak is made with a combination of cornmeal, boiled potatoes, milk, and cheese. The texture of the dish is similar to porridge or cream of wheat.
Kacamak is served in restaurants as a meal that one can enjoy for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner as a side. Like a creamy polenta served in Italy, Kacamak is versatile and can be eaten with various toppings. Kacamak is a warm and comforting simple Bosnian food you will love once you try it.
Kljukusa (Potato Pie)
This traditional savory potato pie dates back to the Ottoman Empire, like most foods in Bosnia. Baked in a round pan, this simple pie contains potatoes, flour, salt, water, and eggs in its original form. Today, garlic, spices, sour cream, and milk are added to the dish.
The Kljukusa is thin and crispy, similar to a potato pancake, and cut into wedges before being eaten. Sour cream is often dolloped on top of this traditional Bosnian food and enjoyed for breakfast or lunch.
Torshi (Pickled Vegetables)
Torshi are the pickled vegetables accompanying many Bosnian foods discussed in this article. While many combinations of vegetables are used to make these famous pickles, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, chili peppers, and garlic are the most common.
Torshi is typically enjoyed with any meal of the day and is found on the tables of homes and restaurants across Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Prebranac (Baked Beans)
Beans are a big part of Bosnian food, so it’s not a wonder that a baked bean dish makes the list of must-try foods. This staple dish is made with white beans and caramelized onions seasoned with spices.
Prebranac is commonly enjoyed as a side dish, or a main, along with Somun or Lepinja. Beans are nutritious and inexpensive and quickly became commonplace in food in Bosnia. Although this dish may not seem very exciting, the simple flavors meld together to make a filling meal you won’t forget.
Discovering Traditional Bosnian Foods In Bosnia
Bosnia is a country with a rich and complicated history, which has led to the development of interesting and varied cuisine. foods in Bosnia are hearty and filling, often containing meat and potatoes.
While the foods in Bosnia may not be as well-known as other cuisines in Europe, they are definitely worth trying. The next time you find yourself in Bosnia, be sure to sample some of these traditional Bosnia food dishes.