Thursday 29 October 2020

CorkHi21°| Lo16°

Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

Back when Yugoslav cuisine was the height of sophistication!

Wednesday, 29th July, 2020 5:40pm

I still remember the first restaurant my parents dragged my siblings and me to – it was a Yugoslavian eatery (the height of sophistication in the ‘70s in Germany!). 

Now for the younger readers – Yugoslavia used to be a country that was made up of Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Macedonia. It never occurred to me that most of the dishes were made with mince, just in different forms.

You could get cevapici – basically meatballs formed into cylinders but denser. The next step up was to wrap the meat around a skewer before cooking – my dad loved the meat-heavy menu while my mum would always order the cevapici for herself and us. It came served with rice (not manly enough for my dad who had chips with his dish) and came with a sauce (don’t ask me what it was). This was considered ‘going out’.

Today, cevapicis are considered fast food, served in flatbread, similar to a doner kebap. Going to a Yugoslavian restaurant was a brave move of my parents – they only discovered Chinese food about 10 years later and thought I was being very exotic when I had my first Indian dish!

My parents didn’t go out regularly – it had to be a special occasion like a big birthday or anniversary etc.

They never understood my grandmother who enjoyed going out and it was with her that I visited my first fine-dining restaurant. It was called Bonaparte, owned by an Indian guy with a French chef in the kitchen.

It was here that I had the best zander fillet ever – it came with a rice timbale (basically, cooked rice pressed into a dish and turn out) and a lemon foam. Wow – I thought I was a member of high society suddenly.

Today, I know that it was a very simple dish but expertly executed. Even after almost 40 years, I still remember this dish – and that’s what going out is for me.

Memories of spending time with my grandmother who talked to the owner (who she just met) like they were old friends, no shame in asking for the recipe of her dish and complimenting him on his fine establishment.

People who knew my grandmother say I am very like her and I think my love for enjoyment stems from spending so much time with her.

There are other occasions with food I remember – the first time I ate double-baked pork in a Chinese restaurant (it was also the dish I ordered when I visited Berlin in December and met my brother and cousin in a Chinese), my first Indian dish called malai kofta (still my favourite Indian dish) and my first time eating frozen grapes with wine.

These are memories I have no photos of but the experience still sticks with me and I still love being impressed and surprised when I go out.

It doesn’t need to be fine dining – I had memorable food in the most unlikely places like in Sicily where I got lost and was trying to ask for directions but ended up having the most awesome pasta dish, or in Sri Lanka where I was invited to a private house and ate dried fish that has been rehydrated and turned into a tasty dish.

I still enjoy discovering these gems and can’t wait to go on the road again to see what the world has to offer.

ePaper Service

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8
Desktop, Tablet & Smartphone friendly
Cookies on Cork Independent website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. We also use cookies to ensure we show you advertising that is relevant to you. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the Cork Independent website. However, if you would like to, you can change your cookie settings at any time by amending your browser settings.
How does Cork Independent use cookies?
Cookies enable us to identify your device, or you when you have logged in. We use cookies that are strictly necessary to enable you to move around the site or to provide certain basic features. We use cookies to enhance the functionality of the website by storing your preferences, for example. We also use cookies to help us to improve the performance of our website to provide you with a better user experience.
We don't sell the information collected by cookies, nor do we disclose the information to third parties, except where required by law (for example to government bodies and law enforcement agencies).
Hide Message