Romanian Foods You Need to Try

I was recently on a trip to Romania for four days, and was obviously excited to try traditional Romanian cuisine. I have a huge sweet tooth, so most of the traditional foods I ate through on my four day trip to Romania were desserts. Here were some of the highlights of my trip, including foods I wanted to try but didn’t get a chance to try at the bottom of this post.

Traditional Romanian Foods To Try

Romanian Cheese Donut (Papanasi)

Today is National Donut Day, so I obviously have to include the Papanasi! This is a Romanian cheese donut topped with sour cream and jam. I had mine from La Mama in the Old Town. La Mama serves them freshly made and comes out warm. I’m not a big donut person, and I licked my plate clean. I ordered the small version and it came out as a normal sized donut (based on donut sizes I am used to from the US).


Custard Cream Pastry (Cremsnit)

I had this at the Peles Castle in Sinaia, Romania. The pastry is custard cream sandwiched between phyllo dough. So delicious, and not too filling! Here is a recipe for how to make your own that I hope to try one day.



Mamaliga is a polenta dish traditionally found in Romania. I ordered a vegetarian version from Caru cu Bere, a traditional Romanian restaurant, which included sour cream, cheese and a fried egg. This is a very filling meal from the fat of the cheese/sour cream, and will keep you full for quite a few hours.

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A popular roasted vegetable spread in Romania, Zacuska is traditionally made with Eggplant, Red bell peppers and tomatoes. I first tried this as a complimentary food from the friendly staff at the bar at the JW Marriott Grand Hotel in Bucharest.

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Romanian Eggplant Dip (Salata de Vinete)

Traditionally served with bread and fresh tomatoes, Salata de Vinete is a common staple in Romanian cuisine. As an eggplant lover, I am particularly partial to this dish. I had this in Romania at the restaurant La Ceaun in Brasov with homemade potato bread. Here’s a recipe for how to make your own.

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Plum Dumplings (Galuste cu Prune)

Disclaimer: I didn’t personally like this dish, but is very popular. I ordered this Plum Dumpling from a traditional restaurant in the city square of Brasov called La Ceaun. It sounded very interesting and I wanted to try as many traditional desserts as I could during my stay in Romania, but I did not like this traditional sweet. According to various links I found online, the plum dumplings are made with potato dough. The dough is not sweet (even though it is coated in sugar).

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Traditional Romanian Foods I want to try (but didn’t have a chance to yet)

Biscuit Cake (Salam de Biscuiti)

This is a no bake cake with cacao and biscuits. I was tempted to try it at Caru cu Bere, a traditional Romanian restaurant, but the slices looked too massive for me to eat all on my own.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Sarmale)

Sarmale is stuffed cabbage traditionally made with pork and bacon. Supposedly there are vegetarian versions you can find in Romanian restaurants, but I did not find a vegetarian version when I looked for it in a traditional Romanian restaurant  in Brasov. Here is a vegan recipe for Sarmale I would like to try making at some point.


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