Food Journals

What I ate in ROMANIA, MOLDAVIA and BULGARIA – A Food Journal

What we label “organic” and “natural” is what they call normal.

I was not sure what to expect with the cuisine in Romania, Bulgaria, and Movdavia. I did a little research, but not as much as I would have wanted to. I had to quickly change my plans from Turkey to Romania, which is another story in itself, and I kind of just winged it. That is something I never do when traveling.

What I did find and learn with this region’s food was something amazing. I believe Romanians and their neighboring countries may take for granted how wonderful their simple and natural cuisine truly is.

From my polenta obsession to their healthy sour cream- my “What I ate in Romania, Moldava and Bulgaria – A Food Journal,

All I can say is that most of the food I ate was fresh, natural, and organic. I learned a lot about how we eat in other parts of the world (including America), from these three countries. The flavors we have lost due to mass production, and unnatural ingredients have blanded our taste buds. Now surely I did eat some foods that were not so healthy and deep fried, but it was a good deep fried- haha!

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Gogosi – Brasov, Romania

Gogosi is a traditional Romanian dessert, and these little yummies were as delicious as they looked. Similar to a donut without a hole, gogosis are deep fried dough that is often filled with jam, chocolate, or types of cheeses.

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Gogosi filed with jam

I tried jam filled gogosi while in Brasov, and it was delicious. I loved the fresh berry jam used, but I know next time I would like to try the cheese gogosi.

For more information – In Beautiful Brasov! | Discovering Romania

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Polenta, Sour Cream and Cheese – Bucharest, Romania

This simple dish was my first traditional Romanian meal, and I had it at The Village Museum in Bucharest. This hearty meal of polenta, local cheese, and fresh sour cream was earthy, fresh, and delicious.

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For myself, noshing on this traditional meal while visiting The Village Museum had created a form of cohesiveness with Romanian food and their traditions.

I had become obsessed with Romanian polenta, that I asked my friend where I could find it in Las Vegas. Romanians definitely know how to do polenta!

For information – Bucharest’s Dimitrie Gusti National Village Museum | The Real Romania

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Double Sausage – Transylvania, Romania

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I skipped the Dracula souvenirs for a double sausage sandwich with mustard. If they offer two sausages, then get two sausages! This sandwich was excellent because the sausage skin popped with each bite. Then a generous strip of yellow mustard was added, which made it even better. You know you would have skipped the souvenirs for this too.

For Bran Castle information – Transylvania’s Bran Castle – Truth and Myth | Exploring Romania

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Cascaval Pane – Brasov, Romania

This regional dish of battered and deep fried cheese slices is a common meal through out Eastern Europe.  I have also tried it in both Czech Republic and Hungary, with different variations in taste. The cheese does differ, and in Romania it is called Casaval.

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The tradition of eating deep fried cheese dates back to the Communist time of Eastern Europe. Battering and deep frying cheese was an inexpensive way to feed families. Cascaval Pane is quite the nostalgic dish in Romania, and you can find it traditional restaurants, as well as grocery stores.

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Chicken Salad with Sunflower Seeds – Bucharest Romania

On my last day in the region, I needed to take a break from all the heavy foods. I loved it all, but when you travel mixing it up with lighter meals is a smart thing to do. Since I was staying close to the central train station, I wandered into the Ibis hotel, and found this delicious chicken salad.

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Tip: If you are looking for nice quality International dishes, you can occasionally find salads, burgers, sandwiches, or café type food inside chain Euro or American hotels. The prices are reasonable and the food can be quite good!

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Snacks for the Train

It is global knowledge that purchasing food on a train or plane can be very high in price. Sometimes I will indulge, and buy a drink or food while traveling on board, not a big deal. Now in Romania the prices on the train were RIDICULOUS, especially towards tourist. I do not even want to say how much I purchased a can of Pringles for while heading to Moldavia.

Before heading back to Bucharest from Moldavia, I dipped into a local store and picked up a couple of snacks for my six hour train ride back. For about $2.75, I bought sweet bread and a bag of wafers, which ended up costing half the price of the can of Pringles. Plus, I enjoyed the fresh chocolate filled bread a lot more.

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Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Capers

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Not a traditional Romanian meal, but it was something quick to tide me over when I first arrived. It was not bad for a hotel café sandwich- smoked salmon, a lot of vegetables, and capers.

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Mici in Bucharest, Romania

It is all the rave in Romania, and Mici was what I was told to eat by locals. “Have you tried Mici?” “Eat Mici!” I did try Mici and us for carnivores, it is definitely something we would enjoy.

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Mici is minced meat that is seasoned and grilled. It is quite similar to the kebabs, kofta, and cevapi that I have tried in other countries. Grilled minced meat is prepared differently from country to country, I have found. I never try to compare, but to appreciate each country’s way of preparing it.

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Sour Cream Chicken Soup and Fresh Bread – Moldava

I was asked by my guide/ driver if I felt that I could manage a higher amount of pro-biotics because their natural dairy products are full of them. Since I take certain pro-biotics, and have been consuming organic dairy whenever I can, I felt that I could take on Moldava’s sour cream. Plus, I just had it in Romania and was perfectly fine.

My personal guide suggested that I try the Sour Cream Chicken soup, and I usually do lean towards a local’s suggestion. This soup was extraordinary! Every spoonful of the soup tasted clean, fresh, and precise if that makes sense. According to my guide, the chickens take hours upon hours to cook because they are truly organic. This is something that many of us have lost in America, and other parts of the world.

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Whole Trout with Pilaf in Moldava

Fresh trout is very common in this part of the world.  I have eaten my share of it through out Eastern Europe and the Balkans, and it is all so good. Also, it is very common to have the whole fish served to you here, so do not be surprised by the head and tail. One advantage of having an Asian heritage is that being served a whole fish is nothing new, and quite normal.

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The restaurant inside my hotel while staying in Moldava offered fresh grilled trout. Most hotel restaurants offer local dishes such as the trout, so check the menu before you head out.

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Garlic Sauce

I was told by my Romanian-American friend to find the Garlic Sauce since I was in this part of the world. I found the garlic sauce at my hotel’s restaurant in Moldavia. I understand why she told me to order it, this sauce was incredible. It was so smooth and garlicy that I used the whole thing on my trout dinner.

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Great way to keep those vampires away, along with everyone else, which is great for this introvert.

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An Apple From a Nun

The reason I visited Moldavia was to see the famous Painted Monasteries. The monasteries are still inhabited by nuns or monks, who take care of these old Orthodox churches that date back to the 15th century.

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PAINTED MONASTARIES – A UNESCO WORLD HERRITAGE SITE

While visiting, one of the nuns handed my guide a couple of apples, and I saw her point to me. She wanted to give me an apple, and I thought that was such a lovely gesture. I brought the apple back with me to my hotel, and and ate it the next morning. I love little moments like these while traveling.

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Cream of Wild Mushroom with Polenta in Moldava

I was very excited to try this dish in Moldavia because I am a big fan of cream of mushroom in the States. This version blew ours (America) away into another universe. I became a cream of mushroom snob after eating this. For one thing, I am a fan of mushrooms and am always curious about another country’s fungi. I loved the pro-biotic rich dairy in this region, and I am obsessed with their polenta. This simple dish was a natural love for me.

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I WISH I could tell you the name of the restaurant, as I had no idea where I was in Moldavia. I had a private driver/ guide who was taking me to visit the Painted Monasteries of Moldavia, a UNESCO Site. We drove up to a restaurant along a hillside, if you blinked you missed it- sorry. I am sure you can find this dish, and the others I listed at any traditional restaurant.

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Moldavian Sarmale with Polenta

Sarmale is what we call cabbage rolls, but I never had them this delicious. First of all, the cabbage is local and organic, which made the rolls soft. The cabbage literally melted in your mouth. The sour cream ladled on top is an ingredient that is added to lot of dishes in this region, and is very good. Again, it is also organic and full of pro-biotics, very healthy and tasty.

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As mentioned the sour cream, and any of the fresh dairy foods in Romania, Bulgaria, and Moldavia are high in pro-biotics. My driver-guide warned me about it because with her experience, Americans cannot handle it. I mentioned that I was already taking pro-biotics and consume organic dairy, so I was fine.

Take note that you may need to start taking some type of pro-biotics at home if you are not already. 

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Meat Pizza and Shastliveca Restaurant in Bulgaria

My driver/ guide brought me to Shastliveca Restaurant in Veliko Tarnova for lunch, and it was such a lovely restaurant. There is a beautiful hillside view from inside the restaurant, as well as a nice patio along the sidewalk. I ordered a salad and ribs, but my personal guide ordered the meat pizza. He wanted me to try a slice and I did. Wow, that pizza was topped with a lot of smoked meat, and it was massive.

Lunching at from Shastliveca Restaurant, in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria.

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Pork Ribs and Lutenitsa in Bulgaria

These pork ribs I tried in Bulgaria were very succulent and flavorful, and I savored every bite.  I will say that what made the ribs stand out was the Lutenitsa, a Bulgarian red pepper sauce. This red pepper sauce is made with tomatoes, eggplant, and some herbs. It is considered the caviar of peppers.

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Pork ribs and Lutenitsa from Shastliveca Restaurant, in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria.

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Bulgarian Salad

“Did you try the Bulgarian salad?”, is what I have been asked by many people over the years. YES, and it is a truly an amazing salad. Everything about this salad was beautiful from the bright colors of the fresh vegetables, the sprinkling of paprika, and the generous amounts of Bulgarian cheese.

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This delicious Bulgarian salad was enjoyed at Shastliveca Restaurant, in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria.

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Airplane food leaving Romania

A proper sandwich with vegetables, and a cute Milka Cow chocolate was included on my short flight from Bucharest to Istanbul. I was very thankful.

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It always comes as a shocker to me when I fly short flights in other countries, and I am handed a sandwich and a beverage. Then if I am lucky, I will get a sweet treat too. In America, well we will not discuss what we get for a snack on a short flight.

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Love is the food of life. Travel is the dessert…

– Amanda Jane Sturges
Yours Truly in Romania

🌎 Thank you for visiting my blog and NEVER STOP EXPLORING!

📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property.

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