Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tastes Like Chicken

Last week I was in Subotica for a media event commemorating our project to pilot electronic filing in the Serbian courts (you can see the Hungarian TV news coverage here).

After the event, the court presidents (Higher and Basic Courts share the facility) took us to lunch. Lunch is always a little awkward, as everyone always looks to the foreign guest to determine the parameters of the meal ("Would you like something to drink?" for example, is really a determination of whether it will be OK to have a glass of rakia. "Whatever is customary" is my usual reply, and that opens the door to the liquor cabinet.

I like the local rakia (usually made from quince, grapes or apricots), so that's easy. The more difficult question is soup. I tend to agree with Jerry that soup is a meal in itself, and that, if you are having, salad, appetizers, entrees and dessert, especially in Serbia, there is no need for an additional course. So I usually decline, and, since everyone is getting their brandy, there usually isn't much complaint.

So everyone looked to me as the waiter was describing the available soups. Our translator rattled them off for me, and I wasn't really listening until something caught my attention: "Fish, Chicken, veal, pigeon, round chicken."

"Round Chicken?" I asked. "It is our specialty," the waiter added. "Round Chicken?" I asked again, mentally recalculating our interpreter's proper salary. "Morka," she shrugged. That's what we call it.

A quick internet search today for "Morka" revealed that  it is a guinea hen, but Google translate didn't know that. But if you are ever offered "round chicken" in Serbia, you will know what you're getting. And guess what it tastes like?

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