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Survival Guide: How to Be a Vegetarian or Vegan in Bosnia and Herzegovina

One of the hardest things on the planet, to be a Vege in the Balkans

Photo: Ilma Ibrisevic Facebook / Pixabay

Hear me out. I know Bosnia and Herzegovina is not particularly vegetarian or vegan-friendly, and it’s true that meat is starring in most of the traditional meals. However, if you are creative and if you plan ahead, the options are numerous (and have been steadily increasing in number for the past two years).

Where to eat out? Vegetarians will find it easier than vegans to find places to eat while they’re out and about, but vegans should not worry either. You have also probably seen a chart about Vegetarian friendliness per country where BiH has won the no1. spot as the least friendly to Vegetarians, because this is a land of tasty bbq meat.

1. Vapiano (Franca Lehara 2)

Located in Alta Shopping Center, Vapiano is a safe choice. It is tidy, spacious and luminous. It serves salads, pastas, pizzas, and desserts. Vegetarian options are plenty. Vegans could get the pasta pomodoro (tomato sauce), pasta arrabiata (spicy tomato sauce), and aglio e oglio (olive oil and garlic sauce). You can choose between various shapes of pasta, including linguini, penne etc. To make it vegan, ask for no cheese.

2. Falafel (Đulagina čikma)

Located in the Old Town of Sarajevo, this is an affordable choice for vegetarian and vegans exploring Bascarsija. You can choose from wraps, sandwiches, and other Middle-Eastern dishes. Some contain yoghurt or milk, but many are vegan and/or can be made vegan.

3. Klopa (Ferhadija 5)

With its picnic-like decor, this picturesque spot on bustling Ferhadija, Klopa is another good choice, especially for vegetarians. Risottos, veggie burgers, pizzas. Veggie burger comes highly recommended, and you can veganize it. You can also get very good baked potatoes and grilled veggies as another vegan option. The staff is very accommodating.

4. Food Market (3 floor, Vrbanja 1)

Located in a mall, Sarajevo City Center, Food Market consists of various stalls/market areas serving different cuisines. Burgers, pizzas, salads, omelettes, pastas, curries, woks, burritos, etc. are all on the menu. The food is prepared fresh to order and the space is spacious and bright. Many options for vegetarians, vegans are recommended to order a vegan wok (you might not find it on the menu, but you can ask for it).

While at Sarajevo City Center, you can also visit the Juice and Smoothie Bar located on the third floor for smoothies, juices, and salads. Additional bonus: plant milks available!

5. Snogu (Čobanija 4)

Sarajevo is on fire! Another relatively recent addition to the restaurant scene, Wok Snogu offers snacks, rice woks, noodle woks and fusilli woks.

6. Slatko i Slano (Ložionička br. 9.)

Opened in 2010, Slatko i Slano offers a variety of pizzas, sandwiches, pastas, risottos, desserts, with quite a few vegetarian options. As of very recently, they started offering hummus, falafel, and salad with tofu as vegan options – all clearly marked vegan. A small step, but a giant leap…

7. Karuzo (Dženetića čikma)

Equipped with excellent reviews and an innovative chef, Karuzo definetely draws in a crowd. Make sure you book in advance (but really, do this or you can be refused at the door). Sasha, the owner and the chef, is vegan himself, so you are in for a treat. Karuzo has an extensive menu of vegan, vegetarian, and pescetarian food options. Though expensive by Bosnian standards, the price is well worth it. The food is fresh, of good quality, and delicious!

If you would rather avoid “international” food like pastas, sandwiches, and pizzas, and would prefer something more traditional…

8. Buregdzinica Bosna (Bravadžiluk 11)

Try pitas. Bosnian pastry rolls can be found practically everywhere. Buregdzinica Bosna is one of the most popular ones. Vegetarians can taste sirnica (filled with cheese), zeljanica (filled with spinach or other greens and cheese), tikvenica (filled with zuccchini). In Buregdzinica Bosna, vegans can also find something to eat. Krompirusa (filled with potatoes) is vegan, just ask for no sour cream on top. My personal favourite!

For more traditional Bosnian veggie food, head over to ASDZ for delicious bean stews (no sour cream for vegans) and Bosanska Kuca for stuffed peppers and soups. Try the local flatbread: somun (try it with ajvar -also vegan), and make sure to taste the local desserts. Many are surprisingly vegan: tufahija, baklava, tulumba. Just double check for variations in preparation (and prepare for a sugar rush)!

For dry fruit and nuts, head to locally famous Badem. As a vegetarian, feast on desserts in Becka Kafana, famous ice cream in Egipat, and a variety of European-style desserts in Vatra, one of city’s most popular spots. Buy veggie and vegan specialties (like tofu, plant milks…) in DM shops, Makrovita (in BBI center), and in some bigger Konzum supermarkets. The choice is ever expanding.

Don’t miss out on fresh organic vegetables and fruit at local markets (usually outside). The most famous is Markale. Grab some veggies for a home-cooked meal or some fruit as a snack while out and about.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is HUGE on coffee drinking. As a vegetarian, you’re pretty much covered, but even vegans have a couple of spots offering soy lattes: Spazio and Torte i To. Both are pretty fancy spots, but hey, everything for that soy latte, am I right? If that is not your thing, try the traditional Bosnian coffee (some also call it Turkish coffee) served almost everywhere in the Old Town.

Honorable mentions:

KimonoPirpa (for a delicious falafel wrap), Taj Mahal (for some Indian goodies), Tegla (for salads in jars), Mala Kuhinja, BarhanaBut hey… Sarajevo is not the only place in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Though it’s the one I know best, with some help from my friends, here are some spots you can eat out in Banja Luka and Mostar. Comment below if you know a spot in your town!

Banja Luka

Zen – Restoran zdrave hrane (Srpska 101)

Offering vegetarian, vegan, macrobiotic, gluten free, and even raw options, Zen definitely stands out in Banja Luka and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Eggs, sandwiches, soups, tortillas… There is something for everyone. Porridge with soy milk, raw pizzas, veggie burgers, and even raw desserts! A real life-saver for all dietary requirements. Other notable mentions are Zeleno Naruci and Aj’ Zdravo.

Mostar

Teco (Stjepana Radića bb)

Non-smoking, and a welcome change and addition to the food scene in Mostar, Teco offers a variety of veggie options. Wraps, chillis, soups, gluten free, vegan, and raw desserts.

Other notable options include Food House and Sadrvan.

When it comes to the offer of veggie specialties, Bosnia and Herzegovina is still lagging behind its neighbours, especially the rest of Europe. However, not all hope is lost.

In fact, there have never been more options, and it has never been easier to eat veggie in Bosnia and Herzegovina. And all evidence shows it’s going to become easier and easier. Bon appétit!

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