For the longest time, Slovenia and Ljubljana did not know what street food was. Since its introduction to Slovenian culture, Ljubljana’s street food scene is one of the best in the world. With Slovenes’ knack for quick and easy meals, street food has become a part of the current zeitgeist.
Unlike Asian street food, much of Ljubljana’s street food scene borrows from European and Balkan traditions. Many of the favorite dishes across Slovenia like burek, Carniola klobasa, and ćevapčići converted to quick and easy on the go snacks. Pastries and meat still dominate the street food scene, together with good beers and rakija.
Ljubljana is a mecca for foodies who want to experience true cuisine from in and around the Balkan region. They also carry some of the best street foods from other countries around it. Here’s all you need to know about Ljubljana’s street food scene.
History of Slovenian Street Food
For a long time, Ljubljana has tried to become a global favorite when it comes to food choices. Even then, many Slovenians know that street food culture is very recent.
For the longest time, Ljubljana, and Slovenia in general, did not have street food. Much of the history of the locale revolved around being under several leaderships. In the olden days, the leaders of the land were either nobles or monarchs.
Many Slovenians at the time were peasants and cooked meager meals to help them through the day. The prevalence of buckwheat porridge across homes is a testament to the humble beginnings of Slovenia.
Among the more common foods back in the day, bread and pastries were a likely family affair. Bread and porridge with the occasional pastry are shared between family members. Most women cooked at home and families had to save money.
As part of Yugoslavia, much of the food in the Balkan regions like Croatia and Serbia poured in. Serbia had a very influential meat culture that allowed for a more filling meal, especially during the winter. Croatia had meats and pastries, as well as other dishes coming from Eurasia like Turkey and other countries around the Adriatic.
Once Yugoslavia broke apart and Slovenia announced independence, the country slowly opened up to the West. Western Europe’s influence, especially from Italy, brought in several street food cultures.
Alfresco dining became more common and was easily adapted due to Slovenia’s Trznica or open market culture. More types of coffee started pouring in from different areas of the world. Desserts like gelato and pizza have become more common.
The growth of Ljubljana as a tourist city has diversified much of what is offered on the streets. More street food started coming into the city from different parts of the world. There are specialty stores now that sell Korean and Asian street food.
Much like any country, American fast food has also penetrated the local street food scene. With the meat-heavy street food due West, locals are warming up to burgers and fries.
Even then, quintessential Slovenian street food is still distinctive when you visit Ljubljana.
What Street Food Will You Find In Ljubljana?
What is Ljubljana’s Street Food scene? Everything depends on the season but there are a few food staples that every Slovenian enjoys eating. Many of these don’t always classify as street food per se but sold like it.
Ljubljana street food comprises mostly of easy to eat pastries, sandwiches, grilled meats, and sweets. Pastries can be either savory or sweet, depending on what you want to eat.
Much like most of the Balkan region, Slovenian street food is not too friendly for vegans. Most vegan and vegetarian foods are available in restaurants or are prepared at home. Even then, there are still some healthy options available.
For starters, many of the street food stalls are near the Trznica Open Market. There are many different stalls for fresh seasonal fruits, which include cherries, berries, and fruit slices.
So, what are the most common street foods you can find in Ljubljana? We have a few tasty treats on our list.
Burek is one of the most beloved street food and fast food in Ljubljana. Places like Žito, Nobel Burek, and Burek Olimpija are some of the most frequented local places for a reason. Burek has such a cultural hold among Slovenians.
Burek is easy, fast, and delicious. It’s a Balkan pastry that has its Turkish roots made of delicious flaky filo. It has different fillings, from the delicious meaty Carniolan burek to the savory spinach burek. You can even have apple burek as a dessert.
Among burek lovers in Ljubljana, extra greasy burek is a street food staple. This stuffed dish is fatty and greasy. Locals get it in something similar to a combo meal, usually with a drink. It’s also available 24/7, which means you can enjoy it whenever you get a craving.
If you’re the type who doesn’t care much about what you eat, burek is a great guilty pleasure. Finding a good burek is easy if you want to eat like locals. According to locals, if you see the burek through the paper, it’s likely good.
Ask any Slovenian what their favorite street food is and you’ll get Carniolan sausage as a majority. Carniolan sausage or Kranjska klobasa is one of the most delicious meat products in the country. It is a protected recipe in the EU, and for a reason.
The Carniolan sausage comes from the olden Austro-Hungarian monarchy, from the province of Carniola. Carniola was the central province of Slovenia and goes back as far as the late 19th century.
Kranjska Klobasa uses the finest pork and bacon, spices, and preservatives. The sausage is reddish-brown and is quite smoky, with creamy bacon around the center. It’s crunchy and juicy, which will make you think it’s a bourgeoisie dish. Even then, it can’t be more street food than it already is.
Kranjska klobasa is meaty, delicious, and well-spiced. It’s a snappy, juicy sausage without being chewy. It is ingrained in the cultural zeitgeist of Ljubljana and Slovenia in general that you can find it anywhere, any time.
At every festival in Slovenia, you’ll see that there’s a Carniolan sausage vendor somewhere. Many sit-down fast food places and restaurants will offer it on a plate, while most sellers will have it on a paper plate or box, sold with horseradish, mustard, or sauerkraut.
You can eat it whole like a hotdog on a stick or have it cut into pieces. There’s no wrong way of eating Kranjska klobasa. It’s only a matter of how much of it you can eat.
Struklji, also known as strudel, is a crowd favorite. Depending on where you get it, it can work as either a nice dessert or very filling street food. It’s delicious, and you can find it almost anywhere in Ljubljana.
Štruklji was initially a holiday and special occasion type of food. It was akin to dumplings and has a wide range of fillings. These fillings range from sweet, fruity varieties to savory cottage cheese and tarragon.
Now, štruklji is street food, which does not deter from its identity as a special dish. It’s still special but now, it’s also easily accessible with štruklji shops and stalls.
In Ljubljana, you can taste a variety of authentic Slovenian štruklji made of rolled, leavened, risen-puff, or buckwheat dough. You can inundate yourself in flavors that you can’t find anywhere else too.
There are hazelnut and chocolate fillings, fruit fillings, meaty fillings, poppy seed, or even vegetarian fillings. The sauce is heavenly, which is a guilty pleasure to those who love it – both visitors and locals alike.
Potica is number one when it comes to traditional Slovenian holiday pastries. You’ll find it everywhere every Christmas, and while it still stays special, more and more people want it year-round. With so many pastries in Ljubljana’s street food scene, potica is growing in popularity.
Back in the day, Slovenian housekeepers were happy to make potica even outside the holiday season. They did so to spoil their loved ones, especially children. Now, it’s not only mothers and grandmothers who bake this delicious treat.
If you visit Ljubljana, you’ll find many different types of fillings for potica. There are as many as 80 different fillings placed in the dough, many of them being either savory or sweet. Among the most common potica fillings you’ll find, there are walnuts, raisins, hazelnuts, chocolate, tarragon, coconut, and cheese.
It helps that potica goes well with almost any drink you can find. Whether you want a hearty serving of schnapps or a pleasant glass of milk, you can enjoy a potica that meets your taste.
Ljubljana has a growing taste for international flavors, especially Middle-Eastern and Asian cuisine. Many of these are not usually authentic, but they’re good approximations of these international street foods.
If you go around, you’ll find a wide array of noodle options in Ljubljana that you can bring anywhere you want. Among those, soup noodles and stir fry are easy to bring to a nearby al fresco table.
For starters, Asian street food stalls and bistros will have pad thai as one of their bestsellers. You can get this tasty stir-fry with chopsticks and a paper plate and you’re good to go. There are also cha gio spring rolls and mango sticky rice to go.
If you want something soupy, pho is available – both with meat or vegan. You can also get a nice Yakisoba s kozicami (with shrimps) if you’re up for it.
Wraps and Middle-Eastern Food
Slovenians have a propensity for pastries and meat. As we noted before, a lot of Middle Eastern and West Asian food are flooding the streets of Ljubljana too. The shared love for meat by the two regions creates an unlikely relationship.
Now, Ljubljana has many Middle Eastern snacks, mostly meat wraps. Donner kebabs, shawarma, and dosa wraps tend to be more common across Ljubljana. You’ll see people carrying a type of wrap around trendy places and around the markets too.
Kebabs and shawarma, together with Greek gyros, are cheap and easy. You can carry them anywhere that you like and you’ll enjoy a splash of flavors too. Meat, shredded veggies, and a tasty flatbread doused in sauce can be enough to make your day.
For those looking for something vegetarian, falafels are your best bet. Falafel wraps are delicious and have a variety of flavor profiles for the discerning palate.
Burgers and Hotdogs
Burgers are quintessential American food. For the longest time, however, Ljubljana and Slovenia, in general, have resisted the Americanization of food. While McDonald’s exists, Slovenia has tried to localize the burger into something unique.
Over the past decade, many different burger joints opened around Ljubljana. They’re serving more gourmet style ones, but still generally street food level burgers. Many of these can be called “designer,” but they still are tasty and greasy treats.
Many of these new-wave burgers come with all-beef patties with different types of toppings. Some offer the traditional while other sellers add avocados, pulled pork, eggs, chilis, bacon, and the works.
Some would think this is tourist fare, and it’s not wrong to think that. Even then, Slovenes are warming up to the idea and it’s hard to say no to a juicy burger.
Along with burgers, hotdogs on a bun are also growing in popularity. Using locally made hotdogs and sausages add a little local flair to the taste too.
In Slovenia, no street food list is ever complete without mentioning Čevapčići. This delicious local street food delicacy is one of the reasons Balkans love meat. It’s been a part of the region for centuries and it’s hard not to love it.
Čevapčići is a traditional recipe from the region, usually attributed to Serbians or Slovenians. Its origin from the region is hard to pinpoint, considering the geopolitical situation over the past decades. Even then, the dish remained generally the same.
The dish has grilled meats known as cevapi, similar to a doner kebab filled with a beef and/or lamb mix. The most basic recipe uses lepinja, a flatbread, and a red bell pepper condiment called ajvar.
People usually add shredded onion to it and kaymak, a dairy product similar to cream cheese. When eaten together, it makes for wonderful street food that you can bring anywhere and everywhere.
Where To Eat Street Food Around Ljubljana
Now that we know the many street food that you can find, where do you find all of these? If you’re planning to binge on street food, you need to know where to find them.
Among the places you can visit, the Ljubljana Central Market and the nearby Trznica Open Air Market are your best bets. Known as the Plecnik Market, many food shops, stalls, and grocers are available here. You will find many of the best street food shops in this area.
The general area around the Town Hall (mestna hiša) is also the center for street food. People like to converge here, considering the central market is also nearby. The Ljubljanica River was also a stone’s throw away, so you can jump from one place to another.
Ljubljana Central Market
The Ljubljana Central Market is home to many types of foodstuff. Ljubljana’s vast, the colorful market is open every day except Sundays. It also spreads wide over several lots, including Pogačarjev trg and Vodnikov trg, so you can find more shops near it.
Around several street food shops, you can find other places that you can visit. The Cathedral and the flower market is nearby, so you can visit the area. Even then, a foodie will likely look for places to buy their delicious grub.
There are bakeries in the area where you can get standard Slovenian street food pastries. Potica and struklji are found in nearby bakeries and pastry shops. Grilled meat shops are also nearby, including the most famous Klobasarna on this side of Ljubljana.
Within the Central Market, you’ll find the stalls that sell a lot of street food. You can source a plate of Čevapčići here, including all the trimmings you need for a wrap. The grilled meat stands are to die for and offer more than just kebabs.
Near these stands, you can find fish and chip mongers that sell them by the handful. You can get a serving of their delicious fish and chips, with two big slabs of fish and a handful of fries with ketchup and mayo.
Fresh fruits are also good snacks from the area. Many sell fresh cherries by the basket – washed and ready to eat.
Ljubljanica River Bank
The Ljubljanica River is among the most prominent spots around Ljubljana. It’s also one of the places where most street food shops lie, especially the local favorites. Considering the locale is among the busiest, it’s an easy place to visit if you’re feeling peckish.
If you move a block north of the Dragon Bridge, you’ll find several ethnic street food stops in the area. For starters, you can find the only falafel shop in the area. It sells many different vegan and vegetarian options that you can eat on the road.
For the visitor on the go, you can get falafel wraps, hummus, and even zaatar fatayer and manakish. You can bring these with one hand and enjoy these delicious vegetarian street food with a can of lager.
If you’re craving for noodles, Chuty’s Heart of Asia just across Kongresnj Trg is a great destination. Their pad thai is to die for, especially with a good smattering of peanut sauce.
BTC City is among the trendiest places to visit. It’s also one of the all-time great places to go if you’re craving for delicious street food. Fast food is easy to find here, but the street food is on a different level.
For starters, Street Food BTC has a lot of food options that you can bring anywhere. The local burger joints offer several types of burgers, from a meatbuster to a brie cheeseburger.
You can also find some of Ljubljana’s best wraps here. Their offering starts with several international fares, including burritos, chicken gyro, to a steak fajita wrap. There are noodle options, including the crowd favorite pad thai and a plate of fried calamari.
Pizzas are also available here, freshly baked and topped with many different choices. Quesadillas, burek, and fried chicken are to die for, and a must-try in this mecca of street food.
Street Food Festivals in Ljubljana
The growing love for street food in Ljubljana has made it a prime destination for visitors who want good international food. Among these, one of the highlights of Ljubljana every year are the many food fairs and food celebrations.
Contrary to what many people believe, Slovenia is a great food destination. It is growing more every year, so more events are also available for those who want to celebrate.
Odprta Kuhna (Open Kitchen Day)
Fridays in Ljubljana are reserved for eating out and enjoying some good grub. From spring to around fall, Ljubljana starts Odprta kuhna or the Open Kitchen Festival. Given good weather, some of Slovenia’s best street foods will be available in one place.
With Open Kitchen, Pogacarjev trg transforms into one of the biggest food markets in Slovenia. You’ll find the scents of fresh, cooked food wafting around the square, filled with beautiful colors of international flavors.
From stalls to small restaurants all over the country, you will find some of the best menus out there. Their offerings will be smaller and cheaper – many you can even bring home and eat with one hand. Street food will be overflowing from this delicious event.
Expect some delicious local and ethnic fare while eating the delicious food under a sunny, warmer time. The variety of dishes available means there will be something for everyone, from cakes, pastries, burgers, to Thai food. There’s even homemade pasta, meats, beers, wines, and many more.
Grill and BBQ Fest
Slovenians love grilled meats. Some even believe that Slovenia is a nightmare for vegans with how much meat the locals eat every year. Even then, there’s no stopping meat lovers with one of the best weekends of the year: the Ljubljana Grill and BBQ Fest.
The Ljubljana Grill and BBQ Fest is the festival for those who worship meat, fire, and smoke. Pogačar Square becomes a BBQ mecca for people in the region, with some delicious grilled meat smells wafting throughout the city. As you do, you’ll find a host of BBQ masters and those who swear by the art of smoking meats.
You will find meat lovers of every kind – from kings of the grills, slow roasting, and smoking. You’ll also find some of Slovenia’s finest brewers and winemakers, selling craft beer, wines, rakia, and the like. You’ll even find a selection of delicious sauces you can take home!
This is a delicious place to enjoy your street food meats. It’s more than burgers, čevapčiči and steak wraps too!
Christmas Festive Fair
During the Holiday season, you’ll find that Slovenians will have some of the best street food ready at the Christmas Festive Fair. From mid-morning to late evening, you’ll find many stalls lining around the Ljubljanica River. Once you visit, you’ll be surprised by how much grub you’ll find.
As you walk through the cold night, you can find some delicious grub. Like any time of the year, staples like ćevapčići, Kranjska klobasa, and pasta will be available. What’s more available this time of the year, however, are delicious pastries.
You’ll find more varieties of potica available, with more fillings and flavors. There will also Prekmurska gibanica, which is a special holiday pastry. You’ll see more delicious seasonal options too.
Apart from pastries, You’ll find more alcoholic drinks to warm the body. Mulled wine is something you can find on many stalls. There’s also rakia and the local favorite schnapps.
Quick Tips Visiting Ljubljana’s Street Food Scene
If you’re a tourist looking for street food in Ljubljana, there are a few easy tips that will work every time. These tips will save you a ton of time and money and give you the best grub around.
First, the smartest move is to go straight to the Ljubljana Central Market. If you have time, spend a few minutes walking around.
Many of the streets in and around the Ljubljanica River and Central Market have the most choices for the least amount of space to cover. Many food stalls and food shops are around this area, many of which offer a ton of local fare.
If you want Slovenian street food, you can focus in and around the Trznica, Ljubljanica River, and the streets around it. While this is not a definitive answer, you’ll save time by doing so.
For those looking for international flavors or trendy, ethnic fare, Street Food BTC is a good place to go. They have many experimental dishes in one place and exotic dishes that are hard to find in the region.
Take advantage of checking online for events. Ljubljana has events the entire year, so you should go around when there’s an event. Not only does this allow you to find regional offerings, but you’ll also save money with cheaper grub.
Ljubljana’s street food scene is a thriving world. It’s alive – living, breathing, and growing as time goes by. The collective love for food by Slovenians and tourists alike is creating a better cultural melting pot for street food in this region of the world.
Are you ready to enjoy the culinary wonders that you’ll find in Ljubljana? What kind of street food are you looking forward to eating in Ljubljana? We have some of the best, most delicious gastronomic delights here.
Talk to us now and find out about Ljubljana’s best street food and more. See the deliciousness at the heart of Ljubljana.