Here are some of the Croatia fun facts. If you are visiting Croatia and have a chance to spend some time with local people, here are few ways that can make a Croatian angry. I'm not taking sides here. I am just saying that these things can make a Croatian angry. And you don't want an angry Croatian.
Croatia fun facts
#1: If you call them the Balkans; I am not taking sides here, nor do I want to debate about whether Croatia is or isn't in the Balkans. I am just saying, that if you are visiting Croatia, don’t try to tell your Croatian host that Croatia is the Balkan. You’ll be in for a long discussion, how geographically Croatia might be partially Balkan country, but how culturally and historically they have nothing in common with the rest of Balkan countries. Unless you are really bored to death, and you are really in for some arguing, just don’t use the Balkan term while in Croatia.
#2: If you call Croatia, an Eastern European country; it’s just a little bit more acceptable for Croatians to be called Eastern Europe than it is to be called the Balkans. However, you’ll be in for a long debate again. Your Croatian host will try to explain to you how Croatia is culturally and historically part of Central Europe, and geographically a Southeastern European country. And that they were free to travel even during Socialist times. They also had nothing to do with Russia since 1948.
#3: If you still refer to the country as ex-Yugoslavia. OK, Croatia was a part of Yugoslavia. And you might have a point there. But, it’s been 23 years since Yugoslavia disintegrated, maybe it’s time to stop calling it that name. You’ll look better too.
#4: If you call the independence war, a civil war. It wasn't a civil war. Get over it.
#5: If you praise cevapi as their national dish. OK, it is the single most popular dish you’ll eat in Croatia. And, unless you are a vegetarian, there is a good chance you’ll love it. Croatian restaurants’ owners figured this out long ago. People love cevapi. And tourists even more. So the majority of the restaurants offer them. However, Croatians will always try to explain to you how cevapi is Bosnian, but they offer them just because tourists ask for them.
#6: If you keep filling up their glass yourself. As appreciative buddies, their job will then be to drink it all. And consequently, they’ll get drunk. In Croatia, the bottle is at the table, and everybody drinks as much as they feel comfortable with.
#7: Calling Croatian and Serbian the same language. You wouldn't tell a Norwegian he speaks the same language as a Swede, would you? While Croatian and Serbian are similar languages, they are not the same. Don't bring it up, unless you really want to have another long debate with your Croatian host.
84 thoughts on “Croatia fun facts: the best ways to make a Croatian angry”
Haha this made me laugh! Although I must admit that whenever people ask me about the languages in Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia I always say “It’s all the same!” haha. Now I’m off to close the windows in fear of the killer propuh
Croatia is in the Balkans. This is a geographical fact. Get over it.
Here is a little demonstration of differences between Croatian and Serbian language. Here is a recipe of imaginary dish that doesn’t really exist, but I am not a cook and this is only for illustration, as an example. The name of the dish in Croatian is Juha s grahom, mahunama, mrkvom i pisanicom/lungićem. The same name in Serbian/Bosnian: Supa s pasuljem, boranijom, šargarepom i vešalicom. In English it would be something like Soup with beans, string beans, carrots and pork loin
Croatian version: 1/4 kg graha; 1/4 kg mahuna; 1 šalica mrkve; 40 dag lungića/pisanice (razrežite na dva komada po 20 dag); 2 jušne žlice ulja; 1 jušna žlica octa; 1 čajna/kavena žličica soli; papar;
A Serbian/Bosnian version: 1/4 kg pasulja; 1/4 kg boranije; 1 šolja šargarepe; 40 dag vešalice (rasecite na dva parčeta po 20 dag); 2 supene kašike zejtina; 1 supena kašika sirćeta; 1 čajna/kafena kašičica soli; biber
English version: 1/4 kg beans; 1/4 kg string beans; 1 cup carrots; 40 dag pork loin (cut into two pieces 20 dag each); 2 table spoons oil; 1 table spoon of vinegar; 1 teaspoon salt; pepper
Just a small illustration. Try and ask very young people whether they understand the recipe written in language other than theirs.
Greetings from Lago di Bundek
Peregrine, is this a real recipe? Might try it out :). Thanks for your comment!
It would be interesting to taste it, but I would suggest you to chose puricu s mlincima instead, since you are not a vegetarian as I am.
I used to be a vegetarian for many years. I still don’t eat much meat, simply because I don’t like it that much. However, when eating out, I eat whatever is the house specialty, be it meat or anything else :-)
Or you might try kotlovina, if you haven’t already.
Tasted it once at my friends’ party. It’s good, but I still prefer simple gradela method of cooking :-).
That’s like saying British English and American English are two different languages. Try asking American kids what a “loo” or a “plaster” are… See?! They’re two different languages!
Great blog Frank! Couldn’t agree more on what irritates the hell out of us Croatians. Did you make any faux pas yourself?
On a side note, if you are a guest in a Croatian home, the hosts WILL refill your glass until you hide it under the table or cover it with your hand. Croatian hospitality, we can’t help it.
Hi Sandra in the desert,
thanks for your comment. Don’t know. My father-in-law always gets pissed if I try to fill up his glass. Maybe he just doesn’t like me :)
Nice blog, Frank, and mostly very, very true, nice observations. Only, I don’t think that Croats would be offended by the fact that you consider ćevapi a Croatian dish. We just don’t want to adorn ourselves with borrowed plumes (in Croatian we say – kititi se tuđim perjem). When it comes to differences between Croatian and Serbian they can be very confusing and similarity of these languages can mislead you. Of course, we, older people who lived here during ex Yugoslavia understand Serbian almost completely, but ask very young Croats (who don’t have nothing in common with Serbia or Bosnia) what is boranija (string beans) they would not understand just as people from Serbia wouldn’t know what the word mahune (Croatian word for stringbeans) means. Pasulj is Serbian word beans and grah is Croatian. We (Croats) say zrak, Serbs say vazduh. We say siguran, they say bezbedan (safe). We say kruh, they say hleb (bread) etc, etc. I could write all day or more days or give you and English text and ask you to give it to a person from Serbia or Bosnia to translate and you will get something quite different than if a Croat translates it. And a lot of young people of opposite nationality would not understand a lot of words in it. It is not the matter of hatred between the nations, it was always so although they have tried to erase the differences between the two languages they never really succeeded to do so. Keep on the good work:).
Greetings from Lago di Bundek, Zagreb
Thanks for your comment!
You are very wellcome, Frank (and to Croatia, too:))
Please excuse my double negations, omission or wrong use of articles and typing mistakes like this wellcome:).
Peregrine how come at the bottom of your post there is a line in italian? lago di Bundek
Loved this blog and most of it is 100% true. Had to laugh though at the one serbian and also the Bosnian guy who implied that Croatian is not a language unto itself. It is and always was a separate language. The serbian contradicting himself, when he said that Croats from Split (who speak Croatian Cakule Chakavian dialect) better understands a serbian from Belgrade than a Croat from Zagreb (who speaks Croatian Kajkavian dialect). Thing is, Croatian has had a continuous literary language since the early medieval ages and the greatest Croatian writers were translated into most other European languages, in stark contrast to serbian which did not produce a single work of literature for over 400 years due to Ottoman occupation. They used a Church Slavonic language close to Bulgarian, and during the nationalistic romanticist revival period, the serbians adopted much of the already existing Croatian literary language as their own. Of course, in typical serbian style they switched the facts 180 degrees in retrospect and claim that Croats actually adopted and speak serbian. Btw, the official term “serbo-Croatian” or “Croato-serbian” as it was meant to be called in Croatia during the Yugoslav period, was only halfheartedly in use from 1954 to 1990 by some scholars and even then they had a hard time promoting the term inside Yugoslavia. It was much more easy for foreigners to accept the term, mostly due to the fact that they have generally zero knowledge about the South Slavic languages. Not to rant here under your blog but this may come in handy for those searching the origins of the differences.
Hi King Tomislav, thanks for your comment. Sure, not the same languages.
Hi Cancro, thanks for stopping by. These were just my observations, and possibly completely wrong. Love it here, man. No shoveling at all :). Cheers!
Frank are you in Dalmatia?
Hi Tonci, thanks for stopping by. My wife’s family is from Dalmatia, and we go there often. But we live in Istria.
Well, that’s how most people react because they have an issue with their geographical and cultural heritage. It is hard to define Balkans anyway. It’s usually meant as a part of Europe which is backward and not progressive. Eastern Europe is a political term and it refers to ex-communist countries. So, Chezc Republic is called Eastern Europe although it is in Central Europe and has western Europe habits in almost everything. It’s the 45 years of communism that made people feel inferior to the Western Europe.
However, in terms of culture, i.e. music Croats are very much Balkans because a vast majority like folk oriental music which is also produced in Croatia, and in Bosnia, especially in Serbia. Ćevapi are a separate issue because in Serbia they think it is also their national dish and not only Bosnian.
And drinking every glass of wine that someone filled is also funny because not everyone behaves that way. Also, people in Croatia have a tendency to behave differently with foreigners and adapt their manners a bit. Sometime they show off, or brag, sometimes they act more politely.
Frank, nice blog.Btw there is a great chance that the restaurant in Mostar was Croatian!
Hi Mostarac, thanks for your comment. Possible. Cevapi were awesome, though. One of the best I tasted.
Lol, you got the bit about the Balkans right, my grandmother used to bring foreigners to tears when they “forgot” themselves and used that term in her house. And even though she doesn’t speak English, they still got an earful in Croatian, German and Italian about it XD
But seriously now, I don’t say Balkans cause it ain’t so and because I like things to be stated precisely. My favourite story about it is when I was visiting Alaska and I called a white guy from Anchorage “Russian” after he informed me I was from the Balkans… Oh, the fun times I had there :D
Hi Marko, thanks for stopping by. How did you like Alaska?
Huge, wild, very green, not so cold as I imagined, colourful people – Alaska is MAGNIFICENT! Hope to get back someday.
BTW congrats for making it into mainstream media in Cro :) Some comments are pretty funny, especially the one stating something like “That Canadian guy knows us better than we know ourselves” XD
But the poll under the article would suggest that you were spot on, something like 85% of the people who voted agrees with what you wrote :)
Hi Marko, wide spaces out there, it’s true.
Croatian media blast seriously took me by surprise. Glad it went well. And people mostly agreed with the post.
One thing no true! We had nothing to do with Russia since 1948, not 1955!
Thanks Zwone! Corrected.
everything you wrote is true :) Even CRO news portals shared your article :)
What most interests me is this PICTURE of cevapi, can you please share from which restaurant is that picture and delicious looking cevapi? And is that restaurant in Zagreb?
thanks for stopping by. Didn’t know that Croatian news portal wrote about this. Thanks for the heads up! Will look into it. Cevapi photo is actually from a restaurant in Mostar. But it was the best photo of Cevapi I had taken. Any good place in Zagreb that you would recommend?
do you know what is the name of that restaurant in Mostar?
Here is the news portal:
And for the restaurant in Zagreb regarding cevapi, for me personally restaurant “Stari kotac” have best cevapi in town Zagreb.
I have tried cevapi in almost all famous grill restoraunts in Zagreb, and in Stari kotac for me the meat is the best, and they have also excellent “pljeskavica” it is a meal like a burger, and I like it with melted cheese filled inside.
On weekend it is almost immposible to get a table, and in late spring and summer they open they garden terrace.
Hi Jopps, If I remember well, the name of the restaurant is Kuluk. Stari kotac sounds great. Planning to head to Zagreb next month. I’ll certainly check it up!
Check it up you wont be disappointed, just don’t expect a lot from interior decoration, but the main thing is that the meal offer and waiters are top class.
I don’t care mich for the decorations as long as the food is good :). Thanks again!
When in Zagreb, go to Trilogia, right after Kamenita vrata, on left-hand side. Not exactly Croatian food, but chef is THE master and food is excellent!
Hi Branimir, thanks for stopping by and for your tip. I love trying out new restaurants. This is already a seconde one on my list for the next time I’m in Zagreb. Any particular dish that you would recommend?
I’ve eaten cevapi in Step Grill in Zagreb last month… pretty good ;)
And I have also heard about place called ”Kod Srbina” in Zagreb… I haven’t been there but I’ve heard it’s good, and I like the name heheh
Hi Janez, thanks for stopping by and for your tip. Checked it out on Google+ and it looks awesome!
You’ve made it to the second highest circulation tabloid there (something like various ‘Sun’ papers in Canada)
If you scroll down, you’ll see that they’ve run a survey asking people if they agree (the question reads: “Do you agree with Frank”) and most actually do.
Regarding the language issue you’ve been had. The languages are actually as ‘different’ as British and American, nothing like Swedish and Norwegian. (Although I do have a friend, a Bosnian living in Sweden, who is quite adamant that Swedish and Norwegian are the ‘same sh..’. Couldn’t tell, but when I watch their movies it doesn’t sound like that to me…) However, that is something most people are keen to assert. Why? I just don’t get it. I’m from Bosnia. We speak both of their languages in addition to our own. :)
Hi Buzz, wow, man, this certainly wasn’t my plan. Thanks for letting me know.
Bosnian is more similar to Serbian, has more Turkish word in it (which most of people from Croatia do not understand, but it does include some Croatian words.
I’m from Croatia, and everything you wrote is true. Although, I don’t mind when someone says “Balkan” or “Eastern Europe”, it’s true, especially when we do have “Balkan” mentality, which I’m not proud off. What can you do? :) And for the others, if you plan to visit Croatia, cevapi (ćevapi) is must! Trust me. ;)
Oh, and Frank, you have a great blog! Glad you’re living here. :)
thanks for stopping by. I love Croatia and trully enjoy living here. Will check your blog too.
I hope you won’t be disappointed; it’s about writing.
P.s. I read your other texts about Croatia- good work! :)
Thanks Elly! I love writing, so if it’s about writing, I can only learn from it.
I admittedly wouldn’t have known any of these either–glad I found out before I made the mistake :D
Ashley, thanks for stopping by. It can be handy, but then again don’t trust everything I say :-).
In many of those, you could simply substitute ‘Slovenia’ for ‘Croatia’ to describe similar debates here. Just don’t tell Slovenes and Croats that. :)
Hahaha, Bob. Sounds so famliar :)
Love this and all great to know when I make it to Croatia. The cevapa looks delicious. I don’t know too much about Croatia so always like learning about other cultures and places. And that first picture is what I never would have expected from an Eastern European country.
Mary, thanks for stopping by. Cevapi are delicious (if you like meat).
We are so close, must make it there this year! :)
Thanks for stopping by. Yes, being so close, it should be easy to visit. Let us know if you decide so.
I love this post! Being informed is so important when you visit another culture. I’ll tuck these away in the memory banks for later. ;-) Thanks!
Lol Nancie! Thanks for reading!
I wouldn’t have known any of these – guess I would have been in for some long lectures if I’d talked to any Croatians! Now I’m better prepared. :)
Jess, definitely better prepared and ready to avoid some boring lectures :). Thanks for your comment!
I always enjoy stopping by your website!!! I’ve never been to Croatia, however when I read your blog it makes me feel like I’m there. Your blog has this inviting and welcoming feel to it. It’s hard to find a blog that has the combination of the two!
I will continue to stop by and enjoy reading more about what Croatia has to offer! Someday, I will travel there.
Hi Ruthie, thanks so much for your comment. Now you have friends in Croatia. And that itself is always a good reason to visit a country. Hope to have you here (we can even host you; plenty space for friends at our place).
All good things to know :) Similar to how Hungarians don’t like being called Central Europe.
Adelina, I didn’t know that Hungarians don’t like to be called Central Europe. Craziness is everywhere :)
Haha must agree and wanted to write something similar! I think many countries could tell their stories ;-) and as born in Hungary (but left very long ago) and traveling around, I do know that Hungarians do hate the East expression and also similar things what you mentioned Frank about the roots and the language itself! Confirmed :P
Every country I guess has its own things they like to twist a bit :)
In my (admittedly scatterbrained) mind, I still some times equate Croatia with Eastern Europe, mostly because for much of my childhood they were part of Yugoslavia – which sounded and looked very Eastern European. But the Balkans? Oh c’mon, now they’re just nitpicking! :) Really fun list, congrats! Good luck!
Lol, you’ve got it. You know there is at least one Croatian behind this blog. That means, ditching the Balkans with such a style, is a safe way to go :). Kidding! Thanks for the comment.
Even though I live in Croatia, I say the Balkans… I better stop that one then.
Lol, if I remember well, youvsaid you never made too many friends in Croatia. Just kidding :))
None actually. I have Zero Croatian friends. I better take a good look at myself…
Currently visiting Croatia .. that is how I found your blog!
Funny article & no, won’t try to argue :-)
Thanks for stopping by. Where are you now? Will check your blog to follow the adventure.
Hi there, Currently Istria and apparently “I have to see” Dalmatia :-)
I have a family member who lives here (wasn’t born here just moved as of the beauty of the country) but I am curious to see Split etc! Cheers
Istria is great and at this time of the year, there is much more to do than in Dalmatia. However, Split is great to visit even in winter. Great blog on your side!
Thanks Frank. I am following your blog now. I travel since very very long and now I happen to be here from Manhattan (where I lived) but Europe is Europe, isn’t. Are you a Croat or born somewhere else? Cheers. And hvala about my blog. I mostly “speak” in pictures but like to read around ;-)
Hi Monika, I’m Canadian, but I’ve been living here for the last 9 years. Why don’t you link up your blog with our Sunday Traveler blog party. Just read few rules at the bottom of this post. We would love if you do so.
Thanks I will look around and learn about it!
Any chances you guys stay in Croatia or thinking of Canada again?
Hi Monika, we’ll stay in Croatia for now. How about you?
Gotcha! ENG or FR part of CA? Okay I stop asking too much just always happy for others who were born somewhere & live elsewhere!
It has been only recently that I returned from the US (lived in France before) and planning for EU.. Not sure where yet ;-) so how about exploring Croatia?
Yeah, maybe Croatia can be your next home.
Hee hee! I enjoyed this!
Isabel, thanks! Glad you’ve enjoyed it. I also find these facts amusing.