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What to Eat in Croatia. Mediterranean Cuisine? Traditional Smoked Delis?

What to eat in Croatia? Very important question. The question you ask yourself whenever you are planning your trip.  Did you know that a number of people from all over the world return to Croatia each year just for the sake of the food? Croatia, a relatively small country, has, at the same time, the most diverse cuisine.

What to eat in Croatia largely depends on where you’re staying

You see, Croatia has three very different regions and thus, three very different types of cuisine.
HINT: mind the cues.

Sea food - What to Eat in Croatia
Sea food - What to Eat in Croatia

Along the coast, you have a traditional Mediterranean cuisine

Fresh seafood has a predominant role, but it’s done in a different way than you would expect.
Often, chefs cook on the open fire. You can indulge your cravings with some octopus with potato and veggies prepped under the bell buried under a thick layer of hot ember.

Every evening, wherever you go along the coastline or islands, you’ll sense the strong aroma of fresh white and blue fish on BBQs. Seafood, however, is not the only thing on the menus down at the Adriatic coast. Almost every restaurant offers lamb on a skewer. It will usually come served with spring onion if you don’t request for some other type of salad. It’s a tradition. And for the appetizer, expect smoked prosciutto, salted anchovies, cured cheese, and olives. Move north, and things will change…

Over the mountains…

Heavy Food in Croatia
Heavy Food in Croatia
It’s even hard to imagine that, while you are skiing on the north slopes of the  Velebit mountain, others are sitting in T-shirts, sipping lattes along the sea. Croatia is simply the land of extreme. Only 40 miles and you can see the sunny and warm weather to more harsh winter conditions where a few feet of snow can drop in a matter of a day. Naturally, people here eat somewhat different than those residing along the coast. Let’s just say that fish is an option but not as often as lamb, veal, pork chops, beans and – cabbage.
Lamb on a Skewer
Lamb on a Skewer
To survive in these brutal conditions, you need to eat. And you need much stronger food than fish and a few veggies. Because, at 1000 m altitude, snow can fall in August while thousands of people are burning under the scorching sun on the beaches along the Adriatic sea – beaches you can actually see from high up in mountains. Those who are arriving in Croatia with their cars will often decide to make a stop in one of the restaurants along Croatia’s modern freeway that connects north with the coast. There, they will be served with traditional dishes like veal with potatoes under the bell or lamb on a skewer.

We’ll move further north and turn to the east now.

Slavonia, famous for its traditional smoked delis and wine

Take a look at the images below:

How about that?

Traditional Croatian Specialties - From Restauran Dzinic
Traditional Croatian Specialties - From Restauran Dzinic

Yes, when in Slavonia and Barania, two regions on the far east of northern Croatia, make sure to ask for “kulen.” Or the next best thing, “kulenova seka” (seka, eng.= sister). It’s a smoked, dried, and cured deli that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. In fact, “Slavonian Kulen” is a protected brand in the EU.

Croatian Kulen
Croatian Kulen
Food Table From Restauran Dzinic
Food Table From Restauran Dzinic
Unfortunately, there’s no word in English for this unforgettable homemade deli. You just have to learn it. According to the wine experts, a small region in the heart of Slavonia, in the center of the Golden Valley, is the 3rd most optimal place for growing grapes on the planet. Imagine the taste of wines.

Now, these were the three most famous delis. However, no matter where you travel in Croatia, you’ll be served with something uniquely tasteful.


Your CTC Team, I.K.

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