If you’re a foodie and you haven’t yet been to Eastern Europe, you are seriously missing out. I had the pleasure of taking a long girls trip to Croatia, Austria and Hungary recently, and realized just how much I had been missing out on in my food exploration.
And since I don’t want to take three weeks of your time, I’ll try to summarize what I ate and liked best in each country.
Croatia was the first stop and within the first day, I was able to summarize that Croatian cuisine is a heterogeneous, culmination of various regions within the country. While our stay was limited to Zagreb, it was enough to give us a taste of this very ancient cuisine.
The Croatian pancake is really the perfect pancake. An afternoon snack during a stroll in Trg JJ Strossmayera brought us to the fluffiest, chocolate-laden pancakes with fresh strawberries piled together to make every bite utterly satisfying.
In the same vein are Croatian donuts, more like donut holes, but just the sweetest balls of heaven. If you ask them, they say it’s just the butter, but I think they just don’t want us to know their little secret. Fair enough!
At the Curry Bowl downtown Zagreb, I also did have Sri Lankan food for the very first time. Yes, in Croatia! The fish and potato filled croquettes with vegetable curry are making my mouth water all over again. But, it may be the spiciest food I have ever eaten.
Along the way, we also made friends with Croatian locals, hitting the popular bar spots and learning that mixing red wine and coke is the Croatian way to go, but also makes for a delicious drink. Try it sometime.
That brings me to Vienna, where I discovered the famous seafood counter restaurant Nordsee. There, I had their famous Langosteen Schwanz, which knocked my socks off. Lord knows, I can’t seem to get my hands on langosteen in Chicago, so I was in heaven.
Of course, the coffee central of Europe, Vienna, brought many cups of delicious caffeine my way to combat the jet lag, but always with a biscoff on the side.
During a day trip to Slovakia, I discovered the best fish soup there is which had the right amount of cream and consistency, and came with bacon which I had to work around. The grated potatoes added texture to it and it had a hint of sweetness to it, which I really relished.
They also sell Cannabis shampoo Slovakia so there’s that. Cool!
In Budapest, I learned that grilled cheese could mean many things, including an a block of cheese grilled with vegetables on the side. Different from what I was expecting when I ordered it, but they nailed it!
I’m by no means a fan of egg nog, but the egg nog pudding in Budapest was insanely delicious and a must-try.
But the best dessert I ate on this whole trip, was a Cherry Strudel with chocolate sauce. Budapest is known for its strudels so you definitely don’t want to leave without trying one, which will then lead to many.
Good food can sweeten travel so much more, and Europe never disappoints. Yet its nice to see certain specialties that cities pride themselves in and get to be a part of it.
Can’t wait to go back someday soon!