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Yesterday in Niš, southern Serbia I bought this street food pictured:

Mystery Serbian street food

It looked and tasted like deep fried batter, how fish from a fish and chip shop might look in Australia where I'm from.

It had no filling and I was offered a choice of sugar or salt. It was very inexpensive, maybe 25 Eurocents.

I'm interested in its Serbian name but also if it's more widespread I'm also interested in what it's called elsewhere, variants etc. And of course what it is made of: dough? batter? wheat?

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Chinese bakeries i've been to (in, er, London) often sell 'fried dough', which looks just like this, and is hard and savoury, so quite unlike a western doughnut. The so-called experts have more to say on it. –  Tom Anderson Sep 12 '11 at 21:32
    
I remember something very similar in preparation in Panama but it tasted different, possibly due to what they fried it in. It may or may not have been called carimañola or biñuelo and was one of the typical breakfast and street foods taking the place of tortilla, which doesn't seem to be used in Panama. –  hippietrail Sep 12 '11 at 21:39
    
The Panamanian one may well have been a buñuelo (meaning from Buñol, a town which is internationally more famous for its tomato-throwing festival). –  Peter Taylor Sep 26 '13 at 12:43
    
@PeterTaylor: I think you're right. In fact I even asked a question on spanish.SE about them a while ago because in Panama I kept seeing the odd spelling "biñuelo" for them! –  hippietrail Sep 26 '13 at 13:05
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4 Answers

That's not batter, that's yeast dough. It is called Мекица (transliteration: mekitza) in Bulgarian, Google Translate says the Serbian word is Колачи (transliteration: kolachi), which I find somewhat strange, as in Bulgarian, колачета is a different food. Maybe somebody can supply the correct Serbian word (or affirm that kolachi is correct).

In itself, it is a very simple food. You just take normal bread dough, stretch it thin (the Bulgarian version is flat and more round, this one may have been adapted to street eating) and deep-fry it. There are two types, the evenly thick as you have it in the picture, and the one which is transparently thin in the middle with a very thick edge (the styles don't have their own names). It is usually eaten for breakfast. The simplest way to eat it is with confectioner's sugar sprinkled over it, but you can also spread jam on it or put feta pieces.

I don't know about the geographical spread of мекици. Wikipedia suggests there is a Hungarian equivalent called lángos.

A similar food with much wider distribution is made from a softer, almost liquid yeast dough, which, unlike simple bread dough, contains eggs and fat. The American word is doughnut, in Germany it is called Krapfen, and many European languages have a word derived from Krapfen, e.g. the Serbian крофне (krofne). Note that the shape differs (the American doughnut is a torus, the Krapfen has an almost spherical lens form, and the French beignet is square), but the dough is roughly the same. There are too many variations to list, Wikipedia has a very long list if you are interested.

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Great answer thanks. I asked my Serbian host but he lacked the English. He didn't realize I wanted the Serbian word and was trying to tell me it was a kind of bread. –  hippietrail Sep 12 '11 at 10:13
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The equivalent of this in Hungary is indeed called lángos, and it's a fairly common street food. However, it looks more like a pizza with a thick edge and paper-thin middle, like the second version you described. –  Zsolt Török Sep 12 '11 at 14:23
    
The Serbian term is "mekika" (singular) or "mekike" (plural). It is in no way related to fish and chips... –  DejanLekic Sep 26 '13 at 11:41
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I'm serbian and KOLACI means cake in Serbian. What you are looking for iz MEKIKE in balkan countries

and it is called USHTIPAK plural: USHTIPCI in SERBIA

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Ah yes I do seem to remember the sign on the stall ended in "c" because I wasn't sure if I should pronounced it "ch" or "ts" or "k". Plus a Google image search using several spelling variants seems to be the right things. –  hippietrail Sep 13 '11 at 21:22
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The Serbian term is mekika (singular) or mekike (plural). This simple food is made from yeast dough - you just deep-fry pieces of it in a pan.

The size and shape depends on the person who makes them.

As mentioned above, there is another, very similar dish called uštipak (pronounced as "ushtipak") . The only difference between the two that I can think of is the fact that mekike can be made with less oil, while uštipci must be deep-fried... Ah and yes, ushtipak is typically smaller than mekika.

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It is not Mekitza, but "mekika" - that's correct name. Pronouncing mekika (just like it is written)

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Is this a Serbian version? I can assure you that in Bulgaria, мекица is the correct name, pronounced with the sound you can find in Russian czar, Italian mozzarella, or German Zoll, known as "voiceless alveolar affricate". en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A6. I can imagine Serbians localising the name to "mekika", but your answer doesn't make it clear if that is what you meant, maybe you can edit it to provide more information. –  rumtscho Sep 12 '11 at 13:17
    
I know from my travels that especially for foods the same word can mean different things in different places, or the same thing can have different names. Also of course for slight differences like mekitsa vs mekika - but yes please @zoza0503: please tell us a little more information about Serbian mekika. –  hippietrail Sep 12 '11 at 21:34
    
@rumtscho - unless you prove the origin of the dish, which I honestly doubt you can, you can't really tell who "localized" the term... –  DejanLekic Sep 26 '13 at 11:48
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@DejanLekic you are right, this was a bad formulation on my side. I meant that I can imagine that they are two variants of the same word, each one correct in its language. But if this is the case, I have no idea where the word (and/or the food) emerged first, so my grammar construction is indeed unfortunate. And tomato's answer makes me think that the prevalence of the word does not coincide with country boundaries anyway, but seems to be a regional term which exists in different languages. –  rumtscho Sep 26 '13 at 12:01
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