In many cultures, showing hospitality is the same as serving one’s guest the best and the most food possible. Moldovians are no exceptions. I was never hungry there and each meal was a total feast.
At a popular traditional restaurant, La Taifa’s, I tried the comfort everyday foods like zeata (chicken soup) and samarle (rice and meat wrapped in cabbage synonymous of golubtse in Russia/Ukraine or in grape leaves – synonymous of dolma in Turkey). Another famous comfort food is placinte (pastry with sweet or savoury filings). I am a total refined-carb addict! I love how they made it at Castel Mimi (they served us a full meal with our wine tasting).
The Moldavians love their meat and barbecues. I decided to dive in and tried their BBQs from street vendors during the Chisinau Day fair in the Cathedral Square. Although I think the Uruguayan (my Argentinian friends will woe me for saying this!) asados are still the best that I had so far, I enjoyed very much the grilled pigeons. Were I not running out of Lei (Moldavian money), I would buy another one. I happened to decide to eat less red meat recently (I lamb-ed out after Azerbaijan), so I had a sausage (tasted like normal sausage) and chicken shashlik (grilled chicken on skewers).
Having blessed with fertile lands, Moldova also produces a variety of fruits and vegetables. I had a delicious dessert of plums and walnuts (sweet and satisfying).
I tried their fresh plums (EUR0.15 for 3 plums!!). They were to die-for. I wanted to bring a box home! I also tried dessert placinte. One was filled with sour cherry, and one was filled with sweetened pumpkin. The latter was to-die for. I had these at a popular restaurant called “Popasul Dacilor”.
In the same restaurant, I finally tried the famous “mamaliga”, which is made from corn. It is cooked similarly to polenta. It is sticky and has to be cut with a thread. It was delicious, but is very heavy. You eat it with meat and other dishes. I also tried the Romanian version of mamaliga when I was in Kiev, Ukraine.
And apart from BBQs, Moldovians’ love for meet can be seen from the delicious meat dishes they serve at the restaurants. At Popasul Dacilor, I really enjoyed the rabbit dish and their pork jelly starter.
I spent three days in Moldova, but I ate like I was there for six. I still cannot get enough of the food and the locals’ supreme hospitality.