The Greatest Romanian Cuisine | Six Must-Try Romanian Meals

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While I was researching Romanian cuisine before going there, I generally read about how substantial and hefty it was. Although I discovered that most of the local meal is rather hefty, this is not always the case.

Romanian cuisine, although unique in its own right, draws influences from neighboring nations and cultures. Ottoman, German, Bulgarian, and Serbian influences may be seen in the local cuisine.

This distinct combination, along with the custom of using what is seasonally available, results in Romanian cuisine that is distinct and, as I discovered, rather excellent.

After spending many months in Romania, I’ve compiled a list of the top six Romanian meals you must taste when you visit.

The Best of Romanian Cuisine


Sarmale is a traditional Romanian dish that may be found on almost every menu. The meal consists of sour cabbage leaves packed with a pig and beef combination and served with polenta (or mamaliga as it is called locally) and generally salty smoked bacon.


Mici, which means “little one,” are short, skinless sausages that are roasted over an open flame. The sausages are made with lamb, beef, pig, and other seasonings.

Mici is generally accompanied with fresh bread and mustard. You can usually smell them being grilled from half a block away, and I’ve never been able to stop after just one. Locals frequently order three or more at a time.

Soups (Ciorbas) (Ciorbas)

Romanian soup tradition is alive and well, producing some of the greatest soups I’ve ever eaten. Ciorba, or sour soup, is the national dish of the country. Ciorba is distinguished from conventional soup by the addition of an acid (typically lemon juice) to make the soup sour.

Soups are often made with a combination of meat and vegetables and are served with fresh bread, sour cream, and pickled peppers.

Peasants soup, a beef and vegetable soup, is my favorite non-sour soup. This version came with a generous helping of freshly sliced onions.

Mushroom Wine Sauced Veal

While pig is the most widely consumed meat in Romania, exquisite beef dishes are also prepared. This home dish (also known as muschi de vitel la tingire cu sos de vin ciuperci si orez) consists of veal in a wine and mushroom sauce served with polenta. The beef was slow-cooked and fork tender when presented. Make a point of looking for this dish on menus throughout your stay!

Ciobanesc Bulz (Sheperds Polenta Ball)

Don’t be fooled by the dish’s plain appearance; it’s one of the greatest I’ve tasted in Romania. The meal is made up of layers of cheese, polenta, and bacon. It’s tasty, but not light or something I’d suggest for someone on a diet. What could possibly go wrong with bacon and cheese?

Salad of Icre (Romanian fish egg salad)

Don’t let the name put you off as it nearly did me. This meal pleasantly surprised me with how much I loved it.

The salad, which is served as an appetizer, is more of a spread than a salad. Fresh roe (fish eggs) is combined with olive oil, lemon juice, and shallots before being served with fresh bread. This is a pretty common beginning that you’ll find on most dinner tables.


So, I know wine isn’t really a dish, but it was on the table for virtually every meal, so I’m included it. Nobody ever seems to speak about Romania’s genuinely wonderful wines.

During my Experience Bucharest trip, I had the opportunity to visit a few of vineyards and sample a variety of local wines. Romanian vineyards produce some genuinely good wines, and the bottles are reasonably priced.

The LacertA Winery was one of my favorite vineyards; the grounds are beautiful, the staff is knowledgable and polite, and the wine is great.

What are your thoughts on Romanian cuisine? Is there a particular dish you’d want to try? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!

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