Deciphering the Pekara: What’s What at a Serbian Pastry Shop

Loaves of bread, baguettes, and other baked goods in a basket.

If you’ve ever been to a Serbian pastry shop, you know the alluring aroma of freshly baked bread and other baked goods. You also know there’s so much to choose from. What you might not know is what to buy and how to ask for each pastry.

Since we want you to feel confident and take advantage of all the delectable baked goods Serbian bakeries offer, we compiled a guide to Serbian pastries. Read on to learn all about Serbian pastry shops and what delicacies you can buy there!

What’s What at Serbian Pastry Shops

In Serbian, pastry shops and bakeries are called pekara. These are small shops available everywhere, and they sell all sorts of peciva (pastries or baked goods) and other  foods and desserts

Additionally, most of them offer drinks and dairy products, such as yogurts and milkshakes. 

So here’s a list of different goods you can buy at Serbian bakeries.

1. Hleb

Hleb (bread) is the cornerstone of Serbian cuisine. Of course, you can find it at any bakery. But since it comes in different shapes and sizes, what should you choose? 

  • Beli hleb

White bread is the most common option. It’s made of wheat and comes in loaves. 

  • Ražani (crni) hleb

Black or rye bread is a healthier choice and you’ll recognize it by its darker color.

  • Somun (lepinja)

Somun or lepinja is a small, round-shaped bread that you’ll often get in a restaurant or when you buy ćevapi.

  • Baget

Baget (baguette) isn’t Serbian, but Serbs like it which means you’ll find it in most bakeries.

Several loaves of dark bread on a shelf.
Ražani hleb 🍞

2. Burek

The superstar of every Serbian bakery is burek. This layered pie-like breakfast, filled with minced meat and onion, beats toast and eggs every time. Dripping in oil, it’s certainly not a light breakfast or the healthiest choice. However, burek is so satisfying that with one portion, you won’t get hungry until dinner. 

Burek is baked in a round dish, and since the whole thing is enormous, you can ask for četvrtina (a quarter) or osmina (an eighth), depending on the level of your hunger. 

Četvrtina bureka i jogurt

3. Pita

Serbian pita is different from the pies you’d eat in America. It consists of many thin layers full of different fillings. The most popular are pita sa sirom (cheese pie), pita sa spanaćem (spinach pie), and pita sa pečurkama (mushroom pie).


Serbian pastry shops also sell sweet pies, and you can choose from pita sa višnjama (cherry pie) and pita sa jabukama (apple pie).

4. Rol viršla

Rol viršla is very similar to pigs in a blanket. Basically, it’s a hot dog inside of a puff pastry. Since roll viršla is satisfying and inexpensive, it’s a great choice for a quick meal.

5. Pica

Most bakeries offer pica. But you should know these aren’t as nice as pizzas you order from a pizza shop. Also, there’s only one kind of pizza available, and usually, it’s a simple capricciosa. However, at a bakery, you can buy a single piece of pizza (parče pice). 

So if you’re not too hungry and only want a quick bite, buying pizza at a bakery is an excellent choice.

A piece of pizza on a wooden counter.
Parče pice 🍕

6. Sendvič

Although sendvič is simple food, in Serbian bakeries, there’re many kinds of sandwiches to choose from. The most popular are:

  • Sendvič sa šunkom (ham)
  • Sendvič sa piletinom (chicken)
  • Sendvič sa pršutom (prosciutto)
  • Sendvič sa kulenom (spicy salami)
A sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and meat, on a black plate.
Sendvič sa pršutom 🥪

7. Proja

Proja is a bread made of corn flour. Many people consider it a healthier choice than white bread, and people trying to lose weight opt for it because of its lower calorie count. Regardless, the taste, texture, and yellow color make it unique, so we recommend you try it next time you’re at a pekara.

Proja 🌽

8. Pereca / đevrek / pletenica

These are all simple baked goods made of plain dough. The biggest difference between them is the shape. So, pereca (pretzel) resembles a knot, đevrek (bagle) is ring-shaped, and pletenica is braided. But, whichever you choose, you won’t go wrong. 

A hand holding a pretzel.
Pereca 🥨

9. Kiflice

Kiflice are moon-shaped bread rolls with different fillings. Most popular are kiflice sa sirom (cheese), kiflice sa džemom (jam) and kiflice sa šunkom (ham). Also, thanks to their small size, they are an excellent travel snack.

Small moon-shaped pastries.
Kiflice sa sirom

10. Krofna

Unlike America doughnuts, Serbian krofna has no hole. It’s fluffy and hollow and sometimes filled with jam (krofna sa džemom) or chocolate (krofna sa čokoladom). But most often, it’s only sprinkled with powdered sugar. 

Although not very healthy, krofna is a comfort food, so make sure you try it next time you visit a Serbian pastry shop.

11. Jogurt

While in most countries, you’d eat yogurt with a spoon, in Serbia, you drink it. As a typical inhabitant of any Serbian pastry shop, jogurt goes well with burek, sendvič, or proja. Also, it perfectly complements the sweetness of krofna sa čokoladom, thanks to its refreshing sour flavor. All in all, any food tastes better with a nice cup of jogurt.

Bonus Phrases and Vocab to Use in Pekara

Serbian

English

pekara

bakery / pastry shop

peciva

baked goods / pastries

salveta

napkin

tanjir 

plate

Za ovde ili za poneti?

For here or to go?

keš

kartica

cash

credit card

kusur

change

Conversation example:

Customer: Dobar dan. (Hello.)

Shop asst: Dobar dan. Izvolite. (Hello. How may I help you?)

Customer: Daćete mi jednu rol viršlu i čašu jogurta. (Please give me a pig in a blanket and a cup of yogurt.)

Shop asst: Za ovde ili za poneti? (For here or to go?)

Customer: Za ovde. (For here.)

Shop asst: Izvolite. Tu su Vam salvete. (Here you go. You have napkins over here.)

Customer: Mogu li da platim karticom? (Can I pay by card?)

Shop asst: Ne, primamo samo keš. (No, we only take cash.)

Customer: Izvolite, ne treba kusur. (Here you go, keep the change.)

Shop asst: Hvala. Prijatno! (Thank you. Enjoy your meal.)

Learn Serbian at Serbian Pastry Shops

Now you know what you can buy at a Serbian pastry shop. So why don’t you practice the Serbian language and buy some tasty burek or krofna? Undoubtedly, studying a language is more fun if you can enjoy delicious local cuisine along the way. 

Also, it’s more fun when you learn with others. So why don’t you apply for group Serbian conversation lessons and share your love for food and Serbian with your fellow learners?

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