What Makes Burek So Special In Slavic Cuisine

Countries tend to identify with a quintessential dish that represents their culture. In Korea, it's kimchi. In Norway, it's lutefisk. In Germany, it's sausage. And for several Slavic countries, it's burek. 

There is no standard recipe for burek as it varies by country, but the similarity across all countries is the dough is stuffed with different fillings. In Turkey, burek can have many different kinds of fillings, but in Bosnia, it is most commonly stuffed with meat (per World Food Story). In Bosnia, recipes can be found with other fillings, such as cheese, spinach, or potatoes, but are considered potato pie or cheese pie. The two most standard burek recipes in Bosnia are ciza (tubular shape and sold in bulk) and whirligig (found in bakeries).

The Croatian version of burek also contains a variety of fillings, including cheese, meat, spinach, and apple, per Chasing the Donkey. The dough consistently used for Croatian burek is phyllo. Despite burek's popularity in many countries, the dish is most commonly found in Bosnia and Herzegovina, notes Taste Atlas. It is said if a woman bakes a delicious burek, she is ready for marriage. 

What is burek?

Though burek became popular among the general population because it is inexpensive and available around the clock, teenagers have fallen in love with the pastry because it's greasy and served in large portions, according to RTV Slovenia. Love for burek across Balkan countries — Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Croatia — is so strong that restaurants specializing in the dish are common, per Analida's Ethnic Spoon. In Bosnia, restaurants that specialize in burek are called buregdinice, according to World Food Story, and these businesses can be found even in small towns. While there are many specialty burek shops, there is fierce competition for who serves the best burek.

For those looking to satiate burek cravings but don't feel like eating in a restaurant, burek is sold in stores. Others prefer to make it at home, for which there are many recipes regionally seasoned and prepared. In addition to the Balkans, burek can be found in North Africa, and variations of burek are eaten in Greece, Turkey, and the Middle East (via Chasing the Donkey). No matter whether you are eating burek for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a snack, burek is often served with yogurt (via Rakija Lounge).