Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Croatian Markets

One of the things I really enjoy in traveling is getting a feel for the food culture of a country. In our visit to the Balkans we had an opportunity to visit markets in Split and in Zagreb, Croatia. In many respects, the markets are very similar to what we would find in the United States. On the other hand, there are some big differences. The following pictures are some of the different kinds of food we saw in the markets and my thoughts on them. 

The variety of cheese is much more limited. The most popular cheese appears to be a Balkans version of feta, a white cheese that is quite salty. We ran into just a little bit of yellow cheese and a very limited amount of blue cheese. At the market in Split, we tried a number of different kinds of cheese and our favorite was the feta style.
This sign with "Domaci Sir" and a drawing of a goat appears to indicate home-made goat cheese. "Domaci" is home and "sir" is cheese in Croatian.  
Cutting some cheese off a wheel.
Four varieties of cheese we purchased.
Croatians are less squeamish about meat than Americans. They know where it comes from and don't have to have it disguised and packaged to cover up any indication it came from a live animal. I went into the butcher shop on the Split market, openly admired the wonderful meat and got the butcher to proudly pose with it. I wish we could buy it like this in the U.S.
The butcher with some big hunks of beef.
The butcher and I with the beef.
A couple of whole pigs hanging from hooks.
Look at all this wonderful meat being displayed.
One stall in Split had Croatian prosciutto, a cured hind pig leg that has cured for more than 18 months. It is known as Istrian prsut and it was the best I've ever tasted. 
Istrian prsut
These slices were wonderful eaten by themselves and on sandwiches.
This shop off the Split market sold roasted pork and chicken. I ordered a big chunk of the spit roasted pork and it was incredibly good. The stall had a sign out front saying no photos. But I ordered some of the pork, told the proprietor how wonderful it looked and asked if I could take pictures. She was happy for me to at that point and proudly posed for a picture. 
Spit roasted pig for sale.
Carving it up for me.
Proudly posing with her beautiful handiwork.
Some of the most delicious roast pork I've ever eaten.
The fish market in Zagreb is quite a distance from the Adriatic, but still has a great variety of fish. We visited in the afternoon and there was still quite a bit of fish available. I asked for permission to take pictures and most of the people were happy to let me.
Monk fish, something we can get in the U.S. 
Eel (freshwater or sea water?). Not something I have seen but once or twice in the U.S. Judy got freshwater eel in a restaurant in Ohrid, Macedonia that was delicious. 
Octopus. Not something you often see in the U.S. We had octopus several times in the Balkans and it was fantastic. 
I believe this may be cuttlefish. The only time I've seen it in the U.S. was in Chinatown in New York.
Skate. I've only seen it in Korean markets in the U.S.
Underside of a skate.
More squid. We also had squid several times in restaurants.
I'm not sure what these are?
These look like sea trout.
A colorful assortment of fish.
I'm not sure what this is, but based on the sign, I think it may be a rooster fish. 
The fruits and vegetables were pretty similar to what we would get in the U.S. These pictures were all taken in Split, but there were similar stands in Zagreb. I tend to focus more on the meat, but there were many more fruit and vegetable stands than meat stands. 
Strawberries, bananas, cherries, grapes, kiwi, oranges.
Cabbage, garlic, eggplant, cucumber, tomato, Swiss chard, scallions, watercress, onions.
Green beans, carrots, beets, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes
Olives. These were pretty bitter and not very good. The one thing I was not really wild about. 


  1. The fresh produce and meat markets are one of the most distinctive things about the Balkans for me. We saw so many, from these large, multi-farmer ventures to individual stands at the side of the road. It felt like such abundance.

  2. My goodness, one could stay here for a year, just sampling the various foods and have a great experience. What variety!