by Michael dEstries
Categories: Eats
Tags: .

mark ruffaloIt’s not often that vegetarians and vegan encounter trouble in sticking to their eating habits overseas, but for Mark Ruffalo, it was a nightmare.

While filming the new movie The Brothers Bloom in Serbia, the actor confesssed that being a vegetarian in Eastern Europe had been nearly impossible. “We ate a lot of what they call Shopska salads which was the only thing I could eat in all of Serbia because that’s the only thing that doesn’t have meat in it,” he told the UK Metro.  “It was really sad for me there,” he added.

Making matters worse, everytime he let locals know that he was a vegetarian, he was accosted. “When I told them I was vegetarian they were like ‘you must be from America because nobody here would ever be vegetarian – we tear you vegetarians to pieces and eat you!’. Apart from that we had a nice time!”

Note to self: Avoid Serbia.

Photo credit: INF Photo

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • The Discerning Brute

    I had a rough time finding veg food in Rotterdam, I couldn’t even imagine being vegan in Serbia. Don;t they have fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains? Sounds like they didn’t get him a chef on set.

  • Sara

    shopskas are mighty tasty.

  • Big Al

    I was in Serbia a few years ago and did not have a problem following a Vegetarian diet. There was plenty to eat including bean soup, roasted peppers stuffed with rice, burek (philo pastery filled with a choice of either cheese, leeks and potatoes, apples, etc), vegetable stews, all kinds of salads including the very popular shopska and lots and lots of desserts.

    I even met a few local Vegetarians while I was there.

  • Been there

    I spent a year in Serbia and really enjoyed myself. One thing we need to keep in mind is that Serbia does have vast farmland and great local produce, but it is EXTREMELY seasonal. Once fall comes, your fresh produce options become quite limited. They don’t import much from warmer climates, and when they do, it’s too expensive for most Serbians to buy. Winter means pickles, roots, tubers, grains, and in traditional agrarian societies, meat (as the available pastures become very limited). Being vegan in the US is much easier thanks to California, Mexico, Chile, etc. We take it entirely too much for granted and don’t realize that most of the world can’t live that way.

  • live there

    Going meatless is a challenge in Serbia, but not impossible (as plenty of domestic vegetarians can attest). Pizza and pasta are quite common, for example, and all restaurants offer vegetarian options. Not only that, but more religious-minded Serbs often follow what they call a “fast” (“post,” which more resembles a form of lent), in which they cannot eat meat, or oils, and many restaurants and supermarkets offer “posna” options. Furthermore, it is quite easy to find salads other than shopska, particularly in Belgrade. Am I sorry that Mr. Ruffalo did not understand the Serbian sense of humor, but Erorazzi is quite wrong in its recommendation to avoid Serbia. It’s a great place, with a misunderstood reputation.

  • Vegie from Serbia

    This is absolute non-sense.
    Just beacuse he was ill informed as is the editor of this article, doesn’t mean you cannot be a vegetarian in Serbia.

    Even if that were true, to make a statement to avoid Serbia, is rude at best.

  • Bojan

    I agree with a previous comment: “Even if that were true, to make a statement to avoid Serbia, is rude at best.” and utterly racist at worst (though being anti-Slavic has not yet entered politically correct language of N. American, so they think they can say stuff that could never fly if it was directed at blacks, Jews or Asians)

  • michael

    Oh please, it was a complete joke. When you have a sentence that ends with “we tear you vegetarians to pieces and eat you!”, it’s only normal to respond in writing with some kind of funny statement.

    If I had the opportunity to fly to Serbia, I’d be there in an instant.

    And racist? Now you’re the one being silly.

  • The Science Commenter


  • Milena

    Well, I live in Serbia and it’s true that we like to eat meat a lot but you can find in markets just everything you want,vegetables, fruits, macrobiotic stuff… we have also many good bakeries with very tasteful food…it is very popular fast food in Serbia, I think that in Serbia there are not much vegetarian restaurants because it’s not traditionally our type of cuisine, and we’re not the top destination and because of that we don’t have a great variety of restaurants for tourists…but it isn’t true that every dish is with meat!!! And if you are well-informed you still can have a good meal in Serbia ;)In case you like meat our cuisine is one of the best :)

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  • ivan

    and not only that we don’t have wegetables, we don’t have electricity, elevators, refrigerators, phones and we marry cousins :)

  • Italian.Moranno

    I was in Serbia a few weeks ago. They have two specialised stores for vegetarians in capital, Belgrade. One man showed me were to buy… they don’t have raw chocolate, red leaf lettuce and some types of sprouts … but I found almost everything. People who were in charged for his food failed!

  • Caden

    Ruffalo was clearly kidding with some of his comments. I talked to him at a screening of the film and he absolutely loved Serbia, and planned to go back with his family. He said he cried the night of the wrap dinner in Belgrade because he’d made so many friends.

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