Eating Well and Cheap on Holiday in Zadar
Dalmatian cuisine based on fish, olive oil, fresh vegetables and locally grown herbs is not only among the healthiest in the world but it’s also absolutely delicious particularly when combined with other specialties from continental Croatia. Indeed, trying out local, original dishes is a crucial element for anyone to fully appreciate the culture of the country they visit. Still, it does not necessarily mean (more) expensive dining. From traditional cuisine to junk food, here are a few tips about how to find just the right kind of food for a good price.
Make friends with Croatians
Croatians are easy-going people, famous for their hospitality, the ease with which they invite people to have a drink or come over for some coffee. Whether you are then actually offered coffee or rakija is irrelevant. And you might just be lucky enough to try out a home-cooked meal such as pašticada, grilled sardines, some homemade cookies or at least fritule. Needless to add, whenever Croatians invite you to whatever, it means they intend to pay.
Breakfast is the number one meal
Start a day on a good note. Not everyone is a morning person and many people skip breakfast just because they don’t feel like eating in the morning. But they should change that habit, as simple as that. Most hotels and hostels include breakfast in the price of a stay or it costs peanuts. More importantly, breakfast is just waiting to be served in the morning and doesn’t require any effort whatsoever apart from choosing, chewing and swallowing. So, why not use the opportunity to get ready for a day of sightseeing by enjoying an abundant breakfast?
Buzzing the market
A market is a dream come true for fans of fresh fruit and vegetables and on a scorching hot summer day that’s just what you need - some sweet refreshment. Sure, you can always pick a fig off a random tree by the road, but the market has its other charms. It gives you the opportunity to strike up a conversation with locals and to watch the way they communicate (and shout) among each other. And the lovely lady, at whose stand you’ll buy some fruit, will probably give a few pieces extras. Simply because.
For travellers on a budget, restaurants are probably places they avoid supposing they’re (too) expensive. Still, many excellent restaurants in Zadar and generally in Croatia offer lunch specialties, e.g. three (or more) dishes to choose from at a very friendly price. They are not only an excellent opportunity to have a warm, cooked meal, but also to try out traditional food.
When nothing else remains and you feel starved, there’s always good old junk food which is probably the easiest to find, from bakeries to fast food stands. Another option are supermarkets some of which offer lunch food prepared on the spot, salads, sandwiches, etc.
Man’s gotta eat
Travelling on a budget doesn’t necessarily mean that fast food is the only option. Between salads and veggies and lunch specials it is possible to eat a decent meal, try out traditional food and at the same time not worry about every kuna in the pocket. After all, a regular intake of food on holiday is equally important as finding the right kind of accommodation since crankiness resulting from hunger can easily ruin all the fun moments on holiday and spoil opportunities to meet new people. Not many people will want to meet a grumpy, nagging, pushy tourist, let alone invite them home, out for a drink and … give a fig.