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Archive for the ‘1$ or less’ Category

Krafna

krafna1.JPGThis is a great snack, it is a donut-like bun about the size of a fist that is light and fluffy and usually filled inside with marmelada (what they call marmalade but is more like a sweet peach/fruit jam) or Čokolada (a rich, sweet chocalate paste). It is often served for breakfast or as a snack with tea or coffee if you are staying with locals or at a Pension (guesthouse). I like eating them sometimes while traveling or driving as it is easy to hold in one hand and eat not crumbly like bread, burek or other pastries. It is just made with white flour and sugar, so it’s not really great for the old waistline so I don’t make a habit of it, but it is a great local snack from this area that is really good and worth a try and best of all it goes for only about a dollar, some places even less (at least in Croatia at the time of writing this).

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Čakovec, Croatia

I’ve been working on fixing a house up in Čakovec the last few weeks and finally got tired of cooking and short for time we have left, so I settled on some local fastfood. Burek is an interesting eat, made differently across the region from lasagna-like stacks cut into quarter-pie wedges or rolled up in long strips as it authentically is done in Bosnia. One thing guarantied is that it will be greasy, a little dry (locals eat it with yougurt) and lacking spice, but good eating. On the caution side though, despite its ready-made appearance it is not really an on-the-go food, as if you are eating it out of the waxed paper it comes in and you suddenly have to dash for the bus or take a fast turn while driving your car the results might be disastrous. You’ll find you have enough oil on your hands after eating a burek to grease up a whole artic swimming team, twice.

Not only does it come in different sizes but flavors as well (I know Bosnians have different names for each one but most people lump them together so I will too for simplicity). First, and for me really the only one is meat (Meso) that is ground beef, pork or something (no wonder they just call it meat and don’t get into specifics). Then there is Cheese (Sir), filled with a soft white fresh cheese that is incorporated into many pastries and cooking regionally. Then sometimes and not too common unless you are on the coast or during summer you might chance upon a place selling an apple (Jabuka) burek which is like apple sauce in burek clothing; thinly rolled flour layers filled with the desired filling and baked, often crispy on the bottom and a bit flaky on top.

I once tried the apple burek while in Split back in 1998 when I was new to the area and a Slovenian guy I was with said it was his personal favorite so we grabbed the first jabuka burek dealer we could find and man I had to split! It must have been made with over-ripe apples or something, but after that snack I bet I got personally acquainted with just about every WC (bathroom) within a two block radius of that burek stand. Whoever said “it never hurts to try something new” must have been full of…or at least not been very adventurous eating new foods from roadside food kiosks, but no pain no gain and I’m willing to take some risks to experience new foods, though I generally stick to getting my burek now from climate controlled bakeries where there is less chance of getting spoiled food. I’ve had it again since without the side effects and despite it not being my favorite one is one of the burek family none the less.

pizzab1.JPGI thought I’d seen it all till I walked into a local Pekarna (bakery) and asked for Burek meso; they were fresh out, but the sales person asked if she could interest me in a pizza burek instead. I was stunned, had someone finally found a way to hybrid the pizza and burek in one? Well not quite, but it was an interesting combination, having tomato paste in what might otherwise have been a dry cheese burek, they maybe could add some ham next time, but otherwise a welcome change. I know most burek enthusiasts might cry foul that a non-Bosnian, non-Albanian run bakery has tampered with this historic food tradition, but I think it will grow in popularity and I commend them for thinking outside the box on this one–something not many Croatians are known for, saddly.

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