Note: This is not intended to be a definitive guide to Romanian food, but merely an introduction to what the visitor to the country can expect when eating in a fairly standard Romanian restaurant. As such, do not expect every dish, cheese or dessert the country has ever produced to be included. For a look at Romanian alcohol: beer, wine and spirits, take a look here.
Let’s face it, few people travel to Romania for the food. As with much of the Balkans the vast majority of what’s on offer is a localised - yet often vastly improved - version of Turkish cuisine, with Hungarian and Germanic influences clearly discernable in Transylvania.
That is not to say that Romania does not have an identifiable cuisine, however, for it does. And much of it is excellent. An example of top Romanian fare is the classic sour soup, ciorba. Made of borş (a sour, honey-coloured liquid made of wheat and cornflour), the tradition of making sour soups is Ukrainian, but was perfected in Moldavia and later Muntenia. In theory anything can go into a ciorba, though the most popular are ciorba de legume (made with vegetables), ciorba de vacuta (made with beef), ciorba de burta (made with tripe), ciorba de perişoare (made with pork meatballs), or borş de miel (made with lamb, and popular at Easter). While you will often see ciorba de pui (ciorba made with chicken), chicken is more popular in clear soups, served with dumplings (galuşte), carrots and parsnips.