If you ever plan a trip through Eastern Europe, then you probably don’t want to miss a small country located between Bulgaria and Ukraine called Moldova. For travelers who’re looking to visit countries that offer so much beauty while not being crowded with tourists, Moldova is the perfect one.
Because of its position between eastern and western nations, Moldova is usually called the country of contrasts. While you wander through the cities in Moldova, you will notice such a difference between two blocks in the city. For example, there is an outstanding difference between rich and poor while middle class doesn’t exist anymore. If you’re a type of person who loves to discover the nature and catch most amazing sunsets in the mountains, Moldova will be an exciting country for you. When you get bored with life in the city, you can quickly move in the villages that will truly show you Moldavian tradition and vibrant culture.
Once you get to Moldavia, don’t hesitate to try their traditional food or even learn to prepare it by yourself. They have a creamy and delicious cuisine which will meet anyone’s preferences regarding food. As you know, we are real food lovers, so it’s impossible that we visit the place without discovering their most delicious traditional food!
Basics of Moldovan Cuisine
Well, Moldovan cuisine is a very interesting mix of cuisines from eastern and western countries as these countries have influenced Moldova through the history. The majority of their traditional food is based on European food like different types of meat, cereal, cabbage, potatoes and so on. Moldova is located on a very fertile soil which means they can produce their high-quality food including all kinds of fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products and grains. Their traditional cuisine is very similar to Romanian but differs in details because of influences from Europe and Russia. Moldovan cuisine is based on vegetables and they are focusing a lot on eating healthy, so it’s not a strange thing that the majority of their traditional food combines vegetables such as peppers, cabbage, onions, garlic and tomatoes.
They consume meat too, but not in the same amount of vegetables, so meat-based dishes are usually served as appetizers. The traditional dishes mainly depend on the area you’re visiting as there is huge difference in food between areas. For example, Eastern part which is influenced by Ukrainians consumes mostly variations of sour soups while southern areas base their cuisine more on meat. Moldova is a small country and if you have one week to stay there, you can easily travel through different areas and try the various cuisine.
IIf you ever visit Moldova, it would be a sin not to try their Sarmale. It’s traditional Moldovan food that is serving in the country for the centuries. Sarmale is usually made from few ingredients including rice, meat and vegetable mixture which is then carefully rolled in the cabbage leaves and served in a variety of soups. That dish is also popular in many East European countries, which means there are many variations of it.
The most usual and traditional Sarmale is made from rice and minced meat combined with vegetables like carrots and peppers. Once they make a solid mixture of these ingredients, it’s time to fill the cabbage leaves with it. The cooking process is prolonged and it takes around few hours to be prepared. In Moldova, they are serving Sarmale with sour cream so you can dip it for extraordinary taste. No matter where are you from and what’s your traditional cuisine, you will simply fall in love with this tasteful dish.
If you’re a soup lover then you will enjoy your stay in Moldova as they love to prepare different types of soups. Zeama is their traditional soup they’re eating through the year mainly as a main dish. Zeama is a great choice as a main dish as it’s very light, but at the same time combines many tastes that go well together. The base of the soup is a chicken meat, specifically broth, noodles and all kind of vegetables. Like the most of the Moldovan traditional food, Zeama isn’t different when it comes to the variety of ingredients.
They usually put pepper, salt and other spices for extraordinary taste and vegetables like onions, carrots, potatoes and another seasoning. There is much variety of this traditional dish, but you will see that one thing is the same in every region of Moldova – they are serving Zeama with lots of bread and sour cream.
Mamaliga is Moldovan version of cornbread that was eaten by the poor class during the history. Right now, this dish becomes traditional and people around the world love to taste it, so even the high-end restaurants placed this delicious dish into their offer. The dish itself is easily made by using only a few ingredients including cornmeal, water and salt. Depending on your taste, it can be prepared in two ways – thicker or softer mamaliga.
The dish will never be served alone as it perfectly goes along with other food like traditional cheese, fish and even meat. Many restaurants give onions, garlic and sour cream on the side and it’s up to you to pick other sides that go well with Mamaliga. Many travelers agree to locals when trying mamaliga for the first time regarding ingredients. You should definitely eat mamaliga with brinza (Traditional Moldovan cheese), fresh fish, sour cream and garlic with onions. That combination will give you the perfect taste of Moldovan food.
Placinta is Moldovan traditional on-the-go dish that is widely available in the country. Placinta is a fried bread that can go well with additional fillings like brinza, potatoes or some fruits. Depending on the season you’re visiting, there will be different fillings, so if you’re visiting in summer season then you can expect placinta with cherries and pumpkin placinta in the fall.
You can literally find this favorite dish on every corner in Moldova, but the thing is that majority of these places won’t serve a perfect placinta as it won’t have enough filling inside. The best bet to try the ideal placinta on Moldovan way is to check villages around towns where locals are preparing this dish with the right amount of filling and on the traditional way.