Friday, November 17, 2017

Burek Breakfast in Dubvronik, Croatia

I learned about ‘Burek’ when I did a road trip in Croatia and Slovenia several years back.

It was in Zagreb that I tasted my first burek but it wasn’t very impressive at all. The pastry was dry and pretty hard and I could not even identify if there was meat in it. I am sure it was a bakery issue and I am not going to tarnish burek’s name in the Balkans because of this one isolated event.

Burek with meat and goat's cheese filling.

In this recent Balkan road trip (Bosnia & Hercegovina – Croatia – Montenegro), Bubbles and I had our first burek in Dubrovnik. We don’t really plan which country, city and which place to eat certain local specialities, some of the things just happened spontaneously.

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Early morning in Dubrovnik.

The place we booked in Dubrovnik does not offer any breakfast. We didn’t mind at all as this will give us the opportunity to dine outside. Stella, the owner of the apartment gave us a discount coupon for the café restaurant across the building that we can use for our breakfast.

I remember checking the breakfast options of the café restaurant but Bubbles and I also remembered passing by a bakery shop on Stradun. The bakery is called Mlinar and is a popular chain of bakeshops in Croatia. Bubbles reminded me that we have to try burek. So we walked to the bakery and indeed they were selling burek. In fact, they were selling different types of burek!

All the bureks with hearty fillings that you can eat at Mlinar bakery. Croatia uses the Kuna currency and 15.00 kn is less than 2 Euros. Perfect for a quick snack or breakfast.

Bubbles settled for a goat’s cheese burek while I had the meat (not sure what kind of meat it was) and both were soooo good!

I am not the type who uses superlatives in my blog posts to describe my experiences but when I say it is soooo good, it really is very good. This was so far the best burek I have tasted and it smelled so good as well. Really delicious freshly baked pastry. The meat was very tasty and juicy (you can see it in the pictures) and the phyllo dough was crunchy and just perfect to the bite.

So what is burek?

Burek is a baked phyllo-based pastry, usually with a hearty filling such as cheese, meat, spinach and potato. There are other fillings of course but these are the popular ones. It is a Balkan speciality and is also spelt as borek. Other countries in Eastern Europe down to the Levant region have their own versions as well and they go by in many names. Boregi, byrek, byorek, byurek, boureki, bourekaki, bourekas, buricche and brik.

All I can say, it is delicious and they are usually cheap. A must eat when in the Balkans.

The first bite. Yum.

We ate the burek on the quiet street of Stradun as we watch the first set of tour groups arrive in Dubrovnik Old Town. The first group arrived precisely at 09:00. They must have come from the cruise ships docked nearby to be able to arrive this early in the old town. By 09:30 the old town is buzzing with people. It was very strange to see a quiet place transform into a tourist mecca in just half an hour.

Speaking of cruise ships, I have never done a real cruise ship holiday and it’s not on top of my list as well. For some reason, I do not find it an attractive way of travelling. But I am not closing its doors because when I am older and perhaps past the 70’s I may prefer this type of travelling. We never know! I may even go for it earlier than expected.

The first group tour arriving at 09:00 hours in Dubrovnik old town. Many of the shops are not yet open except for a few cafes and the bakery shop.

We proceeded to the café terrace across our apartment on the now busy Luza Square for some coffee and orange juice. Our breakfast is now complete and we can start our day.

Sometimes I really prefer to eat breakfasts outside the apartment or hotel I am staying. It brings a different dynamic with multifaceted expectations of the trip, making the whole experience more exciting I guess. You know, I am always in for a new thing.

Coffee and orange juice for breakfast. We have since swallowed down all the burek =)

The only thing we (might have) regretted was not buying more burek for our snack on our way to Montenegro. Did I say that we had great food experiences in Dubrovnik? Well, there's more to come in my next posts.

TIP: The Mlinar bakery is located on Stradun near the Pile Gate (main entrance) of the fortified old town. It’s on the right side of the gate.

The cafe is right at our apartment on Stradun and Luza Square. This was taken at 09:24 and the city are already filled with people. Just half an hour ago this area was empty.

Travel Period: April 2017
Destination: Dubrovnik (Dubrovnik-Neretva), Croatia

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

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