Every nation has several dishes it is proud of. Those are usually delicious, internationally respected dishes. But every nation also has several dishes that are rather infamous, and definitely not internationally accepted. They’re usually made from bizarre animals or from bizarre parts of normal (whatever that means) animals.
Not that they are something to be ashamed of, and it’s not that they’re not tasty, but they’re not exactly high on a list of dishes you would offer to a foreign guest. Croatia is no exception.
Tripe is a dish made from stomachs of various animals. Most popular animal to sacrifice its stomach for this treat is a cow, but tripe from lamb and pigs is not uncommon either. In coastal areas, you might find tripe from tuna or monkfish, but it’s pretty rare.
Stomachs are cut into stripes and usually cooked with pieces of bacon, potato, onion, etc. It ends up looking like a regular stew, but it is far from it. It’s taste and smell are something that you either adore or despise. There is no middle ground.
One of my favorites. Similar to black pudding in Great Britain, it’s basically pig’s blood mixed with various pig parts that aren’t used for “normal” dishes. It’s often mixed with rice (but not necessarily) and stuffed into pig’s intestines. Yep, we don’t waste a thing. However, artificial casings are more common now. A blood sausage can be cooked in water or roasted. It’s delicious either way.
Another dish made of pig parts that would have otherwise been thrown away. Most common parts are pig’s ear, tail, and hooves. Appetizing, right? It’s basically a soup that’s cooled to the point that it becomes jelly. When eating this, your hands inevitably get covered in grease all the way to the elbows. That’s a plus for me.
Loir is a specialty of a mountain region in Croatia. In the past, those tiny creatures (similar to squirrels) were an important food source for peasants who were not allowed to hunt anything larger. Larger animals were reserved for nobles.
You can fry them in a pan or make a stew out of them. They taste great, but have one major flaw: when cooked, they look like tiny humans. For some people, that’s an insurmountable obstacle. That fact that it takes lots of effort to get full (due to horrible meat/bone ratio) doesn’t help either.
Sea urchin (raw)
Croatians are usually not fond of eating raw animals, but this sea delicacy is an exception, at least in coastal Croatia. The urchin itself is not eaten, only its eggs,so you’ll need a female urchin for this. You cut it open with a knife, carefully remove the eggs, wash them a bit in the sea, and then eat them. As simple as that! I’m guessing you’d need a lot of sea urchins for a proper meal.
How many of those dishes would you be tempted to try?