Vegetarian food in Romania
I am often asked whether it is possible to eat vegetarian food in Romania. It is not easy to answer that question with yes or no. First of all, it depends on what you’re under? Vegetarian food? understands. It is also important whether you want to eat in restaurants or prepare your own meals. There are certainly possibilities.
What do you mean by vegetarian food?
This is usually my counter question. Based on the answers, I divide the group roughly into three:
- Vegans, people who don’t use animal products at all.
- People who ?? real ?? are vegetarians and therefore do not eat products for which animals have been killed.
- People who, for whatever reason, eat less or no meat. This could be for health reasons or because factory farming is against them. The question whether no animal products were used at all in the preparation is not very important.
This group will mainly be dependent on cooking themselves. Fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, grains, beans, soy products, nuts, mushrooms, honey, etc. are available everywhere. Both in supermarkets and on the daily markets. The markets, especially in the small towns, also offer products grown by the people themselves. They are often (but certainly not always) grown without the use of fertilizers and pesticides. The products in the supermarkets come partly from abroad and sometimes have quality marks. In Romania itself there is also an increasing interest in healthy food. Some brands are starting to provide their products with this type of information. In large and medium-sized places, the health food stores are sprouting like mushrooms.
In the supermarket there is usually a department “post” or “mancare de post”. Here are the products that are eaten during Lent. During the various fasting periods, people refrain from animal products, alcohol and sweets. But also outside this special section you will find articles with the heading ?? post ?? such as ?? pate vegetal ??, vegetable pate. The term vegetal means vegetable and can also be found on other products such as oil, margarine and cheese. The term ?? post ?? is also on the menu in restaurants, but the range is very limited if you do not want animal products at all and want to be sure that nothing animal has been used in the preparation.
Depending on the season, there is also a lot to collect in nature. In the wild you will find fruits, nuts, herbs, edible mushrooms and plants in many places. The locals know these places and are happy to help you with collecting. Especially with mushrooms one has to be careful because the types are very similar. Every year people die from eating poisonous species. During the season there are vendors along the road of mushrooms, potatoes, onions, fruit and vegetables. Those who do not want to pay too much leave the buying to a Romanian or haggle on the price.
For this group, both the restaurant and self-catering offer plenty of options. In addition to the foods already mentioned above, there is, for example, a wide range of dairy products. In the large supermarkets you will find many different types of lapte (milk), yaurt (yogurt), smantana (sour cream), and domestic and foreign cheeses. In the smaller towns you can often buy these products directly from the farmers or order them through the campsite, hotel or guest house.
In the restaurants there are almost always one or more dishes with the note ?? post ??. The normal menu includes omlettes, salads, cascaval pané ?? (fried cheese slice), mamaliga (maize paste), etc. Each pizzaria has one or more pizzas without meat.
The foregoing shows that people who, for whatever reason, just want to eat less or no meat, both in the restaurants and when preparing dishes themselves, should have no problem at all.
Finally, some general remarks about the menus. More and more restaurants have a menu in several languages, on which one occasionally comes across some strange translations. Usually there are no complete dishes on the menu. You order what you want on your plate from the various sections. The weight and price are often stated behind the dish. At fast-food-style restaurants, this is usually the price per 100 grams and your piece of meat, fish or poultry is weighed. You decide how much salad, sauce, etc. you want. In ordinary restaurants, the weight indicates the (minimum) amount of a portion. Keep in mind that a soup usually means half a liter of soup in advance. Water and sometimes soft drinks can be ordered in both small bottles and liter bottles. Wine is usually only sold by the bottle. Feel free to take the remainder of food and drink home with you. In pizzerias you are asked if you want to take the remaining pieces with you. You then pay for the box. Gratuities are not mandatory but are always appreciated.