Traditional Romanian Food 101-What to Eat When Visiting Dracula's Country


"The central characteristic of the Romanian cuisine is its great variety.

It is a cuisine influenced by repeated waves of different cultures: the ancient Greeks, with whom Romanians traded; the Romans, who gave the country its name; the Saxons, who settled in southern Transylvania; the Turks, who for centuries dominated Romania; as well as Slavic and Magyar neighbors. All of these influences gradually blended into the varied and delicious Romanian culinary tradition"

(Nicolae Klepper — Taste of Romania)

Pastrami with Polenta and Cheese
Pastrami with Polenta and Cheese

Dear Readers,

We strongly believe that when visiting a foreign country, tasting the local cuisine is a must. Romania is no exception! It would be a shame to come here and eat pizza, Mc Donald's or Chinese food, just because you don't know what to expect! Plus, dining in a restaurant will only add value to your experience, for a very reasonable price. 

Below are some examples of dishes you might want to try. Beware vegetarians! You might be frowned upon regularly in Romania as meat is considered esential in any meal! Despite that, you will still have a few options to choose from and with a bit of imagination, you can have a delicious feast!

We will start with our favorite, sarmale. That is basically mincemeat wrapped in cabbage leaves or vine leaves. It goes well with polenta (made with water, salt and corn meal)and sour cream.

Stews made with different chicken and pork in addition to various vegetables are very popular in restaurants. One of the favorites among Romanians is the tripe soup served with garlic or hot chili pepper and vinegar. Carnati, a dish made with pork liver and intestines is also a favorite. More meat favorites include the following: frigarui (skewered meat),  mititei (grilled mince meat rolls) and snitel (a breaded pork, veal, or beef cutlet).

For vegetarians, some options include ghiveci (mixed fried vegetables),  oua umplute (filled eggs) and bulz de mamaliga cu branza(polenta mixed with cheese, however you should carefully read the ingredients as there are variations which include meat). Potatoes are also served often. Breakfast contains mainly of eggs, whether fried, soft-boiled, or omellettes.

Another Romanian belief is that a meal is never complete without soups (or that's what your mother will raise you to believe).  Chicken, beef, bean and vegetable soup are very popular choices.

When it comes to desserts, there is a wide range of crepes with various fillings and toppings. Other favorites include baklava (an extremely sweet layered pastry),  pandispan (sponge cake), turta dulce (gingerbread), papanasi (a kind of doughnut with jam and sour cream on top)and orez cu lapte ( rice pudding).

And what would a meal be without an alcoholic beverage to go with it?Wine comes in great varieties however its most popular drink is made of plums, apples, or peaches and it is called tuica. Despite its fruity flavor, it has often been referred to as 'rocket fuel'.

In proper traditional restaurants, dishes come in fairly large portions and are accompanied by Romanian folk music, characterised by great vitality!!!

Hopefully, this Traditional Romanian Food 101 has stirred your curiosity for our local cuisine! Go ahead and ask our staff about recommended restaurants, to ensure a wonderful experience for your taste buds!!!

As we say in Romania: Pofta Buna!


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