Shish Kebab


by Stefan Plavsic

Belgrade, Believe it or not, a “Boulevard of Hungry People” really exists. It has a regular name but people call it this because of the restaurant “Shish“, which is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, feeding hungry people, and is why there are always lines of people queuing on the street. The restaurant is in New Belgrade and is famous for its main dish – Shish Kebab, a thin and long piece of fried minced pork roasted in sauce of oil and classic barbecue spices. Shish smells like the mixed scent of roasted wood and crunchy pork. It is made of high quality meat, crunchy brown on the top and the bottom. On the sides of shish, the meat is light gray and is extremely soft. Shish is served in a soft roll which almost melts in your mouth without chewing.

“The roll is salty, but it is so nice that in some moments, it can be sweet.” said Jasmina Krizanac, a regular at the restaurant. “Very important part of Shish kebab are the supplements, and you can choose between over twenty of them. One of them is sour cream which is white, moderate, refreshing and smells like the sea and the beach.”

Mile Todorovic, queuing for this piece of “God’s gift,“ said that the “Urnebes salad“ (mixed salad with cheese and chili peppers) and roasted shish makes life worth living. According to him, finely chopped onions can add rather sweet than spicy taste.

While shish is not originally a Serbian food, it has become one. It was brought to the Balkans by the Turks during the long Ottoman Empire’s rule. Serbs have adjusted the dish to their own culture, using pork instead of lamb. From the original Turkish recipe, the meat was not ground but chopped. Turkish Shish is kept in a marinade of yogurt, olive oil and garlic before baking.

Shish was deeply influenced by Balkan cuisine culture. For most nations in the Balkans, shish feels like domestic food. This merging of different influences has become one of the Balkan’s biggest cultural wealth.