Tuesday, May 09, 2017

First Meal of Balkan Stews in Tuzla (BiH) – Dagarica and Muckalica

Before embarking on this Balkan trip, I have already resigned to the fact that, at least, for the beginning of the journey, which will be in Bosnia & Herzegovina, our holiday eats will be far from gourmet-esque.... unless of course if we will be going to first class restaurants, which we did by the way in Sarajevo. On hindsight, I am quite happy we did this in the capital.

Balkan Stew Dinner at Restoran Carsijska Cesma in Tuzla

Bosnia & Herzegovina is a meat-eating country, and I guess that sums up the whole of central and eastern Europe as well. The national dish is Cevapi which are rolled minced meat eaten with pita bread. I have read about the must-eat places for Cevapi in Sarajevo so I suggested to Bubbles, my travel companion in this Balkan road trip, to eat this when we get there the next day. She agreed.

So for dinner on our first night in the country, in the city of Tuzla, is going to be some other local fare.

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I did some pre-trip research and found out that there are not many sit-down restaurants in Tuzla. The city is still in its development phase and I will expound on this subject hopefully in a separate post another time.

The popular Restoran Čaršijska Česma came highly recommended on Tripadvisor. This is perhaps the best restaurant in town, located on the main square just across the city mosque. It has a terrace so it’s a great place to sit down for a drink and people watch, but also for lunch and dinner alfresco when the weather cooperates.

Main Square of Tuzla and Restoran Carsijska Cesma in Tuzla

This is the main square of Tuzla (Trg Slobode), Restoran Carsijska Cesma is located on the corner, the tangerine coloured building with the Coca-Cola terrace shade.

Trg Slobode - Main Square of Tuzla
Waiting for our Dinner at Restoran Carsijska Cesma in Tuzla

Bubbles and I decided to sit outside on the terrace and order the local stews called Dagarica and Muckalica, as recommended by the wait staff. It was not a warm evening in Tuzla nor was it that cold. While waiting for the fares to arrive, we had drinks, a bottle of coca-cola and a local apple juice drink. Beside us was a group of German guys just finishing their dinner. Inside was another group of younger German guys. I noticed that majority of the tourists coming to Tuzla are Germans. German businesses are also very much present in Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Finally, our dinner arrived and served in earthenware bowls, which I read is a very traditional way of presenting the dish.

Bosnian Stew - Dagarica

Bosnian meat and vegetable stew: Dagarica.

I ordered Dagarica which is a local Bosnian beef stew simmered with vegetables. I found it to be good. The taste is nothing like sensory-wielding though, it is more like in the league of home and comfort food. Something you can take enjoyment with on a rainy day at home.

Serbian Stew - Muckalica

Serbian meat & vegetable stew: Muckalica.

Muckalica on the other hand, which is what Bubbles had is originally a Serbian dish. It is a stew made with barbequed meat from different animals with vegetables in it mainly paprika. Bubbles said it tasted like the Filipino pork stew called Menudo.

Will we recommend Dagarica and Muckalica? For sure, especially if one has been eating Cevapi for days in the Balkans. We noticed that there’s not much variety in Bosnian cuisine and the Cevapi stand was just as pervasive as the burger and fries fast food chains in America. I will blog about our Cevapi experiences very soon.

Restaurant Carsijska Cesma in Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Bosnian Coffee in Restoran Carsijska Cesma in Tuzla

Typical Bosnian coffee (Bosanska kafa) with Turkish lokum candy to go with it.

Then it started to rain so we moved indoors and noticed the traditional Bosnian interior of the restaurant. It was quite nice.

To finish off our dinner I ordered the typical Bosnian coffee, which in principle is similar to Turkish and Greek coffee. You also get a sweet with it, usually, a Turkish lokum candy which is a fragment of culinary influence in the Ottoman occupation days. Bubbles was not fond of Bosnian coffee and even if it's our first day in the Balkans, she says she is already missing the standard European cafe.

It was, shall we say, not bad for a first meal in the Balkans. At least now we know what the (meat) stews here are like.

Travel Period: April 2017
Destination: Tuzla, Bosnia & Herzegovina

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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