Not a lot of people think of Romania when working out their itinerary for a trip to Europe. Perhaps if they knew what Romanian food was like, they’d have a different opinion. Then again, if they value their waistline, that might not be a positive opinion.
Personally, I consider Romanian food one of the best cuisines in the world. Therein lies the problem. I simply can’t stop eating it. Romania just might be the only country in the world where I’ve yet to try a dish that I didn’t like. Here are some of the dishes you can find in this beautiful country.
These small, skinless sausages supposedly originated in Bucharest when the butcher ran out of casing for regular sausages. Improvising, he made the sausages smaller so that they could be placed on the grill without falling apart. They can be beef, pork or lamb, and are flavored with a variety of spices such as pepper, garlic, thyme, paprika, anise and cilantro. They are usually served with a (not too) spicy mustard, and perhaps a side of fries. The problem is that they are usually the cheapest item on the menu (as little as $0.50 each), so it’s easy to get carried away ordering them.
The pork-stuffed cabbage rolls are another common dish round in Romania. While the roots of the dish stem from the Ottoman Empire, Romania uses sour cabbage rather than fresh cabbage. Served with a side of polenta, the meal is healthy and filling.
Salads, Spreads and Polenta
There doesn’t seem to be any limit in the number of salads and spreads in Romanian food. These aren’t your average lettuce and tomato salads. One of the most popular is roasted eggplant with bell peppers, onions and spices – known as Zacuscă. Another is a white bean dip similar to hummus, and yet another made with fish eggs is highly popular. They are usually served on bread, but can be eaten directly out of the bowl.
Alright, burgers are definitely not true Romanian food, but they can still be found throughout the country, and Romanians love to show off how well they can prepare a good burger. Places like the Burger Van Bistro in Bucharest do an excellent job with layer after layer of ingredients, and a side of thick fries topped with strong aioli. It’s also common to find a wide range of meats in the burgers such as lamb, duck, buffalo, etc.
This the national dessert of Romania. These are pastries made with sweet cow’s cheese, jam and powdered sugar. If nothing else on the list above gets you fat, these will for certain.
Romanians are often regarded as some of the most beautiful people in Europe. Yet there are a handful of them that have let their delicious cuisine, as well as half-gallon bottles of beer for $1, affect their waistline. If you’re planning to visit the country, be warned that you might fall in love with the food too, and find it hard to curb your appetite. But didn’t someone say that a happy stomach is a happy life?
If you like the food so much you end up wanting to stay on longer, this is one of the cheapest places to live in Europe, or to just spend a great summer if you are leading a nomadic life.