What a better way to discover the culture and traditions of a country than diving into its cuisine? It can be quite an adventure with stories for you to tell years and years long after your travels ended.
Here, in Romania, we see food as a way to build real connections and we take our time with our meals. No rush, no frozen ingredients or pre-cooked meals ready to be thrown into the oven. Our food is hearty and sometimes a bit heavy, however its unique blend of distinct characteristics and examples of Ottoman, Greek, Bulgarian and German (mostly in Transylvania) influence makes it truly divine and delicious.
It doesn’t matter how long your trip to Romania is, you’ll just cut short the authentic experience if you leave before trying these absolutely amazing dishes.
1. Romanian soups (or Ciorbă)
There is a wide variety of ciorbă you can choose from as every proper Romanian meal starts with a soup. Beef and vegetables soup, chicken soup, meatball-filled soup or bean soup with chunks of smoked pork meat can be ordered at any restaurant, no matter the region of Romania you are travelling to. The secret is to sour a bit these soups with a unique fermented wheat bran juice called borș.
2. Cabbage rolls filled with minced meat (Sarmale or Sărmăluțe)
If you ask us, this dish might be the best thing we got from being a vasal country to the Ottoman, especially because there’s a Romanian twist to it. First of all, the meat is a mixed of ground pork and ground beef and it’s not too greasy nor too dry. The use of sour instead of fresh cabbage leaves gives this dish a salty, savory dimension, while the chunks of bacon thrown together with the rolls in the pot where they slowly cook transforms everything into an explosion of flavors. This main course is best served with polenta and sour cream aside.
3. Romanian Cheese Doughnuts (Papanași)
We do have a sweet tooth and a dessert is a must have especially if we are dinning out! So, complete your Romanian experience ordering the best dessert in the country, the mighty papanași! These have a doughnut like shape, and the secret of their delicious taste is the cow sweet cheese that’s mixed with flour when the dough is made. Papanași are served with blueberry jam on top and sour cream, if you keep with the old recipe, or any other kind of jam if you prefer a modern twist. I think the blueberry jam is the perfect choice as its sour taste cuts the sweetness of the dough.
Plan your trip to Romania and taste more of our fresh and delicious local food!