To say Ćevapi is a Balkan type of sausage wouldn’t be strictly true. With most types of sausage, the meat is enclosed in some form of skin. Ćevapi has no outer skin. It’s more like a mincemeat kebab without a stick through the centre. Though, when cooked, Ćevapi can look very sausage-like.
Ćevapi is one of the national dishes of Croatia and, neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina. It’s also popular in most of the other Balkan countries including Serbia, and North Macedonia.
During the month I spent living in North Macedonia, I went to a cafeteria and asked for some traditional Macedonian food. They served me five Ćevapi on a plate with a spring onion.
In Belgrade, when I went into a restaurant and asked for a traditional Serbian meal, they suggested the same thing. This time it was served with chips and salad.
In Serbia, It’s also possible to buy this popular Balkan food from fast food joints, where it’s served in a flatbread. Often along with some salad.
Depending on where they are made, Ćevapi may contain beef, lamb, pork, or a mixture of meats. It’s usually offered in a choice of five or ten pieces.
The History of Ćevapi
So where does Ćevapi really originate from? Unfortunately, that’s hard to say. It’s been around a long time and is older than many of the present-day countries. Along with several other Balkan countries, Croatia, Serbia, and North Macedonia used to be part of Yugoslavia.
Going back even further, all these countries and more were part of the Ottoman Empire. Countries have borders, food does not. Ćevapi was created somewhere in the Balkans during the Ottoman Period.
My Opinion of Ćevapi
What I’ve noticed about this popular Balkan food is the flavour and texture of the meat can vary from one establishment to the next. The best-tasting Ćevapi I tried was at the restaurant in Belgrade where they served it with chips and salad. It wasn’t just flavour I preferred. The texture was better as well and it only cost me 320 RSD (€2.70).
Of course, it’s cheaper still if you buy it in a bun from a fast food joint.
Based on my own experience, I would say, if you are in the Balkans, and want to try this traditional Balkan “sausage” it may be better to go to a cafe or restraint instead of a fast-food joint.
However, even if you buy it from a fast-food joint and eat it on the go, it will be a good alternative to a burger. You can buy burgers anywhere in the world, Ćevapi is something more specific to the Balkans.
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