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Posts from the ‘Vegetarian Food’ Category

Tasting Romania: A Vegetarian’s Guide to Romanian Food.

In meat-loving Eastern Europe, Romania was an unexpected treat for my vegetarian taste buds. Partly because the country’s orthodox population goes on a vegan fast twice a week or six weeks a year, and partly because the countryside produces some of the finest vegetables and fruits in the region.

This is my little guide to vegetarian food in Romania, and the best places to sample Romanian food in Bucharest, Brasov, Sibiu and Sighet:

WHAT TO EAT

Though Romanian cuisine is largely meat-based, atleast a few vegetarian and de post (for fasting, so vegan) options feature on menus in most parts of the country. These were my favorite veggie indulgences:

FASULE BATUTA (mashed beans)
A sumptuous dish of mashed kidney beans, topped with onions, and eaten with bread.

Romanian dishes, fasole batuta

A hearty bowl of Fasule Batuta. Yum!

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ZACUSCA (vegetable dips)
A popular dish comprising dips of mushroom, tomato, aubergine and chickpeas, served with a salad and bread.

Romania vegetarian dishes, Zacusca romania

Zacusca at Torega, Bucharest.

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CIUPERCI (mushrooms)
Mushrooms in all forms – in a creamy stew, lightly sauteed, cooked semi-dry with other veggies, stuffed with cheese.

Vegetarian food Romania, Romania vegetarians

Ciuperci de pardura (mushrooms cooked with onions and peppers).

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MARCARE DE POST (fasting food)
Orthodox christians in Romania have a tradition of fasting twice a week, or for 6 weeks in the year, during which time they only eat vegan food. Many local restaurants offer a Menu de Post, featuring vegan dishes like stuffed cabbage rolls, zacusca, rice cooked with corn, sauteed cabbage, mushrooms and more.

marcare de post romania, Romanian food, Romanian culture food

Romanian fasting food at a homestay in Magura.

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OTHER DISHES

Kremzli: Thinly-cut potatoes shallow fried with egg, somewhat similar to a Swiss rosti.

Placenta de ciuperci cu verza: Bread stuffed with cabbage and mushroom, sold in small street-side bakeries.

Coronite cu nuca: Sweet bread coated with nuts.

Mamaliguta: Corn polenta with layers of cheese and cream; extremely heavy!

Cascaval Pane: Breaded cheese, deep fried.

Salads, soups and pizzas are easily available.

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DRINKS
I loved Ciuc Radler, for its lemony, beery taste. Ciuc is a popular local beer, together with Ursus and Silva Black. If you dare, try the local plum brandy – Palinka; it contains 40-50% alcohol and is drunk neat! I thought I could pass out after a single sip.

Romania beer, Ciuc Radler Romania

Ciuc Radler with a view of Sibiu from Cafe Wien.

WHERE TO EAT

BISRTO DEL ARTE in Brasov
On a quiet cobbled street in the old town of Brasov, Bistro Del Arte is a quintessential European cafe by day and a wine cellar by night, complete with live violin performances reminiscent of the Soviet era. They do an awesome veggie bruschetta, topped with fasule batuta and red peppers.

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CAPA in Sibiu
A fifteen minute walk from the bustling old town of Sibiu, Capa is a popular neighborhood joint that serves up delicious mushroom dishes.

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CASA IURCA & DAVID’S PUB in Sighet
Though a little touristy with live traditional music and dancing every night, Casa Iurca has the best local food we found in all of Romania, with plenty of veggie options. I loved their kremzli, fasule batuta and ciuperci paprika stew.

David’s Pub came a second close, especially for their extensive breakfast menu; try the egg and cheese burgers.

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TOREGA in Bucharest
Tucked away in a local neighborhood on Eminescu Street, Torega is a typical local resto and marked the beginning of my love affair with vegetarian Romanian food. Their gustare vegetariana (vegetarian snacks) are a must try!

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ANA PAN BAKERY in Otopeni
On our way out of the country, we ditched Bucharest to stay in the much quieter Otopeni (near the airport), and had an indulgent last meal of pizzas and de post goodies from the bakery at Ana Pan Bakery.

Bistro del arte brasov, Romania best cafes

A night at the wine cellar with a live violin performance, at Bistro Del Arte.

THINGS TO KNOW

  • Familiarize yourself with the Romanian names of some vegetables to make it easier to order your food: Mushroom is ciuperci (pronounced chiu-per-chi), peppers are paprika, cheese is cascaval, tomato is rosii, cabbage is verza, red beans are fasule, green beans are fasule verde.
  • In popular towns like Brasov and Sibiu, most people can communicate in enough English to understand you are vegetarian. In offbeat villages, ask for food that is de post (for fasting, so no meat, seafood, eggs or dairy).
  • Portion sizes in Romania are HUGE by Indian standards, so you might want to share a dish or two among two people!
  • A 10% tip is expected when no tipping / service charge is levied.
Romania restaurants, Brasov photos, Brasov Romania

Bistro Del Arte by day.

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What food are you most looking forward to try in Romania?

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ALSO READ:

Turkish Food: A Vegetarian’s Delight
A Vegetarian in Paradise
Snapshots from Romania!

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7 Authentic Goan Restaurants in North Goa.

My three weeks in Goa (Read: Wake Me Up When September Ends) have busted two myths – that Goa is only about the beaches and crowds, and that Goan food has nothing to delight vegetarians. I’ve been indulging my taste buds in local delights, from home-baked Goan breads called Poi and Pao, to seasonal vegetable curries cooked in Goan style, to home-cooked vegetarian appetizers, to Goan sweets and desserts that I had never heard of before. Read more

24 Hours in Bangalore!

I’ve often thought that a nomad like me is just not cut out to enjoy a city. Time and again, my two years in Delhi reinforced that belief. But when I decided to pack my bags and make the road my home (Read: I’m Hitting The Road, Indefinitely), something unexpected happened; I fell in love with Bangalore. Even on a summer afternoon, Bangalore was a breath of fresh air. People hung out on the streets, quaint cafes lurked around every corner, breweries served up handcrafted beers, and the cool weather was perfect for pleasant strolls. Here’s my ode to the city, and a lowdown for your next trip to Bangalore: Read more

Guest Post: A Vegetarian in Turkey.

Guest post by Harsh Mehta.

After reading about my vegetarian adventures in Turkey, Harsh asked me about all the Turkish vegetarian dishes I didn’t try, and left me craving to take my taste buds to Turkey again. Through this post, he attempts to tempt the vegetarians among you to plan that trip to Turkey and treat yourself to Yaprak Dolma, Testi Kebab, and Turkish Baklava, among other vegetarian delights. Read more

A Vegetarian in Paradise: Mauritius & Rodrigues.

If there was ever a vegetarian’s version of paradise, Mauritius and Rodrigues, sister islands in the Indian Ocean, would probably come the closest. The fine blend of Indian, French and Creole cultures, mixed with the western influences of tourism, have resulted in a spectrum of vegetarian treats in the former. And the dissociation of the latter from the rest of the world has resulted in unexpectedly delicious fusion food. Here are ten not-to-miss eating places for vegetarians: Read more

Turkish Food: A Vegetarian’s Delight!

In a country where people love their kebap as much as Turkey, finding vegetarian food was a delight in itself. Treating my taste buds was a welcome bonus. While I expected to be eating a lot of mezze and aubergine, I didn’t find any till the tail end of my trip, when I landed in a small village on the outskirts of Capadoccia. I did however, sample delicious Turkish vegetarian dishes in small towns and villages along the Black Sea coast in the north of the country, and I’ve found myself salivating as I reminisce about the indulgences! Read more

A Taste of Italy in Delhi.

While boarding my flight from Barcelona to Delhi a few days back, the familiar heartache crawled its way back to find me. My month-long adventures in Spain were ending; I already missed the gorgeous olive countryside, the long lunches, the longer siestas, the best sangrias in the world, and the cobbled streets of sleepy old towns that first made me fall in love with Europe. Admittedly, getting upgraded to business class on Turkish Airlines helped nurse the pain, but it wasn’t until I started chatting up my co-passenger on my second flight from Istanbul to Delhi, that I knew I was on my way to new adventures. Before you start getting ideas, this isn’t about that Bollywood story where girl meets boy and the rest is predictable! Read more

My First Impressions of Spain.

After a week of trotting in Barcelona, Tarragona and Ibiza as a guest of Spain Tourism, my many pre-conceived, seemingly romanticized notions of Spain have evolved. It is true that my first week in Spain, as a press trip, has been sheltered in many ways; I haven’t had to choose my own accommodations, I haven’t lost myself in the cobbled streets of an old town to desperately seek directions in my half-baked Spanish, and I haven’t had to fret over menus to pick out vegetarian ingredients using Google translate. Yet, this one week has lent itself to showing me the country entirely from my own lens, without pouring over hours of online search. Just like I felt in Turkey, a week maybe too short to form these impressions, but I have another three weeks (this time completely on my own) to think otherwise. Read more

10 Must-Try Vegetarian Food Places in Singapore.

Many people rave about Singapore being a food haven, but vegetarians probably try to steer that conversation towards shopping. Finding a satisfying vegetarian meal in Southeast Asia can be challenging, so I put together a veggie-loving, kind-to-your-wallet guide to finding some great vegetarian food in Singapore from all over the world. Click here to read my article on CNNGo.

vegetarian humor

Warning: The following content may cause you to rub your tummy, salivate in temptation, and rethink all your dinner plans. Read more

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