Burek in Stieg Larsson’s novel

When I read approximately half of Stieg Larsson's third novel of the Millennium trilogy The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, I found an unusual passage. I was surprised and kind of amused at the same time.

She braked at the Klaraberg viaduct and considered the options. Instead of turning down towards Södermalm she kept going straight to Kungsholmen.

»I don‘t know what the restaurants are like in Söder, but I know an excellent Bosnian place at Fridhemsplan. Their burek is fantastic.«

»Sounds good« Blomkvist said.

A passage from the book The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (photo by Erik R.)


Why was I amused? Well, burek is not a regular option for a fast food snack in Hollywood movies. I don't think I've ever seen anyone eat burek in an English speaking movie (dear readers, please correct me if I'm wrong).

According to Wikipedia burek is a family of baked or fried filled pastries made of thin flaky dough known as yufka (or phyllo). It can be filled with cheese, often feta, sirene or kaşar; minced meat, or vegetables. It was invented in Central Asia by nomadic Turks; it became a popular element of Ottoman cuisine.

In Bosnia and Herzegovina a burek is a meat-filled pastry. Thin dough layers are stuffed and then rolled and cut into spirals (resembling an American cinnamon bun). The same spiral filled with cottage cheese is called sirnica, with spinach and cheese zeljanica, with potatoes krompiruša, and all of them are generically referred to as pita. Eggs are used as a binding agent when making sirnica and zeljanica.

Bosnian rolled burek


Stieg Larsson mentioned burek again, right after Blomkvist's lunch:

Figuerola had been right. The burek was fantastic.

I couldn’t agree more. Burek is indeed fantastic :)


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