Fiš paprikash – taste and fragrance of Slavonia and Baranja that you have to try

Culinary connoisseurs are unanimous – the secret of good fiš is hidden in fresh and high quality fish with Slavonia’s domestic paprika.

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Visiting Baranja and not tasting fiš paprikash is similar as coming to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. It is fireworks of tastes that cannot be compared with any other dish. Almost all restaurants in Slavonia and Baranja have that delicacy in their offer. In honour of this traditional dish, almost any village in the region between the Danube, the Drava and the border with Hungary has its fish competition. It is cooked by everybody – men, children, women, elderly and young...

The fiš story goes back to distant past. Allegedly, it was first cooked by settlers from the south part of Germany, but inhabitants of Hungarian origin allege that the credits for the emergence of fiš belong to them. Therefore, it is not wrong to conclude that it is about a union of two cuisines whose product – fiš – is deeply rooted in their traditions. Culinary connoisseurs are unanimous – the secret of good fiš is hidden in fresh and high quality fish, and paprika must be domestic one, Slavonia’s. It is only important to find the right ratio of fish, onion, garlic, tomato, ground pepper, salt, wine... and select the right heat.

At the Baranjska Kuća Restaurant located at the village of Karanac, at half way between Kneževi Vinogradi and Beli Manastir, about thirty kilometres from Osijek, almost 50 percent of orders are for fiš paprikash.

Baranjska kuća. Foto: Davor Javorović/Pixsell

- The catfish perkelt (stew), also one of the favourite specialties of the Baranja cuisine, is equally demanded. Perkelt is accompanied with cow’s milk cheese and fried bacon, and for fiš paprikash, homemade noodles are obligatory – they say at the Baranjska Kuća, and the result is delight for the palate. Besides, guests can select among mild, hot or very hot paprikash, and they can also add hot ingredients additionally.

Baranjska kuća. Foto: Davor Javorović/PixsellBaranjska kuća. Foto: Davor Javorović/Pixsell

The Kod Daneta Inn is located at the village of Aljmaš where thousands pilgrims come every year to the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation.

Fiš, or fish paprikash is prepared in a kettle on open fire on logs, and is made of two river fish, carp and catfish. To get complete experience, a visitor should walk to the open fire and watch the preparation of this dish.

- We never cook and then wait for guests. Our guests get a freshly cooked dish. If guests announce their coming and say the exact time of the arrival, they wait for the dish maybe five minutes because we prepare everything until their arrival. And, if guests arrive without announcement, fish is waited for about 45 minutes. Also, guests can always come and see their kettle with fish simmering – they say at the Kod Daneta Inn noting that they add onion, tomato, paprika and salt to catfish and carp...

There is also an inn restaurant, Kod Ruže, which is located in the old part of Osijek – Tvrđa (Fortress). It is also a favourite place for everybody wanting to try the tastes and aromas of Slavonija and Baranja.

- Fiš is best when it is a little strong. But we always give people a possibility to select the hotness of fiš. That is a great dish that is simple and yet popular, they say.