Romania is a name that originates from the Latin word “Romanus” which means a citizen of the Roman Empire.
There is not much Roman in Romanian cuisine because various historical winds roared through Romania and it is difficult to say what the original was and what came after.
Dracula fought with the Turks, Decebal with the Romans, everybody lost, only the cuisine remained. Because the most important verb in every dish is to mix, so I also enjoy Romanian cuisine, which is very similar to ours (what a ‘coincidence’…) and I do not wonder where it all came from.
Here is my list of dishes worth trying in Romania:
In Romania, everything starts with stew.
Here they are called ciorbe and by this name is meant everything that is liquid, sour and eaten with a spoon. They can be made of meat, vegetables, veal legs, tripe. They are spiced with lemon, sour cream, vinegar and can always be more acidic with Romanians. Romanians even make fish stews this way especially around the Danube Delta.
Romanians adore polenta or corn flour, they use it everywhere: with cabage rolls, kebabs, they make it sweet, cook it, fry it and sometimes bake it. This is left over from the Romans, who are masters of porridge, and this is how this dish came about. Mamaljuga is a national food. Whoever has it will never be hungry. It used to be the food of the poor and nowadays it become a Romanian brand. There are two ways to store it in Romania. The first is to cook it very thick and use it as a substitute for bread.
Bulz de mamaluga (balls made from polenta)
And the other is when apple-sized balls are made from cooked and partially cooled polenta and stuffed with sheep’s cheese, or better still, with Romanian branza cheese that has matured in sheep’s stomach for some time. Grill them in the oven or better yet, grill them on the grill. This is how the famous bulz de mamalugas are made. This is a shepherd’s food that is a must have with beer if you have some.
Polenta goes with everything, so they add it to another favorite Romanian dish called sarmale. Who doesn’t know, these are sauerkraut rolls stuffed with meat… Now what does that remind you of?
I will not give a recipe because everyone thinks their recipe for cabbage rolls (pardon sarmale) is the best.
The queen of Romanian cuisine is pork.
Meat is eaten in all possible forms: bacon, ham, and then it is mandatory to accompany it with pickles. This love of pork also has its historical reasons. Namely, during the Ottoman occupation, the Turks were not interested in pork and, for obvious reasons, they did not take it from the Romanians. How the loyalty to this type of meat has evolved says this saying: “The best fish will always be pork.”
And here is the next favorite Romanian dish, mititei.
They are eaten everywhere in Romania as street food. The mythical “little ones” were created three centuries ago when a then famous restaurant lost its sausages, so they quickly made something similar. They differ in taste from kebabs from the rest of the Balkans in that they are seasoned with herbs, garlic, and with the addition of baking soda and fermented dough, they are grilled so that the smell of smoke is added to the already intense taste.
With the meat goes a salad. One of their favorites is:
Eggplant salad (Salată de Vinete)
This salad consists of: eggplant, mayonnaise, grated onion and pepper.
In fact, in Romania it is very difficult to be a vegan because meat comes first. The other food consumed on a daily basis is cheese, and they have some famous types, such as branza cheese packed in the bark of wood, which should be taken as a souvenir.
Ciorba di fazole
And one more specialty I must point out is ciorba di fazole.
Bean stew with dried meat served in a crunchy side dish all with a lid. Originally from Transylvania, it is considered a must-have food for the soul especially in winter.
Favorite Romanian dessert Papanasi prajati. Fried sweet donuts richly covered with sour cream, ice cream and some syrup. for everyone’s tastes.
Romania is the second in the world to produce plums and where the plums are there is the Tuica brandy, which is their national drink, although they would not be ashamed of good wines. The Tuica is very strong and must never be refused so as not to offend the host.
Romanians eat some things that would be strange to the rest of the world, such as fried brains, cooked tongue with olives, sausage made of liver…
Maybe that’s why the movie Tarzan was born here, in the Timisoara area. Admittedly, the Hungarians like him also, but one thing is for sure, he did not become the Tarzan on poor food.
Have you tried Romanian cuisine?
Did I miss anything?
Traveled and enjoyed,