“Deck the halls with boughs of holly, ‘tis the season to be jolly,” especially if you happen to be visiting Bucharest during winter time. The city lights, the sights and the plethora of entertainment events available should make your holiday dreamy. But you can’t reach the “spectacular” level yet- not unless you try some traditional Romanian winter food.
Traditional Romanian food is diverse and has interesting influences. You will find dishes that you might have tried in Germany, Turkey, Bulgaria, France or other parts of the world but with a unique interpretation. In Romania there are special dishes for all important events and especially for the winter season.
Traditional Romanian winter food is not for the faint-hearted or for people who believe that a Caesar salad has too many calories to enjoy for dinner. The tastes are rich, full and the smell alone will make your mouth water in anticipation. Stop your calorie counting as most restaurants will serve big (huge) portions.
Here are some dishes that you can order in restaurants in Bucharest. You will find plenty of options just a few meters away from Le Boutique Hotel Moxa.
Salata de boeuf (beef salad)
This is a common appetizer for important meals, including Christmas and New Year’s celebratory meals. Don’t be fooled by the name; it is not really what many people would call a salad. It is made with boiled potatoes and carrots, two kinds of pickles, sometimes peas and veal/ chicken/ turkey meat. All brought together by a thick and delicious homemade mayonnaise. It is the kind of dish that you will want to know the recipe so you can make it at home. Yummy!
Sarmale (meat-stuffed cabbage rolls)
Again, the name sounds benign and like not much going on. But the taste is to die for. Sarmale can be made with turkey/ veal/ pork meat or a mix of them. It is served with a generous portion of sour cream, mamaliga (polenta) and a chili pepper. The combination of flavors is mind-blowing.
Ciorba de burta (tripe soup)
This is what the Romanians have in mind for comfort food- Tripe soup. Even for the natives, there is no compromise to be made here: you will either love it or hate it. But you need to try it for sure. The soup has a white color due to the sour cream and smells like garlic but the taste is rich, and the texture is velvety and surprising.
Cozonac (holiday cake)
Let’s finish our winter meal with cozonac which is a traditional holiday cake made in Romania. Often it has walnuts in it or Turkish delight, a sweet taste and smooth texture. Cozonac might not be the most delicious cake you will have in Bucharest, but make sure to give it a try as the Romanians have it for all major events in one’s life: christenings, weddings, funerals, Easter, Christmas and so on.
When enjoying traditional winter foods in Bucharest, make sure to ask the waiter for a traditional drink as well- Such as tuica (plum brandy), homemade wine or afinata (blueberry liquor).