The culinary and cultural traditions of Romania are a reflection of the country’s rich history. When you come to Romania, you must know that the people here LOVE FOOD! It is impossible not to fall for Romanian cuisine! You might wonder why, but we guarantee that it will truly spoil all of your taste buds with intense and rich flavors you didn’t know existed! You’ll find that most Romanian dishes have a familiar taste, but at the same time they taste like something completely new.
The secret ingredient is LOVE – love for tradition, love for people, love for food. Romanian traditional cuisine is a perfect combination of spices, dishes, and cooking techniques borrowed from neighboring cultures and transformed into something special!
This article already tastes divine because we are going to take you on a delicious journey through the 7 must-try foods in Romania!
- Mici (grilled minced meat rolls/”little ones”)
Some people call them “Mici,” while others call them “Mititei,” but they are literally translated as “little ones.” Although it is a dish borrowed and adapted to the country’s traditions, it can be found in almost every traditional restaurant. They are made from a mixture of minced beef and pork meat that has been seasoned with spices such as garlic (the key element in everything), black pepper, thyme, and coriander.
The final result?
Juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside!
Walking down a street filled with restaurants, it is impossible not to recognize the smell of this grilled specialty that will make your mouth water for sure! It is known that “little ones” mixed with mustard taste perfect! Some French fries on the side and a cold beer to quench your thirst make up the best combo ever!
Simply finger-lickin’ good!
- Bean soup with smoked ham hock in bread bowls
In Romania, nearly every meal begins with a bowl of soup (and a shot of palinca). A favorite is bean soup with a well-smoked ham hock. If you usually have your soup served in a regular bowl, Romania will surprise you.
Have you ever had your soup served in a bread bowl?
If not, you definitely have to try it!
The smoked ham is essential because it is the main ingredient that gives flavor and makes it all addictive – for real. A little bit of paprika and sour cream gives it a nice color and taste. As you start eating, you’ll see how the soup soaks into the bread and you can take it off the side of the bowl. It usually comes with a red onion salad which makes the taste 10 times better! All these mixed together make one hell of a soup!B
- Polenta with cheese and sour cream
Polenta is a very popular dish in Romanian cuisine.
In the past, it used to replace bread, but nowadays, “mamaliga” can be prepared with almost anything, from cheese and sour cream to meats and sauces or even sweet jams. The ultimate comfort food is the one with cheese and sour cream, but not just any kind of cheese. This goes perfectly with “brânză de burduf,” which has a soft, crumbly texture, is salty, and has an intense flavor! The soft polenta mixed with such a flavorful cheese will simply melt in your mouth! And if you want to add a little sourness, you can serve it with sour cream on the side, which will make it even more delicious!
- Sturgeon soup
If your travels take you anywhere near the Black Sea or Danube Delta, fish soup is a must-try dish! The variety of freshwater fish will surprise you, especially the sturgeon which becomes super rich in flavor when boiled together with potatoes, root vegetables, and sour cream mixed with dill.
But that’s not all!
If you want to take this delicacy to a whole other level, you must serve it with a side of garlic sauce – a real game-changer.
All these intense flavors are about to give you the best experience of our traditional Romanian cuisine!
So far we’ve talked about soups and main courses, but now it’s time to highlight some of the sweet delights of Romania’s cuisine.
Usually consumed during festive events such as Christmas or Easter, Romania’s sweet bread, called “cozonac,” is a must-have on every table! This tasty swirl cake comes in a variety of fillings, but the most popular are those with walnuts, Turkish delight, or poppy seeds. As you take one bite, you’ll be overwhelmed by so many tastes, from the hint of lemon zest to rum or vanilla!
One slice of cozonac and a glass of milk?
The perfect duo!
It will absolutely make you go for another one…and another one (as heard by DJ Khaled) because it is the best thing you could eat when you’re craving something sweet! It’s available almost all year round at almost every bakery or shop, so don’t miss out!
- Papanasi with sour cream and jam
One of Romania’s traditional desserts is the well-known Papanași.
Because it is a complete delight for your senses and a feast for your eyes! These fried cheese doughnuts topped with sweet and sour cream and blueberry jam manage to impress every foreign visitor who steps into our beautiful country in search of local habits and traditional food. A heavenly bite that will make you feel the blend of flavors and bring you closer to traditional Romanian cuisine!
- Plăcinte with various fillings
Another borrowed dish adapted to our traditions is “plăcinta,” which is very popular in Romania and you will be surprised to see that it comes in so many forms!
Sweet or sour? No problem, these traditional pies can be filled with salty feta cheese, dill and onion, cabbage, mashed potatoes, as well as sweet cheese filling, jam, or… Nutella, for that matter.
Some of the recipes differ slightly from region to region. Baked or fried, we guarantee that you will love the taste, texture, and every filling that you try! As you take the first bite, it will be addictive. It will melt your taste buds first, then your heart!