A day at the Zemun green market

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The best of the Belgrade open markets

Spring is the time to awaken all your senses, move your body and enjoy in the nature’s finest. Today, I will be tackling the sense of taste, and many more awakened by this spot. It is about time you visited all those neglected open markets of Belgrade, and really freshened up with organic fruits and vegetables. Maybe because it is spring, or due to the reoccurring nostalgia, but the visit to Zemun green market (Zemunska pijaca) last weekend made an everlasting impression to me. Take my hand as this spot gets very crowded, book a day and allow me to lead you through this magnificent open market, located nearby Zemun and Zemunski kej.

Zemun
Zemun
Земун, Београд, Србија
Zemunski Kej
Zemunski Kej
Zemunski Kej, Београд, Србија
Zemun Green Market
Zemun Green Market
Земун, Београд, Србија

A strong, persistent sun woke me up that hot morning in Belgrade. It was almost 30 degrees, that early a.m. I felt as if I couldn’t breathe, let alone sleep or eat freshly made breakfast by my caring mom. All I could think about was drinking a gallon of water and getting out of the flat as soon as possible. This is probably what have happened to my body after almost 3 years in Brussels - I could not stand the heat. However, my father suggested I accompany him on his weekend ritual of visiting one of his favorite green markets. To be frank, pushing around in the crowd for some fresh strawberries was definitely not at the top of my list, but seeing his enthusiastic facial expression, and a great desire to spend a day with my father, made me feel happily on board. That made him so happy. I jumped into shorts and t-shirt and was ready to go. “I will show you my favorite spot for breakfast in Zemun, you will love it!”, my father said as he was driving.

Only after 20 minutes car drive from the city center and several latest hits on the radio, we have finally arrived in Zemun. I always love to go there, as it has that Austro-Hungarian vibe, very much alike Novi Sad. Even as a Belgrade born, every time I go there, I feel as if I have left the country. After finding the parking spot and being greeted by several people, I have started to understand why my father loves Zemun green market so much. Everyone seems to know each other. Their extreme friendliness could seem a bit intimidating, but for me it was amazing that they knew of me, before even meeting me. I knew my father appreciates his ritual there, especially because of the kind people.  

A breakfast for champions consisted of fresh pastries with cheese and meat, cold refreshing yogurt, while sitting at the glorious Zemun fountain,really gave us some strength. We have decided to start our shopping tour. I knew my father spends several hours there, so I was ready for a cardio routine. What I was not ready for and what surprised me to a great extent was an extreme variety of choices. We have even played a game called :”Guess what you cannot find here?”and literally I could not name a single thing that cannot be purchased in Zemun green market. La crème de la crème of picturesque fruits and vegetables, all sorts of nuts, meat, fresh pastries and variety of cheese. There is even a store dedicated to different sorts of dairy, which was a dream come true to me! But not only that- there are also places that sell detergents and other household utilities, which basically makes the whole visit to supermarkets completely redundant. Zemun green market also has a wonderful array of fish-both raw and deliciously prepared- homemade cuisine restaurants, where you can take your cooked lunch home, ice cream trucks and many, many more.

At times, I foung it difficult to follow my father, who was patiently picking the best of the nature’s treats, as I was simply distracted by that variety of choices. The salesmen are so kind they even offer you to try some fresh fruits. Needless to say, I ended up eating strawberries and cherries all day long.

After several hours of walking and shopping, hands full of fruits and many conversations, we bought the freshly prepared fish and were ready to go home. I felt very sorry that, when I was younger, I always rejected to accompany my father at the green market. It took me so many years of living abroad to start appreciating this unique place. I definitely did not regret  spending some quality time with my father and learning a lot about locals. I will most certainly continue to write about newly discovered inspiration and love- open markets of Serbia.


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The author

Lejla Dizdarevic

Lejla Dizdarevic

I am Lejla, from Serbia, passionate about writing, radio and theatre. I would love to show you the hidden gems of my beloved Balkan countries.

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