Friday 5 May 2023

Vegan in Novi Sad: Vegan Restaurants in Novi Sad, Farmers Markets and More!

vegan restaurant novi sad

We were surprised how good (small but good!) the Novi Sad vegan scene was! There are currently three properly vegan restaurants, many pekaras (bakeries) with posno (basically vegan, see below) pastries, wonderful farmers' markets (we managed to identify three), many many mikromarkets (greengrocers') everywhere, organic food shops (Zdrava Hrana) and supermarkets with decent produce and all the other stuff usually need (esp. powdered flax seed).

vegan restaurants novi sad

Novi Sad was the first Serbian city we stayed in for more than a couple of nights. We weren't sure we would actually arrive: our original goal was Belgrade, which had been our goal for at least two years: to simply be able to revisit there after lockdown, from one Eastern European capital (Budapest) to another. Actually, once, in the midst of the pandemic in 2020, around December in locked-down Budapest, having failed to get over the border via bus (which had all stopped), we caved and bought flight tickets to Belgrade - we hated Budapest so much at that time Moon even wrote a poem about it. It was dark, wintry, cold, with a curfew between 8pm and 5am (which made no sense really). We were both living and working at home together, in a studio apartment, driving each other crazy. We just hated Hungary, its dominantly crypto-f*sc1stoid (very often not even crypto) culture and terrible administration... Belgrade seemed like a haven we could escape to. Not too far, not too close, a doable trip.

novi sad vegan restaurant

Unfortunately, the epidemic hit and total lockdown included closed borders. We lost our flight tickets and the airwave companies did not refund us at all. They probs saw this coming and decided to make some extra profit off naive would-be travellers like us - and so we decided to keep our resolution once and for all: we'd try to not fly at all from then on, wherever possible. It was the last drop for us regarding airlines which we've been becoming more and more disappointed with for so long anyway. We began to plan over-landing to Belgrade a year later - and more carefully.

novi sad vegan restaurants

By then, the third wave of the pandem1c was over and everything was more lax. We chose to go by train, bought tickets from Keleti railway station in Budapest to just across the border in Subotica (in case they didn't let us over). Once in Subotica, we spent two night in a hostel in a tiny, claustrophobic little room with a bunk bed, and booked an apartment in Novi Sad as quickly as possible - simply because Novi Sad is closer than Belgrade and as it was on the way we figured we might as well check out the vegan scene there.

Vegan Novi Sad: the Vibe of the City

Novi Sad is around halfway between Subotica and Belgrade. We stayed there for a month and a half and enjoyed it thoroughly. It's a rural city, very chill (as they say) and relaxed, beautiful, right by the Danube. It was chosen by the current centralised powers that be to be the cultural capital of Europe in 2021 with the famous Exit festival taking place here every summer. As one of our Serbian friends Natalija put it, Novi Sad has this stereotypical ambivalence (according to Beogradians, at least) of being full of laid-back cyclers and at the same time also having a strong local antifa core group with a tradition of people literally going out into the streets to beat up f*sc1sts (note: even though we are big fans of self-defence, unchecked physical violence is uncool... always try to go for the most peaceful solution first, people!). They also have a great hardcore punk scene and some vegan restaurants (the former probs having ties with both the antifa people and the vegan scene).

vegan novi sad

We also witnessed many many dog owners walking their dog without leashes - a lesser evil, albeit a definitive improvement over Hungary's and the West's 'mandatory leashes and collars almost everywhere policy - and a lot of feral / free ranging and roaming cats and dogs often very peacefully basking in the sun. They are communally fed by the residents of the city on the streets - this is something like the road to total liberation of non-human animals, dear readers! It would be nice if urban environments became more welcoming for nomadic non-human animals, too.

vegan novi sad

It's much better than the attitude towards non-humans in Hungary where it's all about policing and control: catching them, locking them up, genital-mutilating them and them giving them to 'owners' as private property. Hungarians (along with the rest of Western Europe) are so proud of these coercive 'solutions', frequently presenting them as a proof of being 'civilised'. Note: these 'solutions' are very similar to the 'solutions' to 'problem' of nomadic urban humans that the Orban administration put forward and enacted: banning them from inner city Budapest areas, deporting them elsewhere - basically cleansing the streets of nomadic, non-settled down elements who are treated like second-class citizens or downright property (in the case of non-humans).

veganski restoran novi sad

Anyway, back to Novi Sad, which is, as I've said, very lax (in a good way). There's also lots of graffiti - some of it vegan! When it comes to politics, they're out on the street - we actually came across an antifa demonstration one day. We were heading to an ATM when we accidentally bumped into this crowd of people with antifa and anarchist flags proper, commemorating the driving out of the fascist Hungarian army in 1942 by the Partisan Army. This place is laden with history and there's another side of this story, of course: this is the area where my grandfather had to run away from with his mother (my great-grandma).

vegan in Serbia

The Partisan army did drive out the f*sc1st Hungarian army that committed genocide and ethnic cleansing of civilian Jews and Serbs in 1942, which is very true and terribly sad - the other side of the story is that the Partisans, the Red Army then proceeded to take revenge in 1944 and cleansed the region of Germans, Hungarians and non-conforming Serbs. Around 40 thousand people were murdered, many of them civilian, children and women. It's complex history and one-sidedness never helps - also, fug lex tallionis! Violent revenge is never a good solution to violence, it just furthers the cycle of abuse and causes terrible intergenerational trauma.

There were three vegan restaurants in Novi Sad, all of which we've visited. A lot of high rises and tower blocks, some nice old Viennese bougie architecture. Plus all the graffiti (left, liberal and right-wing, there are obviously gang wars going on in the night with spray cans). There's also a hardcore punk scene which unfortunately we didn't get to see and hear much of. Lots of trees and green. Here's what Novi Sad and the Vegan Novi Sad scene was like for us!

Vegan Restaurants In Novi Sad (Plus Take-Away)

Note: we used to find these restaurants, Wolt for take away (not recommended, they are quite cr*ppy about labour rights and it's all wage labour anyway) and if you wanna rate these restaurants, plz use Abillionveg: you can support animal sanctuaries by reviewing vegan products from your couch. It's a cool app, we wrote about it here. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS, and then you are supporting us as well, not only the animals. Thanks :)

#1. Ananda Vegan Restaurant, Novi Sad

The first vegan restaurant that we tried in Novi Sad was Anandas. Decorative-wise it's so cute - they have reused graters as lampshades 😍 Food wise, there's a daily menu, sandwiches, soup, falaffel, hummus, cous cous, 'cheese'cake and more.

novi sad vegan food

On the downside, we felt like the quality of the food was lacking a bit. It's essentially a hipster cafeteria in a high-rent area hence medium-quality food at higher prices - we felt like much of the value that we were paying for was the rent (it is in a good central city centre area).

vegan scene novi sad

The food was dressed up fancy, it did look really nice, but the taste of it was a bit lacking - e.g. we had the falafel with hummus and olives, and the olives seemed to be the value ones you get at the supermarket. - not that I don't ever buy value olives myself, it's just when I buy them myself they're a lot cheaper. The soup was the type that's cooked in bulk and kept hot in a big vat to be dolled out to customers - not bad but also not worth the price. Overall, more effort went into the presentation than the actual food in our opinion. We had the cheese cake here too which - like most vegan cheese cakes - was not cheese cakey at all. It was yummy, but don't expect cheesey flavours. Ananda isn't a terrible place at all, the staff were nice, the location is good, there's a good selection, and we'd still recommend that you visit. It's just compared to the other vegan restaurants in Novi Sad it wasn't as good. But that's just based on our taste buds, yours may be different :)

#2. Plant Power, Novi Sad

novi sad vegans

In contrast, next we went to Plant Power Novi Sad and I was completely blown away by their tofu 'omelette'. It had the perfect texture, was filling and delectable. TBH it was so good I've been thinking about it ever since (literally, it's two months later and I'm still thinking about it). I don't think I've had an omelette since I went vegan so it was nice to experience that again (sans chicken ovum). All in all, a very decent restaurant. This one was defo our favourite overal. If you only have the time and budget to go to just one place, we'd recommend going to this one. It's a bit further out, but still not far from Ananda or Rekalibracija. (All three are it the same area basically). They had cool music, huge portions and a very kind waiter. I gotta emphasise: that vegan omelette was so good, it looked professional & was super tasty. Their salad and tofu sandwich was also very nice. I also had grapefruit juice, which was delicious.

vegans in novi sad

We also ordered food from them once via courier (Wolt), which took about 40 mins. It was an experience very different to the one we had in the restaurant itself. It seems that they have their in-restaurant stuff down to a T, but their online food is different. Maybe it's because it doesn't travel well or maybe it's because we just ordered something completely different. But we had a pizza that reminded us of a '90s veggie-festival pizza: it was essential hummus on bread dough - not pizza dough - not bad, just not really like a pizza more like an open topped sandwich shaped like a pizza. We also had their 'protein burger' which Tamás really liked - it came with a nice dark, dense, filling and healthy rye bread. They also gave us cheap, deep frozen fries - the zig-zaggy ones. Based off the take-out situation (which we actually had first before going to the restaurant), I would have expected their restaurant to also be kinda ish-ish. But the restaurant experience is much better, if you have the option dine in not out.

#3. Rekalibracija Veganski, All-Vegan Fast Food Restaurant, Novi Sad

vegan in novi sad

This one was vegan street food - I mean proper vegan junk food. Very tasty, not very healthy, wrapped in lots of plastic :( It's located right next to one of the main Novi Sad markets so after yer dose of carbs, sugar, salt and oil, you can go and buy some raw fruit & veg. It's like a street food kiosk, they had some benches and tables outside, right next to the (quite noisy and air-polluted) road, there's no inside place to sit down. It was cute though and does seem to be popular, and not just with hip young vegans - there were some real old timers there too :) I'm not sure if they were there for posno or if they were elderly vegans, either way, it was cool to see them there.

vegan serbia

I preferred the burger bun there (but Tamás liked the one at Plant Power more). The cheesecake here was better than the Ananda one - it was coconuty! - and their vegan hot dog (with seitan) was amazing, it was the most faux meaty vegan thing we've eaten in a while. They also had nice (way too sugary but you know, junk food 'nice') elderberry juice and lemonade. Eating plant-based isn't necessarily healthy when you live on stuff like this. We recommend going high raw & doing a whole food plant-based diet a la Dr. Greger as much as possible.

Vegan in Novi Sad: Bakeries & Cafés

Okay so we are suckers for oily-salty pastries even though we try to limit ourselves to as little as possible bc they are terribly unhealthy and defo not a recommended part of the daily dozen which has worked for us quite well. Comfort food, ya know? And when you arrive to a foreign country after spending three years in another foreign country, it's nice to have some comfort.

vegan serbs

Pekara, or bakeries in Serbia, will sometimes have little signs on the counters (or simply a yellow sticker) listing their 'posno' products which is really cool - watch out for honey and fish though! In our experience, they are very accepting of eating vegan here - unlike the western/north European, Germanic-Anglo-Saxon christian carnist culture with a diet of meat & dairy. It has been so nice here, mainly bc

a.) they understand you how you say it (it's easy to say posno), here's how to pronounce it:

b.) they understand what it means (in many places around the globe ppl don't know what 'vegan' is, but here posno is very much part of the culture);

c.) they accept it, they don't make a big fuss about it cause its pretty normal.... unlike e.g. the Hungarian baker working at Don Pepe in Esztergom who - when we asked him to make a vegan pizza (sans cheese cause they didn't have any plant-based cheeses or nutritional yeast for topping) - said 'well I'll make it but thats not a pizza at all imo' lol. We've never encountered such hostile attitudes towards animal product-free eating here in Serbia. Hence why we're in love with this place.

Bakeries (pekara): ask for 'posno'

Wait, wait wait so what is 'posno'? Posno basically means fasting and it's when Orthodox Christians don't eat meat, milk, cheese, yoghurt or eggs (sound familiar?) I originally thought it was 'just' over lent but it turns out fasting and thus posno and thus veganism is an option all year around. Posno doesn't include fish or honey unfortunately, but fortunately you're not really likely to find fish in a pekara (unlike in, say, Japan, where I made the mistake of biting into a 'plain' bread roll which turned out to have a tiny fish in the middle), and pekaras seem to opt for (cheaper) faux honeys or sugar so in practice posno is basically vegan.

There were nowhere near as many obese people as there were in Hungary (the second most obese country in the eu). Posno is probs so much integrated into the culture it has an effect. It's a very liveble town as a vegan. Yeah, so we've had 3 potato bureks in 3 days and became little bureks ourselves after a while (burek-face is the word we've developed) 🌞 Here's a list of things we've found are usually vegan in bakeries:

  • pita krompir
  • pita spanach
  • pita champion
  • bureks (mostly krompir)
  • sometimes salty-savory stuff

Cafés and (the Lack of) Milk Alternatives

We went to one café, it was really fancy, we really loved the design, the plants, the furniture, everything... they did not have any plant-based milks, though :( Or posno cakes. This has been a repeating experience with cafés in Novi Sad: no plant-based milks. Not even soy. And quite expensive milk alternatives in supermarkets. Fortunately, we've been trying to come off caffeine and faux milks, faux cheese and faux meats (cause they are terribly expensive, not very healthy, heavily processed, and absolutely not a necessary part of a plant-based diet) so... lucky for us. Just letting you know, be prepared.

4. Farmers' Markets in Novi Sad (and Greengrocers')

We mostly strive to live on a whole food plant- and fungi based diet (when we aren't on a comfort food binge), so fresh fruit and veg is crucial for us. One of our first quests in every new city is to locate the farmers' markets and greengorcers'. In Novi Sad, we discovered three of the former and many many of the latter. They were all cheaper than the produce at the supermarkets (and came in considerably less plastic wrapping) + they had sauerkraut, ajvar and home-made tomato sauce! The sellers were also really kind: if one of them didn't speak English, they just shouted to another one who could help.

But away with the imperialistic-colonial mindset of expecting everyone to be able to speak English - it should be the other way around, we, as guest should be expected to learn the basics of the language of the coutry we're going to! In this, vein, here are some basic Serbian words to know as a vegan, when visiting Serbian farmers markets and greengrocers' (with audio):

  • hello = dobar dan / zdravo
  • how much = koliko
  • please = molim
  • thanks = hvala
  • goodbye = doviđenja

For more, check out this website. And here are some of our favourite markets in Novi Sad:

#1. Рибља пијаца or: Riblja pijaca

'Riblja pijaca' literally means 'fish market' but don't worry, they mostly sell fruit & veg :) Actually, this one was the best market we found in Novi Sad, it is also the oldest one in the city.

It was amazing: they had several different kinds of tomatoes and different kinds of red bell peppers peppers, a wonderful pekara place to buy posno burek krompir from, a small restaurant where we had rakija and as a symbol of delayed rebellion against our parents, smoked one cigarette inside (!) the restaurant. Never again, no more cigarettes, yuck. Check out this market though, highly recommended.

#2. Лиманска пијаца or: Limanska pijaca

This one was less renovated, it was gnarlier (which we prefer) and cheaper too. More of a previous regime-vibe. Loved it, check out the photo:

Sundays and public holidays: 06:00 - 14:00

#3. Футошка пијаца or: Futoška pijaca

We brought sauerkraut here... we preferred the whole cabbage head sauerkrauts that can also be bought at farmers markets (and Idea, too!), not the sugary one we got here. There's also a lángos place on the outside of the market, for Hungarians like Tamás lol.

  • Address: Žike Popovića 4, 21101 Novi Sad
  • Website:
  • Opening hours: Mon-Sat 6AM–6PM, Sun 6AM–2PM

#4. Mikromarkets (small greengrocers')

There are small greengrocers' (very often called 'mikromarket') on basically every second corner, quite well stocked up usually. Note that farmers' markets are cheaper and the produce is usually fresher there + there's greater variety. We found fresh parsley and fresh spinach in a lot of these (you can in a big plastic bag) so those were good for leafy greens. They also have tomato sauce in glass bottles and ajvar usually.

Supermarkets and Organic shops in Novi Sad

We don't really recommend going to these places... actually, any kind of multinational (or national) corporate franchise in general, as much as possible - we prefer to support local small producers (and worker co-ops, if there are any) directly as much as possible. But yeah, we know, sometimes it's unavoidable, sometimes you need food quickly so here's what we learnt about supermarkets in Novi Sad.

Supermarkets: Idea, Maxi, Uniexport, Dis

The four biggest supermarket chain in Novi Sad are: Maxi, Univerexport, Idea and Dis - you can read a comparison of prices here. Quick summary in case you don't have the time to read it: Dis is the cheapest. We mostly went to Idea and Univerexport cause these were the closest to where we lived but let us add: there is no tofu or cheap plant-based milks in Idea. For those, Maxi is a better bet (even though we've found that some Maxis have these products, some don't).

Also, at one of our local supermarkets (Idea) they had this selection of on-site ready made meals like lasagna or whatever, and they had two things labelled posno so we tried them 👏 the one of the left was stuffed cabbage leaves and the one on the right was stuffed pepper. I've always been a sl*g for stuffed cabbage leaves and these were no different #newbae

Bae of the day - have I gone on and on enough about how much I heart posno? Goddess bless Orthodox Christians (side note I wouldn't normally eat trash like this - it's full of e-numbers and sugars, not to mention it's capitalist bullshit - but today I wanted to and so I did 👌👍👏)

Just a random selection of POSNO things I found in the supermarket 😍 (posno is a religious lent thing where people avoid meat, dairy and eggs so these things are almost always accidentally vegan 👏)

The first and last photo is hummus in a tin 😱 I was so entertained by that until I remembered I'd seen tinned hummus in a Syrian shop in Hungary. You can also get your frozen berries, green beans and broccoli here if needed. Idea also sells biologically fermeted whole (!) cabbages, which is amazing (in Hungary, supermarkets only had the faux, vingery sauerkraut with preservatives). We also found ground flax seeds at Idea, very important! Cheap ajvar is also available. In terms of junk food: smokies, any many chocolate-y cookies are labelled 'posno'. Rakija and Jelen (the most famous national beer) is vegan. Also, decent quality Macedonian dry red wine, cheap.

Organic Health Food Stores in Novi Sad: the Zdrava Hrana chain

There is a health food chain around Novi Sad with multiple shops called Zdrava Hrana. They don't have all the stuff we used to be able to get in Hungary, e.g. bulgur, garam masala or yellow split peas (which is very popular in Hungary - sárgaborsó főzelék! - but not here). Unfortunately, they only had a very small selection of coconut cream (one type). They had tofu though and many posno snacks you can get in paper bags if you're into junk food veganism :)

markets novi sad

Also, we had the best marinated tempeh ever (with mustard). Plant-based milks are still expensive in these shops (up to £3-4), best get them at Maxi, we found pretty good soy milk there for around £1-2! Lettuce add (vegan pun totally intended): when I first went to Hungary 4 yrs ago, it was hard to find plant-based milks (or any vegan products at supermarkets for that matter), especially cheap - and that totally changed in the last few years with cheap vegan sections popping in Lidl, Spar, Tesco, etc... so maybe in a few years that change will come too.

DM, DrogerieMarkt

We do rely on DM for quite a few things: the DM brand (Mivolis) multivitamin is one of the cheapest multivits you can get out there (tbf we do not have time every day to do cooking and follow the daily dozen, esp. when we're travelling, though we try hard!); they also sell cheap K2 (in case we can't get biologically fermented veg like sauerkraut which is usual source of K2) and D3 (for winter months), tahina, oats, high-protein pasta, etc... DM is priceier than the other shops above but it does have everything we need! Also, it usually has Durex Extra Safe condoms which we prefer (sex education day 1 kids, never have intercourse without a condom!) and it's good to know we can get this in most European countries (wherever DM is). Wish they were a co-operative...

Vegan Graffiti in Novi Sad

novi sad vegan places

Last, but not least, there's a lot of cool graffiti in Novi Sad, here's a selection :)

vegan places in Novi Sad Serbia

Wrap Up: Vegan Novi Sad

So there you have it, this is how we lived vegan in Novi Sad :) It was great, one of the best cities we've been to, it was really easy to buy fruit & veg, greengrocers are abundant. We could not stop eating burek (krompir) and pita krompirs... highly recommended! Also, the Plant Power place is really good.

P.S.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

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