Home cooking at Alma’s: Blagaj, Bosnia
I think we can all agree that one of the best experiences to have while traveling is to eat at a local’s home. To see and taste dishes that they cook, learn how they cook them and dine on someone’s back patio with their family around is such a wonderful change from eating at a restaurant or other business.
On our newly christened Budapest 2 Balkans tour last May, we spent a day in Bosnia with local guide Alma. She lives in Blagaj, a small town only 15 minutes from the famous city of Mostar. Blagaj is known for its 15th century tekke or dervish house built by the Ottomans which now houses an ethnographic museum. The location is superb, built right next to a cavern in which the Buna river flows out of. Alma’s house is located along the Buna as well, just a kilometer down stream from the dervish house.
Alma cooked up a feast with the highlight being janjetina pod-peka or lamb cooked under a metal bell (or lid). Then hot embers are shoveled over the metal cover and cooked for 3-4 hours. The lamb were served up with some killer Bosnian spuds (potatoes are essential for any peka experience). Alongside the meat and potatoes were garden fresh tomatoes and sirnica, another specialty from this part of the Balkans, which is a layered cheese pie. Sirnica’s fast-food cousin is burek, the ubiquitous grab-and-go snack available at nearly every bakery from Ljubljana to Belgrade. Craft beers from Mostar and some fiery rakija (brandy) helped to wash it all down.
An absolute highlight from our too-short time in Bosnia!