You have not been anywhere in the world if you have not enjoyed the aromas and flavours of its cuisine
There are two possible ways to get to know a city, an area or a country. However attentively you look at facades, streets, squares, prominent landmarks and hidden gems, even if the looking comes doused with rich, tested knowledge – all it is, in the end, is just that: looking. Getting to know something that way means you stick to the surface, to the dressing. And the dressing is just one – although, for tourists, the most important – form of presentation of any place in the world. Especially a place that has something to show you.
This is the other, inner part, comprised of people, their habits and customs, their way of life, language, culture, cuisine. Yes, cuisine is always a special chapter in the book of any culture. And the importance of national cuisine is not necessarily tied to the dimensions of the national culture. Thanks to the significance and greatness of a nation like the French, Italian or Japanese, culture can only become more popular – and more global. Very original cuisines with centuries old, preserved and perfected recipes have still not gained global popularity (some because of the nations they belong to, which have not managed to impose themselves on the global scale, some because of exotic and not readily available ingredients). In a way, this is a good thing, as it leaves room for hope that there are still special, unique things in the world and that not everything has been discovered and packaged into some globally easily available instant version of itself. This very fact increases the joy of discovery, getting to know something at a higher level.
On the other hand, Belgrade truly is a dining room featuring the most prominent cuisines in the world. This is one of the preconditions a city has to meet, in order to be considered a metropolis – regardless of its size. In the central stretch, from Kalemegdan to Slavija, you can enjoy the most dominant European cuisines (from French to Turkish). In Dorćol, English breakfast is complemented by a plum pudding, as tradition commands and not stripped down to the globally popular version served in hotels.
Almost every restaurant offers Italian cuisine, which has become an extension of the national cuisine and is served all over Serbia – being also available in fast-food incarnations. Vračar is an oasis for Eastern cuisines, featuring the popular flavours of Asia – Lebanese, Vietnamese, Malaysian. Tried and tested good sushi can be found in different locations throughout the city and, having at first been considered “snob food”, it has now become a favourite of many, as witnessed by the number of restaurants serving this Japanese specialty.
Chinese cuisine is literally a given, especially for busy professionals who rely on quick food delivery to compensate for the lack of time to cook, but there are also restaurants to give you the whole atmosphere. National cuisine lives in ethno houses and restaurants with the same label, and, as a rule, these are facilities brimming with guests from all over the globe. This, exactly is the point. From the viewpoint of gastronomy, Belgrade truly is the world and very few would dare dispute that. Thus, a table in a restaurant is a sure way to get to know at least a part of the soul of this city.