Tuck into Some Traditional Croatian Food

Estimated reading time 3 min

We all know that age-old proverb, “When in Croatia, stuff your face with Croatian food.” With this guide to traditional Croatian fare, you can do exactly that! Time to tuck in your napkin and get cozy with these local comestibles.

Black risotto

Popular along the coast, this striking combination of rice, cuttlefish, cuttlefish ink, onion, garlic, and red wine, is a quintessential Croatian culinary experience. A plateful of this will turn your mouth and teeth black, but it’s worth it.

Octopus salad

This common dish is about as simple as it gets: succulent boiled octopus, onion, and parsley tossed with olive oil and vinegar to taste. Regional variations add potatoes, capers, cherry tomatoes, and eggplant.

Boškarin

Boškarin, the long-horned Istrian oxen, features in a variety of regional dishes. It can be served carpaccio (thinly sliced), in sauce with pasta, as salami or steak, or in boškarin tail soup.

Fuži with truffles

The forests of the Istrian Peninsula simply brim with truffles, so Croatians have an arsenal of these pungent delicacies (both black and white) at their fingertips. Try them grated on top of fuži, a traditional quill-shaped pasta that’s rolled around a chopstick or pencil to create a hollow tube.

Peka

Originating in the Dalmatia region, a peka is a domed iron or terracotta lid that covers a pot or tray. The dish itself is a combination of meat—lamb, veal, chicken, or octopus—and potatoes and vegetables, covered with a peka and buried under glowing embers to create a slow-cook oven. Honey, cognac, and Mediterranean herbs are common additions.

Brudet (brodetto)

We have Italy’s Marche region to thank for this slow-cooked fish stew commonly crafted over an open fire. The ingredients—seafood, onions, vegetables, herbs, and wine—have plenty of time to meet and mingle in the pot before they’re served, steaming, over polenta. A glass of rosé is the meal’s final flourish.

Skampi na buzaru

Step one: Flash-fry shrimp, lobster, clams, or mussels in a pan with garlic. Step two: Simmer in tomatoes, brandy, and wine until tender. Enjoy with a slice of freshly baked bread.

Sarma

These Turkish-inspired cabbage rolls date back to the 14th century, when much of the Balkan Peninsula was under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. Stuffed with various types of minced meat, rice, and spices, sarma is a Croatian winter staple.

Manestra

This is not your ordinary bean soup. It bubbles away for hours with cured meats and pešt—pancetta, garlic, and parsley ground into a paste. Variations include manestra od bobići (with corn) and jota (with sauerkraut).

Krostule

Take a long, thin strip of dough, tie it in a loose knot, deep-fry it, then sprinkle it with powdered sugar. So simple, yet so delicious.

Fritule

Prominent on the Adriatic coast, these doughnut-like fried pastries often include grated lemon or orange, raisins, and rum. They’re traditionally served during the holidays, but their popularity means you can find them year-round.

Feed your hunger—and your adventurous spirit!—with one of these exciting packages:

Dubrovnik at its Best
Zagreb at its Best

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