Odorheiu Secuiesc is a Hungarian town in the center of Transylvania, Romania. There exists a large clash in cultures due to the historical and political arena in this region of the country. This is seen evident through the food options around the town.
Throughout a majority of the country, the food options are limited to traditional or modern Romanian cuisine. The Harghita county, which holds the largest population of the Hungarian-Romanian Szekler people, offers some of the widest selections I have seen in the entire country. Of the restaurants I have visited thus far, the menus mainly concentrate on Hungarian cuisines, but also feature many Romanian, Mediterranean, and American foods. I would argue that Odorheiu Secuiesc offers near the same amount of variety as Bucharest, the country’s capital.
My personal favorite restaurant that I have visited is Petho, in which I ordered a Hungarian dish that consisted of a chicken schnitzel topped and filled with a sharp shredded cheese. I also enjoyed several Romanian dishes from the local restaurants, Szarvas, Jungle, and Elemozsia. I ordered pork schnitzel, ciorbă ţărănească, and papanași respectively. Ciorbă ţărănească is referred to as “Peasant’s soup” in English; it is a sour soup with several hearty meats and vegetables. Papanași is a dessert item which consists of a donut topped with berries and a semi-sweet sour cream sauce. Most recently I enjoyed a raspberry gelato downtown followed by a delicious grilled chicken dish from Csillag Etterem.
The hotel in which my group is staying offers a full breakfast and a three-course dinner on every weekday. For breakfast we are offered continental, American, and Romanian options. I frequent the meats, yogurts, polenta, and spreads, such as salata de vinete. This is a garlicky eggplant spread that goes well on top of fresh bread. For dinner we start with a Hungarian or Romanian soup or stew. Our main courses have included schnitzel, a saucy meat entrée next to potatoes or pastas, and sarmale. Sarmale, the national dish of Romania, is a meat-filled cabbage roll topped with sour cream. Our desserts are typically light cakes or donuts. I thoroughly look forward to dinner after working hard in the archaeological field every weekday.
Overall, I am enjoying my food options in the small town we are staying in. I appreciate trying the new Hungarian dishes that you cannot usually find in the rest of the country. I also love eating Romanian dishes which I am familiar with from my household. Exploring the food of this region has truly allowed me to further understand the cultures of Odorheiu Secuiesc.