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Tastes of Transylvania: Top Five Traditional Romanian Dishes

by World food team

Romanian cuisine, steeped in history and enriched by a tapestry of cultural influences, offers a distinct culinary experience. With flavours and techniques passed down through generations, Romanian dishes are a hearty celebration of its diverse geography, integrating fresh local ingredients from the fertile lands and vibrant seas. In this article, we present five Romanian dishes that provide an insight into the country’s rich culinary traditions.


Sarmale, one of Romania’s most beloved dishes, embodies the homely warmth of traditional Romanian cuisine. These cabbage rolls are filled with a mixture of minced pork, rice, and spices, then slow-cooked to perfection in a tangy tomato sauce. Sarmale is commonly served during holidays and special occasions, with a side of polenta (mămăligă) and a dollop of sour cream. The dish illustrates the complex layers of flavour that define Romanian cuisine.


Speaking of Mămăligă, this dish cannot be missed in any discussion of Romanian cuisine. Similar to Italian polenta, Mămăligă is a versatile, cornmeal-based staple enjoyed across the country. It can be served as a side dish with stews or cheese, or, in more elaborate variations, be filled with meat or vegetables. A humble dish with a comforting taste, Mămăligă exemplifies the rustic simplicity of Romanian cooking.

Ciorbă de Burta:

Ciorbă de Burta, or tripe soup, is a dish that may require adventurous taste buds but is well worth the plunge. This sour soup, prepared with beef tripe, vinegar, and a generous amount of garlic, is a classic Romanian delicacy. Renowned for its rich, aromatic flavours and creamy texture, Ciorbă de Burta is traditionally served with hot pepper and sour cream, offering a symphony of tastes that will leave you asking for more.

See also: Exploring the Culinary Traditions of Romania: Discovering the Top Recipes from Eastern Europe


If you’re looking for Romania’s answer to the barbecue, look no further than Mititei. These seasoned, grilled rolls of ground meat (typically a combination of beef, pork, and lamb) are a staple at Romanian cookouts and a popular street food. Served with bread and mustard or alongside a cold beer, Mititei brings together Romanian’s love for meat and outdoor gatherings.


No gastronomic tour of Romania would be complete without delving into its dessert repertoire. Papanasi, a traditional Romanian dessert, is a treat not to be missed. These doughnut-like pastries, made from a mixture of cottage cheese, flour, and eggs, are fried until golden and served with sour cream and a sweet topping of jam or fruit syrup. The result is a dessert that balances richness and tanginess – a delightful end to a Romanian feast.

Exploring Romanian cuisine is like unearthing historical narratives, with each dish encapsulating a piece of Romania’s cultural mosaic. From the traditional Sarmale and versatile Mămăligă to the unique Ciorbă de Burta, flavoursome Mititei, and indulgent Papanasi, Romanian cuisine offers a diverse gastronomic adventure. These dishes, rich in flavour and heritage, invite you to delve deeper into the soul of Romanian culture – a journey filled with delectable discoveries.

View also: Romania’s Top 5 Wines: Sipping Through the Cradle of Viticulture

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