Croatia is a country situated between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean. Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast contains more than a thousand islands. The small country is widely known for its beautiful, diverse nature and because of that Croatia is mainly a tourist country. But when tourists come to visit Croatia they have much more to experience than simply beautiful nature, warm sea and friendly people. Croatia is also known for its great food and eating culture and that is why we came up with a list of 7 MUST-EAT Croatian food while you’re in this beautiful tourist destination.
1. Grilled Fish
Croatian seafood is excellent thanks to the Adriatic Sea being so clean, which means the fish are healthy and delicious. You would be hard-pressed to find a Croat or even a tourist who tried grilled fish and did not like it. Whether it be Sardines, Sea Bream, Seabass, or Scorpionfish, this is typical Croatian cuisine. Cooked only on a grill, with salt, pepper, and of course, olive oil.
2. Stuffed Peppers
Stuffed Peppers are a hearty dish, of minced meat and rice. Typically served with mashed potato. You’ll find stuffed peppers on offer in Croatia as soon as the peppers are in season. Every Croatian I know has their variation on this recipe, and they, of course, all claim that their way is the best way to makes them.
Sarma is a dish of grape, cabbage, monk’s rhubarb or chard leaves rolled around a filling usually based on minced meat, or a sweet dish of filo dough wrapped around a filling often of various kinds of chopped nuts. It is found in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire from the Middle East to the Balkans and Central Europe. If you have never tried these – give them a whirl. Don’t let the smell put you off.
There is a long Croatian tradition of making salami and all types of charcuterie. Slavonia’s finest salami is Kulen, which consists of various pork cuts including the thigh, back, shoulder and neck and, of course, the most important part, belly fat. It’s then seasoned with spices, paprika, and garlic and packed into the pig's caecum. Once packed the salami is then cold smoked and air-dried for five to nine months depending on its size. Other noteworthy Croatian salami is a spicy pork salami from Turoplje, Svargl from Salvonia, and Samobor salami who even hold an annual Salami Festival.
5. Black Risotto, Crni Rizot
Every seafood restaurant in Croatia has a black risotto on its menu. Black Risotto is basically a squid risotto. Squid ink is preserved and used in cooking to give that black color to the rice. Besides squids, this risotto contains other seafood, particularly mussels, clams, and other shellfish.
6. Octopus Under Peka
This is a special Croatian way of cooking octopus. Octopus under Peka will be tender and succulent, while the potatoes, which are served with octopus, become especially sweet and tasty. Sauce is delicious, and if served with a bread baked also under peka (under a bell-like lid), then it’s a festival for taste buds. This dish usually needs to be ordered in advance in a restaurant. Some restaurants have it on a menu all the time, but peka is the best when made on order.
7. Scampi Buzura
Buzara is a method of cooking seafood, mainly crustaceans and shellfish, wildly used in coastal Croatia. Scampi, shrimps, mussels, or clams are shortly cooked with white wine, garlic, parsley, and breadcrumbs. This is the simplest, yet one of the most delicious ways to prepare shrimps or mussels. Roll your sleeves and indulge in this yummy Croatian food.
And what is on your menu for today?