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 Movdava. I did a little research but not much as I would have wanted to. I had to quickly change my plans from Turkey to Romania, which is another story in itself. Anyways, what I did find 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.
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 has 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! Just keeping it real…
From my polenta obsession to their healthy sour cream- my “What I ate in Romania, Moldava and Bulgaria – A Food Journal,
Gogosi in Brasov, Romania
These little yummies were as delicious as they look! Similar to a donut without a hole, gogosi are a traditional Romanian dessert. They are deep fried dough and often filled with jam, chocolate or types of cheeses.
I tried jam filled gogosi while in Brasov, which is close to Transylvania. Many restaurants in this region serve it and I highly recommend that you try them.
Polenta, Sour Cream and Cheese in Bucharest, Romania
This simple dish was my first traditional Romanian meal and I had it at The Village Museum in Bucharest. I became obsessed with Romanian polenta that I asked my friend where I could find it in Las Vegas. This region really knows how to do polenta! Then they add their sour cream and local cheese, which are high in good pro-biotics, and that just rounded out the meal.
The Village Museum is what local people call the “True Romania”. It is an outdoor exhibition of real homes and small buildings taken from all around Romania, it is not to be missed! For myself, noshing on this traditional meal while visiting The Village Museum created a form of cohesiveness with food and tradition.
For information on visiting, please visit the official website – The Village Museum in Bucharest
Double Sausage in Transylvania, Romania
I skipped the Dracula souvenirs for a double sausage sandwich with mustard. If they offer two sausages, get two sausages! This was so good because the sausage skin just popped. Then that generous strip of yellow mustard, made it so much better. You know you would have skipped the souvenirs for this too!
Outside Dracula’s Castle, Transylvania, Romania
Cascaval Pane in Brasov, Romania
This dish of battered and deep fried cheese slices is a common meal through out Eastern Europe. I have tried it in both Czech Republic and Hungary as well. The cheese does differ and in Romania, a regional cheese is used called Casaval.
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 so it became a common dish and quite nostalgic. You can find fried cheese in traditional restaurants as well as grocery stores.
Chicken Salad with Sunflower Seeds in Bucharest Romania
My last day in the Bulgaria, Moldava and Romania regions, and I needed a break from the heavier foods. I loved it 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 chicken salad- score!
Tip: If you are looking for nice quality International dishes, you can occasionally find salads, burgers, sandwiches or café type food inside chain Euro hotels. The prices are reasonable and the food can be quite good!
Inexpensive Snacks for the Train
It is global knowledge that buying food on a train or plane is 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 purchased a can of Pringles from a man walking the aisles. I am sure I paid about $5 for the can which is crazy in the States and even more so in Romania. I paid it. I figured that he needed the money more than myself. Plus I had just been interrogated by undercover Romanian police- another story. The can of Pringles was like having a very stiff drink!
On my way back from Moldava to Bucharest, Romania I purchased local bread and a bag of wafers for approximately less than $3 from a local store. The chocolate filled bread was very good so definitely buy local goods when you can.
Smoked Salmon Sandwich with Capers
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, as it was stuffed with vegetables and capers.
Smoked Salmon, capers, vegetable sandwich on a seeded roll
So for those who are not keen on trying Romanian food, you will always be able to find Western type food (like this sandwich) in your hotel. Although I recommend that you try Romanian food, this is not a bad option.
Mici in Bucharest, Romania
It is all the rave in Romania and that is all I was told to eat by locals while visiting. Have you tried Mici? Eat Mici! I ate Mici and for carnivores, it is definately something you will enjoy.
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. It is different from country to country, so please do not compare but appreciate each country’s way of cooking. My opinion on mici? It is very delicious but I love grilled minced meat dishes, so I am pretty biased.
Sour Cream Chicken Soup and Fresh Bread in 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 had it in Romania and was perfectly fine!
My personal guide suggested that I try the Sour Cream Chicken soup and I usually lean towards a local’s suggestion. The 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.
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, it is so good! Also, it is very common to have whole fish served to you here, so do not be surprised by the head and tail. One advantage of having Asian blood is that being served a whole fish is nothing new and quite normal.
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.
Garlic Sauce in Moldava
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 neighboring Moldava. 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!
Great way to keep those vampires away, along with everyone else!
An Apple From a Nun
The reason I visited Moldava 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.
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.
Cream of Wild Mushroom with Polenta in Moldava
I was very excited to try this dish in Moldava as I am a big fan of cream of mushroom in the States. This version blew ours (America) away into another universe. This dish made me a cream of mushroom snob! For one thing, I am a fan of mushroom and am always curious about another country’s fungi. I love the pro-biotic rich dairy in this region and am obsessed with their polenta. This simple dish was a natural love for me.
I WISH I could tell you the name of the restaurant as I had no idea where I was in Moldava. I had a private driver/ guide who was taking me to visit the Painted Monasteries of Moldava, 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 in any traditional restaurant.
Moldavian Sarmale with Polenta
Sarmale are what we call cabbage rolls but I never had them this delicious. First of all, the cabbage is local and organic so the roll was soft. The cabbage 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.
As mentioned the sour cream and any of the fresh dairy foods in Romania, Bulgaria and Moldava 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, I was fine.
So note that you may need to start taking some type of pro-biotics at home if you are not already.
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 Rstaurant in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria.
Pork Ribs and Lutenitsa in Bulgaria
These pork ribs that I tried in Bulgaria were so succulent and flavorful, I loved 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 also made with tomatoes, eggplant and some herbs. It is the caviar of peppers!
Pork ribs and Lutenitsa from Shastliveca Rstaurant in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria.
“Did you try the Bulgarian salad?” is what I have been asked by many people over the years. YES, 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.
This delicious Bulgarian salad was enjoyed at Shastliveca Restaurant in the city of Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria.
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!
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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