Bosnia has a…complicated…history. I won’t be able to do it justice here, so I really recommend checking out Lonely Planet, The Cellist of Sarajevo, podcast episodes about the Bosnian War from Reflecting History, or other great resources.
When it comes to food in Bosnia today, it is primarily influenced by the 400 years that Bosnia was under Ottoman control, with dishes like kofta, baklava and Turkish coffee, while some influences also remain from the 50 years of Austro-Hungarian rule, with dishes like goulash.
The best way to describe Bosnian food is hearty. While not my favorite cuisine, if you do happen upon it, below is what you’ll find. And, believe it or not, there are two Bosnian restaurants in Houston where you can try it for yourself:
- Emina Bosnian Grill (food truck) in Katy
- Cafe Adel in Tanglewood
Bosnian food is very meat-forward, with cevapi being the country’s most popular dish: a minced meat (often beef and lamb) and onion kebab, similar to something you would see at a Turkish restaurant.
This is a dip made out of sweet bell peppers and eggplants, which is often served alongside cevapi.
Cabbage leaves stuffed with meat and rice, similar to something you would get at a Romanian food fest.
While these may look like giant cinnamon rolls, they’re actually burek, a flaky, savory filo pastry stuffed with meat, spinach, cheese or a combination there of. The spinach ones are kind of like the Greek spanakopita, but meat is the most popular filling. They are topped with sour cream, similar to Russian pelmeni dumplings.
Can’t forget this! No meal is complete without a Turkish coffee and some sweets like baklava, revani or Turkish delight (lokum).
If you find yourself in Bosnia (which I highly, highly recommend!), there’s a lot to experience beyond the food:
1 night in Mostar
- Home to the famous Ottoman bridge that was destroyed during the Yugoslav Wars and then rebuilt thanks to funds from UNESCO
- Many other structures in Mostar have not been as lucky with funds and are still scarred from the war, either pockmarked with bullet holes or completely bombed out
- About an hour away, visit the Kravica Waterfall and the Fortress of Herzog Stjepan
2 nights in Sarajevo, the capital city
- Sac: A local shop only serving burek, for around $1.50 each
- Karuzo: Our favorite meal in Bosnia was actually at this one-man show vegetarian restaurant in old town, with a very, very long menu
- Bascarsija: The Ottoman market, with shops selling Turkish coffee and brass goods
- Gallery 11/07/95: A reverent photo exhibition + audio guide about the Srebrenica Genocide
- Sarajevo Museum 1878-1918: The spot where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was shot, sparking WWI
- Cable car up to Trebevic: The top of the mountain is home to the 1984 Olympic bobsled track, which just 10 years later was used as a sniper mount by the Serbians during the three-year siege of Sarajevo
- Sarajevo City Hall: Destroyed and completely rebuilt after the war, the building is a superb example of Moorish architecture and currently houses the city’s modern art collection
1 night at one of the river rafting camps near the Montenegrin border
- Rafting Center RT: We only stopped here for lunch, but it looks like a good choice, with a pool, cute cabins and a rooftop bar overlooking the river