Romania //

Food and drink

Breakfast (micul dejun) is typically a light meal of bread rolls, butter and jam and an omelette washed down with a coffee (cafea). The most common snacks are bread rings (covrigi), flaky pastries (pateuri) filled with cheese (cu brânză) or meat (cu carne), and a variety of spicy grilled sausages and meatballs such as mici and chiftele. Menus in most restaurants concentrate on grilled meats, or friptura. Cotlet de porc is the common pork chop, while muşchi de vacă is fillet of beef.

Traditional Romanian dishes can be delicious. The best known of these is sarmale – pickled cabbage stuffed with rice, meat and herbs, usually served with sour cream – and tochitură moldovenească, a pork stew, with cheese, mămăligă (polenta) and a fried egg on top. Vegetarians could try asking for caşcaval pane (hard cheese fried in breadcrumbs); ghiveci (mixed fried veg); ardei umpluții (stuffed peppers); or vegetables and salads. Most cafés (cafénea or cofetărie) serve a range of coffee and cakes, as well as ice cream and alcoholic beverages. Coffee, whether cafea naturală (finely ground and brewed Turkish-style), filtru (filtered) or nes (instant), is usually drunk black and sweet; ask for it cu lapte or fără zahăr if you prefer it with milk or without sugar. Cakes and desserts are sweet and sticky, as throughout the Balkans. Romanians also enjoy pancakes (clătite) and pies (plăcintă) with various fillings.

Evening drinking takes place in outdoor beer gardens, cramas (beer cellars), restaurants, and in a growing number of Western-style cafés and bars. Try țuică, a powerful plum brandy taken neat; in rural areas, it is home-made and often twice distilled to yield fearsomely strong palincă. Most beer (bere) is German-style lager. Romania’s best wines are Grasa and Feteasca Neagră, and the sweet dessert wines of Murfatlar.