Food & Travel - A culinary tour of Romania

Mar 10, 2017

  If you’re one of those people who absolutely loves food and is anxious to try whatever a country has to offer in terms of gastronomy when you’re travelling, then you will be pleased to find out that the Romanians do not fall short when it comes to the variety of traditional dishes to offer you.

First off, you should know that, as we say it, a Romanian’s favorite vegetable is pork. So most of the cooked meals here have as main ingredient pork meat.

And our favorite salad, Boeuf Salad, which even though has Russian origins, it is traditionally made at important festive occasions such as New Year’s Eve, or Christmas, cannot be made without big quantities of homemade mayonnaise.

So no, we’re not big fans of healthy eating.

Most of the dishes we call traditional or national are also claimed by other countries of the region, such as the famous sarmale, or mici. But that does not make them any less traditional and you will find that each place, even a few hundred kilometers away cooks very differently even dishes with the same name.

Transylvanian food for example is a little bit different from Moldovan one, and some of the dishes they prepare in one region you will probably never find in another. If you go to the south of the country you will notice that people eat more fish than the ones in the north.


Here are some things you should definitely try when travelling to Romania:

A great starter is for example smoked animal fat, which we call slanina afumata and we serve it with red onions or green fresh ones, a good bread and salt. In some areas it can be seasoned with garlic or paprika, but most of the times is simply smoked.


  • Sarmale is a traditional main course we mostly serve at festive occasions. It’s minced meat – usually pork but it can also have beef meat or sheep – with rice and other ingredients and then wrapped in either pickled cabbage rolls or wine leaves. Having grown up with a grandmother from Moldova who makes them very small and full of meat, whenever I go to other areas in the country I am surprised to be served sometimes very big ones with mostly rice as ingredient, or from only vegetables (when the Romanians are fasting).
  • Mamaliga (Polenta or cornmeal), is our most common garnish, and we usually combine it with a big variety of meat – sausages, liver, and simple pork meat – and an egg on top, and we call this a Moldovan Stew. It can also be served with just cheese and sour cream as a starter or a “lighter dinner”, or, you can always have it just with milk.
  • Mici. There cannot be a Romanian barbecue or picnic with friends without mici, mustard and beer. These little rolls of minced meat makes happy even the most grumpy Romanian after a hard day at work.


  1. Ciorba Radauteana or Ciorba de Burta. For most Romanian a day cannot pass without a soup of some sort. We cook a huge variety of soups , ciorbe, or bors, from only vegetables, or every kind of meat or fish. My very two favorites are Ciorba de Burta which is a soup made with tripe – cow’s belly – and with egg and cream, seasoned with garlic and vinegar. It goes perfectly with a chili pepper and a must have with it is also freshly baked bread. Or if you think tripe is too much for you, you can try it’s lighter sister, Ciorba Radauteana which is made with chicken instead. Also an absolutely amazing choice.
  2. And no meal should end without a dessert, and one we really love is Papanasi or Cozonac, or any kind of Pie, whether it is with sweet or salty cheese, apples or pumpkin. Papanasi are basically big and small donuts with sour cream and jam on top. Simple, and delicious. Yummy.

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These are only some of the few things you can try when travelling through Romania. There is a huge variety of dishes and if you spend more time in our beautiful country and have time to visit more areas of it, always ask the locals or the waiter at the restaurant for other recommendations.


I also add this to the MUST TRY: Eggplant salad, Baked Pumpkin slices  or baked Corn, pancakes – thin and with jam as we make them , goulash – common in Transylvania, smoked cheese, homemade sausages, beans and pork chop, beans soup in bread or zacusca.


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