8 Typical Romanian Breakfast Foods
Breakfast is an important meal in Romania, and there’s nothing better than starting the day with a traditional Romanian breakfast. When you visit the country, make sure to try some of these most popular Romanian breakfast foods. Many are served at local restaurants, but some are only prepared at home.
1. Traditional Cold Cuts and Cheese
If you have breakfast at a Romanian hotel, a selection of traditional cold cuts and cheese is almost always on the menu.
Romanians love their variaties of cold cuts, and you will usually find a couple of types of salami (dry-aged and cooked), pastrama (ie. pastrami – yes, the American pastrami recipe was brought over by a Romanian immigrant), a couple of types of bacon (or sunca, which is bacon cooked similarly to Italian prosciutto cotto or dry-aged, similar to the Italian prosciutto crudo) and sometimes slănină, a type of cured bacon with a very high fat content.
2. Sausages (Crenvurști, Polonez or Cabanos)
If you love hot dogs, you’ll love Romanian crenvurști as they are very similar.
Crenvurști are one of the most popular Romanian sausages and are traditionally served for breakfast with a loaf of white bread topped with mustard. They are typically made with pork, but nowadays chicken crenvurști is the most popular option.
You can find lots of types (e.g. lightly smoked or not) and brands of crenvurști in pretty much any local supermarket, but they are also served at hotel restaurants for breakfast.
Polonez sausages have a similar taste and are prepared using a similar method (i.e. boiled) to crenvurști, though they are much thicker in size. They used to be the cheapest and most widely available sausages during the Communist regime and many people associate them with their childhood. They have lately gotten a bad rap as they are not that healthy, but they are very tasty and worth a try.
Lastly, cabanos sausages are also a popular breakfast choice. These sausages are more meaty than crenvurști or polonez sausages and can be either boiled or fried. They are super delicious, especially when served with a spicy mustard.
3. Eggs (Boiled, Fried or Scrambled)
Eggs are a staple of Romanian breakfasts and are enjoyed in various ways: boiled, fried (ochiuri in Romanian) or scrambled (a.k.a. omleta sau papara).
Romanian omleta (i.e. scrambled eggs) can be made with just eggs and a bit of sunflower oil (the oil of choice in Romania), or made with cheese, traditional sausages, slănină and sometimes a mix of vegetables. Give the latter a try to experience the true Romanian scrambled eggs flavor.
4. Jam, Honey, and Butter
Making homemade jam remains a strong tradition in many Romanian households, and jam spread on a slice of bread (with or without butter or margarine) is a staple Romanian breakfast food and a favorite with the kids.
There are many types of jam, which can be found under different names such as dulceață, gem, marmelada, magiun or silvoița, and the difference between them is usually made by the amount of sugar used and the type of fruit.
Among the most popular local jams are blueberry, plums, strawberry, prunes, sour cherry and raspberry.
Romania is one of Europe’s top honey producers, and honey is regularly enjoyed spread on a slice of bread.
5. Traditional Spreads (Zacuscă and Salată de Vinete)
Zacuscă and salata de vine are not only some of the most popular Romanian appetizers but they are also popular Romanian breakfast foods.
Zacuscă is a vegetable spread which is traditionally made during the late summer or early fall months when there’s a bounty of local vegetables. It’s primarily made with roasted eggplant and red peppers, onions and tomato juice, though beans sometimes replace for eggplant.
Make sure to try some homemade zacuscă as it’s generally much, much better than the store-bought stuff.
Another popular spread is salată de vinete (eggplant spread), a delicious dish made with roasted eggplant, onions and homemade mayonnaise. A vegan version made without mayonnaise is popular during Lent.
6. Dairies (Milk, Yogurt, Kefir, Buttermilk or Sour Cream)
Romanians are big on dairies, and the best time to enjoy a cup of yogurt or kefir is first thing in the morning.
The most popular local dairies are yogurt, made in-house in rural areas, buttermilk (lapte bătut or sana) and kefir. Traditionally, dairies are enjoyed with just a slice of bread or together with a slice of bread and jam.
Cereals with milk or yogurt are now a common breakfast staple in many Romanian urban households, but they aren’t really a part of a traditional Romanian breakfast. The same can be said of sweetened yogurt or fruit-based yogurt – not something that Romanians have grown up with, apart for the young generation.
7. Semolina with Milk, Rice with Milk or Noodles with Milk
This is a favorite childhood breakfast food for most Romanians. Arguably the most popular of the three is semolina with milk (gris cu lapte), though rice with milk (orez cu lapte), and noodles with milk (taietei cu lapte) are also delicious and quite popular.
The recipe is very simple and it requires just 3-4 ingredients (milk, semolina/rice/noodles depending on recipe, sugar and optionally cinnamon or cloves). It’s very easy to make and delicious.
Semolina can be enjoyed on its own or topped with jam, honey and syrup.
8. Pâine in Ou (Egg Toast)
Another favorite childhood breakfast food is pâine in ou. This is a delicious egg toast, which can be either savory (topped with a bit of salt) or sweet (topped with sugar or honey). It is easy to make and kids simply love it.
9. Coffee and Herbal Tea
Coffee has become probably the most popular breakfast drink in Romania, but herbal tea is still a popular choice to start the day. Tea is usually sweetened with sugar or honey and served hot.