The Top Romanian Foods
One of the best part of travelling to new countries is to taste the local food and fortunately for our visitors, the Romanian cuisine is, of course, very delicious.
As you will learn during a free walking tour of Bucharest, the city has been influenced by many cultures in the past centuries. The reason why the Romanian food will appeal to many is that you will discover a lot of various influences with a local twist added in. The traditional dishes in Romania are the best in explaining the country’s history and culture. Turkish, German, Hungarian, Austrian, Russian, Bulgarian, Greek and a bunch more are the influences that can be found in the local dishes.
One important warning before starting your culinary journey of Romania: the food is heavy, fatty, creamy, in one word: tasty. Here are the top things you must try during your visit in Romania:
Sarmale (cabbage rolls) – these round cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat (and some rice) are a favourite among 99% of Romanians. Most say this is the best traditional food and the main festive dish cooked on all special occassions.
Mici or mititei – small rolls of grilled minced meat that comes in various combinations – with pork, sheep or beef. It’s every meat lover’s dream come true.
Mamaliga – it is basically boiled corn flour, the Romanian version of ‘polenta’, and this was basically the substitute for bread decades ago. It’s best served alongside sarmale or in the vegetarian version with cottage cheese and cream.
Slanina, caltabosi, lebar, toba – also known as ‘porcarii’ (products made of pork meat), there are best served in the cold winter season. Order a cold platter and you will them invariably together with various types of cheese. ‘Slanina’ is smoked fat; ‘caltabosi’ is a sausage made of the pig’s internal organs, minced meat and spices (pepper and thyme); ‘lebar’ is a sausage made mostly of pork liver; ‘toba’ is made of the pig’s head, tongue, kidneys, heart and muscle. Probably all this does not sound very tasty, but trust us, if it’s made right, you will be licking your fingers at the end of the meal.
Carnati de Plescoi – sausages from the region of Buzau (North-East of Bucharest) made from a mix of sheep and beef meat seasoned with paprika.
Salata de vinete – or aubergine salad with mayonnaise and a bit of onion
Zacusca – is a salad of reddish color made with aubergines, red bell peppers, onions and tomato sauce
Ciorba – which is basically sour soup and since Romanians are crazy about this, it comes in many varieties. What we recommend is the ‘ciorba de fasole si afumatura’ (bean soup with smoked bacon) served from a bread bowl and, if you are fond of sour cream, try the pork, chicken or beef ciorba cooked with cream. If you are in the mood for something different, then try the ciorba de burta (tripe sour soup with cream) – it’s one of the most loved Romanian dishes.
Papanasi – is a hearty delicious dessert with two doughnuts covered by cream and jam.
Placinta cu branza dulce – is a pie with sweet cheese, a dessert that can be found everywhere: restaurants, cafes, bakeries and homes.
Cozonac – is a sweet bread dough with nuts and Turkish delight. It is a treat cooked on all special occasions (Christmas, Easter, other religious holidays)
Covrigi – or the Romanian pretzel is a thinner version of the famous German counterpart and it comes in various combinations: with salt, with sesame, poppy or fillings (chocolate, cheese, jam or a sausage). The covrig is the Romanian breakfast if you had no time to eat something at home and you will often see queues of people waiting in front of bakeries to buy these treats in the early hours of the morning.