Montenegro may be a young country, but its culture is vibrant and mature. In this sunny country, you will find warm and friendly people and even warmer foods. The foods in Montenegro are complex and inviting, much like the landscape. If you want to experience this young nation like a local, you have to get lost in the world of Montenegro food.
What Is Special About Food In Montenegro
Montenegro is a young country still forming its identity. The food in Montenegro is varied and growing, just like the country. As this fledgling nation grows its national food identity also grows.
This is an area where grapes and grains both thrive, so wine and wheat-inspired dishes are plentiful. There is a strong influence from the cold climate and the neighboring nations. The food of Montenegro, like the country itself, is exciting, surprising, and unexpected.
Most Famous Food In Montenegro
Ćevapčići (Hand-Formed Sausage)
This is a traditional Montenegro food with a very long history. This dish was invented by cooks during the rule of the Ottoman empire and it has persisted in variations throughout the Balkans ever since. It is a simple dish, but filling and delicious.
Ćevapčići is made from minced meat and spices that are squeezed by hand into small sausage shapes. These small bites are grilled or sauteed to get a nice crispy exterior that makes them halfway between a sausage and a meatball. This food in Montenegro is often served with flatbread, sauces, and roots or vegetables.
Traditional Food In Montenegro
Cicvara (Cornmeal Porridge)
This humbly delicious food is a favorite in Montenegro. This dish is a rich medley of corn flour and cheese making the ultimate comfort food in Montenegro.
The corn flour is mixed with a variety of cheeses including kaymak to make a pudding/porridge-like dish. This Montenegrin food was developed by cooks with very little, and designed to satisfy!
Sarma (Cabbage Rolls)
These delicious bites are a classic food in Montenegro. It is a common dish in the Balkan region and you can often see it in surrounding countries. Sarma is a traditional cabbage roll and it will be found in Montenegro as an appetizer, side, or main.
Sarma are typically filled with a mixture of rice, herbs, and optionally meat. Some sarma are made vegetarian and some variations call for other wrappers like grape leaves.
Cheese making is huge in Montenegro. Cheese is made in home kitchens and by local artisans across the country. Pljevaljski is one of the most popular local cheeses throughout Montenegro.
Pljevaljski is a barrel-aged cheese and this gives it a strong smell and flavor. The brine the cheese ages in gives it a salty flavor and creamy texture. This Montenegrin food is enjoyed on its own or mixed into recipes.
Pasulj (Bean Stew)
This hearty comfort food in Montenegro is popular with locals on cold nights. Pasulj is a comforting stew that is popular throughout the Balkan region. Chefs in Montenegro truly know how to make this dish special and unique!
Pasulj consists of a mix of beans typically cooked in pork fat. The meaty beans are stewed with carrots, potatoes, onions, and other veggies to produce a layered and tasty stew. Pasulj is enjoyed with crusty bread on cool nights in Montenegro.
Lisnati Sir (Sheet Cheese)
Cheesemaking is more than just food in Montenegro. The art of making cheese is deeply entwined in their culture. Mothers teach their children homemade cheese recipes from a young age, and several commercial varieties of cheese can only be found in Montenegro; one such special cheese is Lisnati sir.
Lisnati sir is a local food in Montenegro that artisans have been crafting for decades. It is a raw milk cheese that is traditionally made in homes and small cheese shops around Montenegro. The cheese is shaped into thin sheets that have a mildly sweet and nutty flavor.
Food In Montenegro: Breakfast
Kačamak with Kajmak (Balkan Porridge)
This filling porridge is an all-the-time meal in Montenegro. Locals will eat this for a filling breakfast or as a hearty side dish. It’s so filling and hearty that it’s considered a good pre-work meal.
Kačamak is a humble porridge made from buckwheat, cornmeal, and sour milk. It can be enjoyed plain, but the best way to eat it is with local cheese. Kajmak is a commercially available soft cheese that takes this Montenegro food to whole new heights of deliciousness.
Burek (Savory Filled Pastry)
This phyllo pastry is made across all the Balkan nations and beyond. Burek in Montenegro is beloved for its flaky layers and savory fillings. This Montenegro food is made in a circle shape with layers of phyllo and minced meat and herb filling. It is enjoyed in the morning or afternoon as a filling handheld food.
If you want a sweet breakfast food in Montenegro, palačinke is just right! This dish is the Montenegro cuisine answer to crepes. They are sweet thin cakes that roll up into beautiful breakfast bites. Locals love to eat this sweet breakfast food with jam, honey, or fruit.
Food On Montenegro: Lunch, Sides, And Snacks
Njeguši Pršut (Prosciutto)
This wonderful savory snack is the pride of Montenegro and is often considered the Montenegro national dish. It is a rich and delicious form of cured ham; aromatic and full of salted meat flavor. This versatile food in Montenegro is regularly enjoyed with bread, cheese, and beyond.
Crni Rižot (Black Risotto)
In Montenegro, there is a beautiful coastline and it is full of great offerings for the dinner table. Crni Rižot is a traditional food in Montenegro made using squid or octopus ink. The risotto is cooked with the black ink from these seafaring creatures. It gives the dish its unique color and briny flavor.
This fried food is a favorite among locals in Montenegro. These small bites are served as snacks all across Montenegro. If you’re starving for a snack in Montenegro, Priganice is a perfect choice.
These small bites are made from a simple yeasted dough that is lightly sweetened. Some variations are made with sour cream for an extra tangy bite. Priganice are commonly served with fresh fruit, cream, or honey.
Rastan (Collard Greens)
If you are familiar with American Southern foods, this Montenegrin food may feel familiar. It is a flavorful side dish that is served in most restaurants and households across Montenegro. It has all the flavors of meat and greens in perfect balance.
Rastan is a blend of bitter, leafy greens sauteed with pork or bacon. There is so much flavor in these leafy greens thanks to the salty flavor of the meat they’re cooked in. This Montenegro food is served with many meaty main dishes.
Food In Montenegro: Dinner
This delicious main dish is beloved across Montenegro. Njeguski stek is a stuffed cut of meat that is served in restaurants across the country. It’s a wonderful medley of savory flavors that is very satisfying.
Njeguski stek is made up of a piece of pork that is filled with cheese and herbs. It is sometimes wrapped with local prosciutto before pan-frying or grilling the meat. This is a delicious bite of Balkan flavor to enjoy in Montenegro.
This flavorful Montenegin food is a gift from the local seas. Buzara is a true testament to Montenegrin bounty and cooking styles. This dish uses local seafood and wine to craft the perfect food of Montenegro.
Buzara is similar to shrimp scampi. It is a luscious medley of giant local shrimp cooked in a buttery wine sauce. It is a true taste of the simple and rich flavors that can be found all over Montenegro.
Brav u Mlijeku (Lamb In Milk)
This generous stew has everything you need to fill you up! Dairy is paramount in Montenegrin foods and this dish has it in droves. Brav u mlijeku is a classic food in Montenegro made from lamb and vegetables that are stewed in milk.
Generally, Brav u mlijeku has lamb, potatoes, and carrots, but some variations exist. The milk gives everything a tangy, cooked milk flavor. This flavor is enjoyed by the cheese-loving locals and this stew may be eaten as a humble but filling traditional dish.
Musaka is enjoyed in many countries, but every country puts its unique spin on this classic dish. This food in Montenegro is prepared with layers of potato and minced meat and then baked to delicious perfection. This Montenegrin food can be found in homes and restaurants all across Montenegro.
FLAVORS AROUND THE WORLD
Šampita (Meringue Cake)
This sweet treat is popular throughout the Balkans. It is the perfect sweet food in Montenegro to chase the rich main dishes you will find here. Šampita is made with a thin layer of sponge cake topped with a very thick layer of sweet meringue. This cake has a texture that is light as air and it’s sure to satisfy even the strongest sweet tooth!
Heljdija (Buckwheat Pie)
This beautiful Balkan cake is beloved by locals in Montenegro for its sweet and creamy flavors. Heljdija is a traditional dessert food in Montenegro. It is made from thin layers of buckwheat cake interchanged with layers of smooth cheesy filling. This dessert has perfect balance and is not too sweet. Enjoy this Montenegrin food with a hot cup of coffee.
Patispanj (Sponge Cake)
This classic dessert is an absolute must in Montenegro. Patispanj is a simple sponge cake that is enjoyed throughout Montenegro. This delightfully moist and airy dessert has many variations and they are all delicious. It is common to see this dessert food in Montenegro paired with fresh fruit sauces, honey, or simply powdered sugar. Patispanj is a nice reminder that simple is so sweet!
Discovering Traditional Food In Montenegro
There is so much interest and history to uncover in Montenegro. You can get lost in their spectacular national parks and then find your way to the delicious dinner table. No exploration in Montenegro is complete without some excellent local Montenegro food! Indulge in some true surprises with all the delicious flavors you will find in Montenegro!