What the cluck?
One of the most pleasant surprises about Belgrade-so far-has been the green markets throughout the city. Muz and I literally stumbled on one last Sunday. The markets are a great resource for several reasons: first, the food is fresh, organic and reasonably priced. Second, the scenery is excellent–babushkas carrying tons of cabbage for pickling, restauranteurs drinking beer from walk-up storefronts, stray dogs convening in sunny spots, and more. Finally, the best reason is that it’s one of the few places you can ensure that you’re going to have a vegetarian meal.
I’m not always a vegetarian, but I generally avoid eating red meat, chicken and pork. In the States, that’s easy to do. Here…not so much. I had read that Serbia was a land of meat-eaters but I had no idea how true that was. During first restaurant experience here, a meal at the excellent Zaplet, I spread what I thought was olive tapenade on my bread to discover it was pate. Not just pate–veal pate. Oops. (It was really good though, and I figured I had already eaten some of it, so…)
While at the market, Muz began to protest the high vegetable content of my purchases. While I’m a “flex-eterian”, Muz is just a straight-up carnivore. I saw some roasting chickens and promised him I would buy one the next day for dinner.
The next day, I went to the market only to discover that the chickens were gone. Not just the whole chickens. I couldn’t even find a chicken part. Undaunted, I went to a supermarket. No chickens there either. I even tried another green market. No luck.
What gives? Is it illegal to sell chicken during the week? Is there a world shortage of chicken I don’t know about? They’re a staple protein throughout the world. They’re always crossing roads to get to the other side. The other side of Serbia, apparently. How is it that I see a hundred different cuts of beef, most unrecognizable, but not chicken?
Readers, I’m not giving up. I don’t even want the freakin’ chicken, but this is a matter of pride. Until then, Muz is getting to really like eggs and salads. Maybe I’ll turn him into a vegetarian after all.