There is no fish soup without the Danube fish or the Danube fishermen. Who would know better to make such a fish delicacy if not those who catch it. The best known fish speciality of the Danube is the fish or fisherman’s soup. Professional fishermen catch fish from their boats using nets. They are most active in the autumn when fish become less active and start grouping for the winter: catfish, carp, zander, silver carp, grass carp, and other fifty odd species that live in the Danube. If the river is not frozen, the nets are cast daily until April. Fishing in the Danube is banned from 1 April to 31 May. Since there are less fish in the Danube, there are fewer fishermen, as well. Today, the biggest fish to be caught are the catfish – up to 50 kg. Since there is no more sturgeon, catfish is the most valued species, then come the carp. And when the nets are taken out, pots are prepared and soups cooked. Everyone knows the recipes, but a good soup needs as many different sorts of small fish as possible – small carps, pikes, whitefish, and if it is made of big ones, only tails and heads are put into the pots – the catfish and carp heads being a must. There is also some onion, parsley, celery, bay leaves, black pepper and an obligatory red chilly pepper.
The word čorba comes from Persian, meaning the greasy water (that is obtained by cooking meat). A Hungarian word alas means a fisherman.
Today, almost every town by the Danube in Serbia has its Golden Pot – a competition in making fish soup and stew.