Gastronomy of Moldova – What to eat in Chișinău?

We have spent only a long weekend in Moldova. So we didn’t have enough time to discover all the local dishes. But some of them we tried and we have been in nice restaurants too. Hence we decided to include them into this article and share as our favourites in Chișinău. But if you have more time there, don’t hesitate to explore further, as Moldovan kitchen is really delicious. So let’s see what to eat in Moldova!

What to eat in Moldova?

If you have the chance to visit Moldova, Moldovan food is something you definitely must try. Moldovan people are very welcoming, and they generally express this hospitality with delicious Moldovan food.

Moldovan cuisine gets inspiration from Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Greece, and various other countries. Like many Eastern European cuisines, Moldovan cuisine is heavy in cheese, meat, potatoes, and cabbage.

Plăcinte – The Moldovan pie

You can find numerous pie shops and restaurants all around the capital, as well as many shops that deliver pies to your door. They come in many flavours, from simple cheese version, to bacon. Or also you can order them as deserts, with cherries, or berries. Delicious and super filling!

Mămăligă cu brânză și smântână – Polenta with Cheese and Sour Cream

Mămăliga’, or polenta, is Moldova’s best known and most traditional dish. Polenta is made from corn flour, to which a little butter is added. It is generally filled with sheep’s cheese or cottage cheese and on the side it comes with sour cream and garlic oil.

Sarmale – Filled Cabbage Rolls

Sarmale‘ or filled cabbage rolls we can find on the menu in many Central and Eastern European countries. For example in Hungary they are called: Töltött káposzta, and in Poland: Gołąbki. In almost all the countries it is served with a big portion of sour cream. In Moldova, we can find this dish on every family celebrations and almost in every restaurant.

These are actually either cabbage or grapevine leaves filled with rice and minced pork or chicken.

Oladii din dovlecei cu somon – Pumpkin pancakes with salmon

Salty pancakes out of potato, pumpkin, zucchini, or cucumber are very popular in the Moldovan gastronomy. This recipe is as simple as delicious. They simply accompany the pumpkin pancakes with spicy sour cream and smoked salmon on the side. It’s perfect for breakfast or for a lighter lunch.

Ciorbă de legume / Ciorbă tradițională cu carne – Traditional vegetable or meat soup

Moldovan cuisine offers many tasty and heartwarming soups. Borsch, Solyanka, Zeamă and all the traditional Ciorbă‘s. Normally the Ciorbă comes in two versions, only with vegetables or with meat. Always served with sour cream on the side or on the top. Very delicious, perfect choice for a colder day.

About the Moldovan wine

Moldova has a well-established wine industry. With a production of around 2 million hectolitres of wine. It is the 11th largest European wine-producing country.

Moldova has a vineyard area of 148,500 hectares of which 107,800 hectares are used for commercial production. The remaining 40,700 hectares are vineyards around family houses to make home-made wine. Many families have their own recipes and strands of grapes that they passed down through the generations.

There are 3 historical wine regions:

  • Valul lui Traian (south west)
  • Stefan Voda (south east)
  • Codru (center)

In 2014, Moldova was the twentieth largest wine producing country in the world. Most of the country’s commercial wine production is for export. They export 67 million bottles of wine annually. The two most famous wine producers that you can visit and go for tastings are: Cricova & Mileștii Mici.

Best restaurants in Chișinău

Aproape Restaurant

This restaurant was very close to our hotel, hence we decided to give it a try. The food was excellent & the service as well. Here you can taste a fusion kitchen, mixing traditional recipes with new wave ingredients. It won’t disappoint and the prices are very friendly if you are used to Western European bills.

La Plăcinte Restaurant

This chain restaurant is the perfect place to try the local cuisine, as it has numerous delicious Moldavian dishes at excellent prices. You can try their famous pies, soups or dishes like mamaliga, sarmale and mici that are very popular amongst tourist and locals. Their menu has pictures and the service is excellent, so it’s a perfect place for a relaxed meal with your family and children.

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